Fine Art

Canis lupus crassodon (*)

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 crassodon

Canis lupus crassodon Hall, 1932

Canis lupus crassodon 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 crassodon Hall, 1932 – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
العربية: ذئب جزر فانكوفر
asturianu: Llobu de la Islla Vancouver
English: Vancouver Island Wolf
français: Loup de L'Ile de Vancouver
magyar: Vancouver-szigeti farkas
português: Lobo-da-Ilha-de-Vancouver

The Vancouver Island wolf, also known as the coastal wolf or sea wolf (Canis lupus crassodon)[2] is a subspecies of grey wolf, endemic to the coast of the Pacific Northwest.[3] They are unique amongst other wolves for their semi-aquatic lifestyle, which includes a diet that is almost entirely marine-based.

The wolves play important roles in the cultures and spiritual beliefs of local indigenous people, with mythical creatures like the Gonakadet and Wasgo, found among the Tsimshian, Tlingit, and Haida peoples of British Columbia and Alaska, being inspired by them.[4]

Vancouver Island wolves measure between 4 and 5 feet from nose to tail-tip, and are noticeably lighter than their interior counterparts, weighing between 29 and 40 kilos (65-90lbs), as opposed to the 36 to 68 kilos (80-150lbs) of a mainland British Columbia wolf.[2] As with other wolves, there is a difference in size between the sexes, with males being larger than females.[5]

The colour of their coat ranges between individuals, with varying degrees of reddish-brown, grey, beige, and white fur, though entirely white[2] and melanistic individuals are seen on occasion.[6]
Kitlope Heritage Conservancy, part of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Vancouver Island wolves range from southern Alaska, down along the coast of British Columbia, including within the Great Bear Rainforest. Owing to their propensity as strong swimmers, they also inhabit several islands in the Salish Sea, including their namesake, Vancouver Island.[3]

One of the defining features of this subspecies is their movements between islands, in some cases swimming up to 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) between landmasses.[7] These movements are sometimes seasonal, including following the migration of salmon,[8] one of their preferred food sources.

Vancouver Island wolves have a diverse diet, with between 75 and 90 percent of it being sourced from the ocean. A quarter of that is salmon,[7] of which the wolves are documented eating solely the brains of, potentially to avoid a bacterial infection known as "salmon poisoning" which can be fatal to canids.[9]

Along the coast, they will forage for barnacles, clams, mussels, and crabs, digging into the sand with their paws and using powerful jaw muscles to break open shells.[8] They also scavenge whatever has been left behind by the tide, which can include everything from abalone to whale carcasses.[10]

Coastal wolves will also actively hunt marine mammals like otters, seals, and their offspring,[11] as well as terrestrial mammals like black-tailed deer.[8]
Taxonomy and genetics
A Vancouver Island wolf in the Comox Valley.

The Vancouver Island wolf is recognized as a subspecies of Canis lupus in the taxonomic authority Mammal Species of the World (2005).[12] Studies using mitochondrial DNA have indicated that the wolves of coastal southeast Alaska are genetically distinct from inland grey wolves, reflecting a pattern also observed in other taxa.[13][14][15] They show a phylogenetic relationship with extirpated wolves from the south (Oklahoma), indicating that these wolves are the last remains of a once widespread group that has been largely extirpated during the last century and that the wolves of northern North America had originally expanded from southern refuges below the Wisconsin glaciation after the ice had melted at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. These findings call into question the taxonomic classification of C.l. nulibus proposed by Nowak.[14] Another study found that the wolves of coastal British Columbia were genetically and ecologically distinct from the inland wolves, including other wolves from inland British Columbia.[16] A study of the three coastal wolves indicated a close phylogenetic relationship across regions that are geographically and ecologically contiguous, and the study proposed that Canis lupus ligoni (Alexander Archipelago wolf), Canis lupus columbianus (British Columbia wolf), and Canis lupus crassodon (Vancouver Island wolf) should be recognized as a single subspecies of Canis lupus.[15]

In 2016, two studies compared the DNA sequences of 42,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in North American grey wolves and found the coastal wolves to be genetically and phenotypically distinct from other wolves.[17] They share the same habitat and prey species, and form one of the study's six identified ecotypes - a genetically and ecologically distinct population separated from other populations by their different type of habitat.[17][18] The local adaptation of a wolf ecotype most likely reflects the wolf's preference to remain in the type of habitat that it was born into.[17] Wolves that prey on fish and small deer in wet, coastal environments tend to be smaller than other wolves.[17]
See also: Wolf population differences

The pressure commercial hunting puts on Vancouver Island wolves was brought to international attention when "Takaya", a male wolf whose uniquely solitary life was heavily documented, including in the 2019 documentary Takaya: Lone Wolf, was shot and killed on March 24th, 2020 by a hunter.[19] His death prompted calls from both the local and international community for changes to the law regarding the hunting of wolves in British Columbia.

Human-wildlife conflict also presents an issue for coastal wolves, especially in places like Vancouver Island, a prominent tourist destination.[20]

Fred H. Harrington (1982). Wolves of the World: Perspectives of Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Noyes. pp. 54–. ISBN 978-0-8155-0905-9. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
"Wolves". Retrieved 19 February 2022.
"Coastal wolves". Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
Faris, Peter (25 September 2018). "Rock Art Blog: Wasgo/Gonakadet – Sea Wolves of the Pacific Northwest Coast". Retrieved 19 February 2022.
"Coastal wolf • Canis lupus". Biodiversity of the Central Coast. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
"The Wolf: A Brief Encounter, Vancouver Island | BaldHiker". 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
"Meet the Rare Swimming Wolves That Eat Seafood". National Geographic. 3 August 2016. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
"The amazing sea wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest". Retrieved 2023-08-16.
"Scat, tracks, and spawning salmon: following signs of wolves along the south coast". Raincoast Conservation Foundation. 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
"Mini Documentary profiles Coastal Wolves on Vancouver Island". CHEK. 2021-01-13. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
"Where wolves live on Vancouver Island". Times Colonist. 2020-10-11. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 575–577. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. url=
Weckworth, Byron V.; Talbot, Sandra; Sage, George K.; Person, David K.; Cook, Joseph (2005). "A Signal for Independent Coastal and Continental histories among North American wolves". Molecular Ecology. 14 (4): 917–31. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02461.x. PMID 15773925. S2CID 12896064.
Weckworth, Byron V.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A. (2010). "Phylogeography of wolves (Canis lupus) in the Pacific Northwest". Journal of Mammalogy. 91 (2): 363–375. doi:10.1644/09-MAMM-A-036.1.
Weckworth, Byron V.; Dawson, Natalie G.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Flamme, Melanie J.; Cook, Joseph A. (2011). "Going Coastal: Shared Evolutionary History between Coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska Wolves (Canis lupus)". PLOS ONE. 6 (5): e19582. Bibcode:2011PLoSO...619582W. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019582. PMC 3087762. PMID 21573241.
Muñoz-Fuentes, Violeta; Darimont, Chris T.; Wayne, Robert K.; Paquet, Paul C.; Leonard, Jennifer A. (2009). "Ecological factors drive differentiation in wolves from British Columbia" (PDF). Journal of Biogeography. 36 (8): 1516–1531. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02067.x. S2CID 38788935.
Schweizer, Rena M.; Vonholdt, Bridgett M.; Harrigan, Ryan; Knowles, James C.; Musiani, Marco; Coltman, David; Novembre, John; Wayne, Robert K. (2016). "Genetic subdivision and candidate genes under selection in North American grey wolves". Molecular Ecology. 25 (1): 380–402. doi:10.1111/mec.13364. PMID 26333947. S2CID 7808556.
Schweizer, Rena M.; Robinson, Jacqueline; Harrigan, Ryan; Silva, Pedro; Galverni, Marco; Musiani, Marco; Green, Richard E.; Novembre, John; Wayne, Robert K. (2016). "Targeted capture and resequencing of 1040 genes reveal environmentally driven functional variation in grey wolves". Molecular Ecology. 25 (1): 357–79. doi:10.1111/mec.13467. PMID 26562361. S2CID 17798894.
Cecco, Leyland (2020-03-27). "Canada mourns Takaya – the lone sea wolf whose spirit captured the world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-08-16.
MacKinnon, J. B. (2017-10-23). "Cry Wolf: Human Behaviour Once Again Endangers the Wolves of Vancouver Island". The Tyee. Retrieved 2023-08-16.

Mammals Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World