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Canis lupus arabs (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Cladus: Synapsida
Cladus: Eupelycosauria
Cladus: Sphenacodontia
Cladus: Sphenacodontoidea
Cladus: Therapsida
Cladus: Theriodontia
Cladus: Cynodontia
Cladus: Eucynodontia
Cladus: Probainognathia
Cladus: Prozostrodontia
Cladus: Mammaliaformes
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Trechnotheria
Infraclassis: Zatheria
Supercohors: Theria
Cohors: Eutheria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Cladus: Boreoeutheria
Superordo: Laurasiatheria
Cladus: Ferae
Ordo: Carnivora
Subordo: Caniformia

Familia: Canidae
Subfamilia: Caninae
Tribus: Canini
Genus: Canis
Species: Canis lupus
Subspecies: Canis lupus arabs

Canis lupus arabs Pocock, 1934

Canis lupus arabs in Mammal Species of the World.
Wilson, Don E. & Reeder, DeeAnn M. (Editors) 2005. Mammal Species of the World – A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third edition. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4.
Canis lupus arabs – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
العربية: ذئب عربي
Deutsch: Arabischer Wolf
English: Arabian Wolf
suomi: Arabiansusi
français: Loup d'Abyssinie
magyar: Arab farkas
italiano: Lupo arabo
norsk: Arabisk ulv
polski: Wilk arabski
português: Lobo árabe

The Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) is a subspecies of gray wolf native to the Arabian Peninsula—to the west of Bahrain, as well as Oman, southern Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. They are also found in Israel’s Negev and Arava Deserts, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. It is the smallest Gray wolf subspecies, and a specialized xerocole (arid-adapted) animal that normally lives in smaller familial packs. Arabian wolves are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters; they consume small to medium-sized prey, from insects, reptiles and birds to rodents and small ungulates, such as young Nubian ibex and several species of gazelle (Arabian, goitered, Dorcas, and mountain gazelles).[4]

Once thought to be synonymous with C. l. pallipes (the Indian wolf), the Arabian wolf was designated Canis lupus arabs by the British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock in 1934.[5] Pocock noted its smaller skull and smaller size.[6] In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus the subspecies Canis lupus arabs.[7] A 2014 study suggests that genetically the Arabian wolf is closer to C. l. lupus than it is to C. l. pallipes and supports the subspecies designation C. l. arabs.[8] There has been admixture with domestic dogs, but it is unclear whether or not this is why this wolf is genetically closer to C. l. lupus.[8] This raises a concern of extinction by hybridization as Arabian wolves are more adapted to desert life than wolf/dog hybrids.[9]

In Israel and Palestine, there is some disagreement as to the exact taxonomic status of wolves. Some scientists hold that two subspecies of wolf are present- C. l. pallipes in the northern parts, and C. l. arabs in the south. They point out that the southern wolves are smaller than the northern wolves which are also darker and have longer fur.[10] Other scientists consider the wolf in the area to be C. l. arabs, with no real distinction between northern and southern wolves.[4] As in other countries, there is interbreeding with feral dogs, which adds an element of uncertainty.[11]
Admixture with other Canis species

In 2018, whole genome sequencing was used to compare members of the genus Canis. The study found evidence of gene flow between African golden wolves, golden jackals, and grey wolves (from Saudi Arabia and Syria). One African golden wolf from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula showed high admixture with the Middle Eastern grey wolves and dogs, highlighting the role of the land bridge between the African and Eurasian continents in canid evolution. The African golden wolf was found to be the descendant of a genetically admixed canid of 72% grey wolf and 28% Ethiopian wolf ancestry.[12]
Wolf at Al Ain Zoo, the UAE

The Arabian wolf is one of the smallest subspecies of wolf. It stands on average 25–26 inches (64–66 cm) at shoulder height[13] and the adult weighs an average of 45 pounds (20.41 kg).[14] The cranial length of the adult Arabian wolf measures on average 200.8 mm (0.659 ft), which is smaller than most wolves.[15] Along with the Indian wolf, it is probably smaller than other wolves to help it adapt to life in a hot, dry climate.[16] This is an example of Bergmann's rule, where mammal size varies by the warmth of their environment. Its ears are proportionally larger in relation to its body size when compared to other sub-species of Canis lupus, an adaptation probably developed to help disperse body heat (Allen's Rule).[17]

They have a short thin coat which is usually a grayish beige color,[18] "... a mixture of black and slightly buffy grey" according to Pocock.[6] Melanistic (dark) Arabian wolves have been recorded in Saudi Arabia's western highlands.[19] Similar to other canines, the Arabian wolf does not have sweat glands and so it must control its body temperature by rapid panting, which causes evaporation from the lungs.[20] Occasionally the pads of the third and fourth toes are fused in the back; a feature which differentiates its tracks from a dog's.[21] It is distinguished from the Indian wolf by its smaller skull, smaller size and thinner coat.[18]
Behavior and Ecology
Female head and shoulders

Arabian wolves do not usually live in large packs, and instead hunt in pairs or in groups of about three or four animals.[22][23] They are most frequently active around water sources at sunrise and mid-afternoon.[24] However, they more commonly travel at night. Due to food availability, Arabian wolves often associate with human settlements.[25]

Arabian wolves are mainly carnivorous, but also omnivorous and in some areas largely dependent on human garbage and excess products.[23] Their native prey includes ungulates such as Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), gazelles (Genus Gazella), and Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus onager), as well as smaller animals like hares and rodents.[25] They also eat cats, sweet fruits, roadkill and other carrion.[26] Opportunistically, almost any small animal including fish, snails, baby baboons can be part of their diet.[27] Because Arabian wolves can attack and eat any domestic animals up to the size of a goat, pastoral Bedouins and other farmers will often shoot, poison, or trap them.[28]
Other wildlife interactions

There is at least one case in Israel of a striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) associating and cooperating with a wolf pack. It is proposed that this is a case of mutualism: the hyena could benefit from the wolves' superior ability to hunt large, agile prey. The wolves could benefit from the hyena's superior sense of smell, to locate and dig out tortoises, to crack open large bones, and to tear open discarded food containers like tin cans.[29]

As with other wolf subspecies, Arabian wolves can facilitate a trophic cascade by suppressing smaller carnivores such as golden jackals (Canis aureus) and foxes (Genus Vulpes). This allows smaller herbivores to become more abundant.[30] Arabian wolves compete with other carnivores including the caracal (Caracal caracal) and Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr).[31]
Range and conservation
An Arabian wolf in the Arava desert, southern Israel
See also: Al Hefaiyah Conservation Centre

The Arabian wolf was once found throughout the Arabian Peninsula, but now lives only in small pockets in southern Israel,[32] Palestine,[33] southern and western Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Jordan,[34] Saudi Arabia,[35] and some parts of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.[36] It is rare throughout most of its range because of human persecution.[23]

In Oman, wolf populations have increased because of a ban on hunting, and they may naturally re-establish themselves in certain places within the region in the relatively near term.[37]

In Israel, between 100 and 150 Arabian wolves are found across the Negev and the Arava. The population is stable, as prey is abundant and much of the land is undeveloped and protected as nature reserves.[4][32] They are strongly protected under Israel's 1955 Wildlife Protection Law.[38]

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt both have a captive breeding program, and the wolf is protected in Oman and Israel, but in Saudi Arabia, the wolf is protected in places and still exists in places with sparse human activity.[28]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canis lupus arabs.
Wikispecies has information related to Canis lupus arabs.

"Arabian Peninsula Red List" (PDF).
"Arabian Wolf Or Desert Wolf" (PDF).
Pocock, R.I. (1934). "LXVI.—Preliminary diagnoses of some new races of South Arabian mammals". Journal of Natural History. Series 10. 14 (84): 635–636. doi:10.1080/00222933408654939.
Hefner, R.; Geffen, E. (1999). "Group Size and Home Range of the Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus) in Southern Israel". Journal of Mammalogy. 80 (2): 611–619. doi:10.2307/1383305. ISSN 1545-1542. JSTOR 1383305.
Pocock, R.I. (1934). "LXVI.—Preliminary diagnoses of some new races of South Arabian mammals". Journal of Natural History Series 10. 14 (84): 635. doi:10.1080/00222933408654939.
Pocock, R.I. (1935). "XLII.—The mammals collected in S.E. Arabia by Mr. Bertram Thomas and Mr. H. St. J. Philby". Journal of Natural History. Series 10. 15 (88): 441–467. doi:10.1080/00222933508654985. ISSN 0374-5481.
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Chris Barichievy; Shayne Clugston; Robert Sheldon. "Field report : Association between an Arabian wolf and a domestic dog in central Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Retrieved 29 January 2022.
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Zafar-ul Islam, M.; Boug, Ahmed; Shehri, Abdullah; da Silva, Lucas Gonçalves (2019-04-03). "Geographic distribution patterns of melanistic Arabian Wolves, Canis lupus arabs (Pocock), in Saudi Arabia (Mammalia: Carnivora)". Zoology in the Middle East. 65 (2): 95–103. doi:10.1080/09397140.2019.1580931. ISSN 0939-7140. S2CID 92150720.
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S. Biquand; V. Urios; A. Baoug; C. Vila; J. Castroviejo; I. Nader (1994). "Fishes as diet of a wolf (Canis lupus arabs) in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Mammalia. 58 (3): 492–494. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-07-28. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
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"Wildlife Protection Law, 1955". GOV.IL. Retrieved 2023-03-03.

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