Red Wolf

The Red Wolf (Canis rufus) is a North American canid and once roamed throughout the Southeastern United States and is a glacial period survivor of the Late Pleistocene epoch. Its natural range extends from Texas to Florida. A population is being reintroduced to North Carolina.Scientists suggest that Red Wolf populations were extirpated from the wild and are now highly endangered.


The origins of the Red Wolf line are set at 1-2 Ma with a branching from a common ancestor, also known as the Canis rufus, which appeared about 4.9 Ma. The current Red Wolf shared this ancestor with the Gray Wolf, the Eastern Wolf, and the Coyote. One branch remained in North America, while other branch migrated to Eurasia, giving rise to the Gray Wolf. Between 150,000—300,000 years ago, the North American branch evolved into the eastern wolf and the Coyote. Wilson et al. (2000) concluded that the Eastern Wolf and Red Wolf should be considered as sister taxa and recognized as distinct species from other North American canids. However, these conclusions have been widely disputed (for example see Koblmuller et al. (2009) ), and the canonical listing of mammal species lists them both as subspecies of the Gray Wolf.


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