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Black-backed Jackal - Canis mesomelas
#1
Black-backed Jackal - Canis mesomelas

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Scientific classification 
Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Mammalia 
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae 
Genus: Canis 
Species: Canis mesomelas

Subspecies
There are two recognized subspecies of this canid:
Canis mesomelas mesomelas 
Canis mesomelas schmidti
 

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Black-backed Jackal range 

The Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas), also known as the Silver-backed Jackal is a species of jackal which inhabits two areas of the African continent separated by roughly 900 kilometers. One region includes the southern-most tip of the continent including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other area is along the eastern coastline, including Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

The fossil record indicates that the Black-backed Jackal is the oldest living member of the genus Canis.

Description
As its name suggests, the species' most distinguishing feature is the silver-black fur running from the back of the neck to the base of the tail. The chest and under parts are white to rusty-white, whereas the rest of the body ranges from reddish brown to ginger. Females tend not to be as richly colored as males. The winter coat of adult males develops a reddish to an almost deep russet red color.

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The Black-backed Jackal is typically 14–19 in (36–48 cm) high at the shoulder, 45–90 cm (18–35 in) long and 15–30 lb (6.8–14 kg) in weight. Specimens in the southern part of the continent tend to be larger than their more northern cousins.

The Black-backed Jackal is noticeably more slender than other species of jackals, with large, erect, pointed ears.
The Black-backed Jackal's skull is similar to that of the Side-striped Jackal, but is less flat, and has a shorter, broader rostrum. Its sagittal crest and zygomatic arches are also heavier in build. Its carnassials are larger than those of the more omnivorous Side-striped Jackal.
Scent glands are present on the face and the anus and genital regions. The Black-backed Jackal has 6-8 mammae.

Behaviour
The Black-backed Jackal usually lives together in pairs that last for life, but often hunts in packs to catch larger prey such as the Impala and antelopes. It is very territorial; each pair dominates a permanent territory. It is mainly nocturnal, but sometimes comes out in the day. Its predators include the Leopard and humans. Jackals are sometimes killed for their furs, or because they are considered predators of livestock.

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Diet and hunting
The Black-backed Jackal is a versatile feeder, and will alter its diet according to availability or interspecific competition. It typically feeds on small to medium sized mammals (such as murids, the Springhare and young ungulates), reptiles and birds. It will also scavenge on carrion and human refuse. Other food items include invertebrates, plants, fish, seals and beached marine mammals.

The Black-backed Jackal is a social feeder, and can sometimes be seen feeding on large carcasses in groups ranging from 8--10 individuals. Eighty jackals have been recorded to congregate at seal colonies on the Namib Coast, though this is sometimes accompanied by intraspecific aggression. The Black-backed Jackal may occasionally form packs in order to bring down large prey like the Impala and some antelope species.

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Reproduction
The Black-backed Jackal has a 2-month gestation period. Each litter consists of 3--6 pups, each of which weighs 200--250 grams. At 8 months,the pups are old enough to leave their parents and establish territories of their own. Often, a young jackal returns to help the parents raise another litter. In these cases, the next litter is much more likely to survive. Like several jackal species, the Black-backed Jackal is typically monogamous.

Habitat
The Black-backed Jackal occurs in a wide variety of African habitats, such as open woodlands, scrubland, savanna, and bush. They can easily adapt to different habitats. They are quite common throughout their range, and have a low risk of endangerment.

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#2
reddhole Wrote:Below is an account that shows a single female black-backed jackal killing an "apparently healthy" adult impala in a fairly long chase with a throat hold. I've previously posted several accounts of lone canids, including dholes, coyotes, golden jackals, and wolves, killing prey using this technique.

Black backed jackals are the smallest jackal species and average 7.4 KG or 16.3 lbs. Adult femala impala average 40 KG or 88 lbs. Thus, the prey-predator weight ratio is 5.41:1.

Source:

Preliminary Article - Jan Kamler
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#3
reddhole Wrote:Below is a study of Black-Backed Jackal interactions with Side-Striped Jackals. Basically, Black-Backed Jackals dominate the approximately 33% larger Side-Striped Jackal.


Source: Journal of Mammalogy, 83(2):599–607, 2002
HABITAT ECOLOGY OF TWO SYMPATRIC SPECIES OF JACKALS
IN ZIMBABWE
A. J. LOVERIDGE AND D. W. MACDONALD*

We radiotracked 22 jackals, 11 Canis mesomelas and 11 Canis adustus, in Hwange, Zimbabwe, to test the hypotheses that habitat use would differ and that the larger C. adustus
would displace the smaller C. mesomelas. C. mesomelas preferentially used grassland. C. adustus used woodland and scrub. Habitat use by C. adustus differed from allopatric populations in which this species uses grassland, the likely favored habitat for jackals. C.mesomelas was shown to aggressively displace C. adustus from grassland. Aggressive
displacement of a larger species by a smaller species is an unusual and probably uniquebehavior in carnivores.


In 21 of all 23 observed interspecific interactions,
either C. mesomelas chased C.
adustus from the vicinity (14 occasions) or
C. adustus retreated or avoided the presence
of C. mesomelas with no chasing (7 occasions).
In 8 of these cases a food resource
or potential food resource (i.e., recorded
sound) was available. On only 2 occasions
were both species present with no interaction.
In 1 of these cases the 2 groups of
animals were separated by 50 m. On 10 occasions
C. mesomelas chased C. adustus
when no food resource was available to defend.
In these cases, pursuits of between 15
and 50 m occurred, and all followed a similar
pattern. In 3 of the 22 interactions, C.
adustus retreated from C. mesomelas, without
being chased, C. mesomelas showing no
signs of having noticed the other animals.
In other cases (n = 8), a food resource or
potential food resource (recording of prey
distress calls) was involved in the interaction.
On 4 occasions, C. adustus did not
attempt to approach in the presence of C.
mesomelas but instead stayed in the vicinity,
using Terminalia scrub as cover. On 2
of these occasions, C. adustus fed later, and
on the other 2 occasions they never gained
access to the food resource, possibly because
C. mesomelas remained in the area or
because the resource was consumed by other
scavengers. Both species responded to
sound recordings on 2 occasions. In both
cases, C. mesomelas aggressively displaced
C. adustus.
 
It is clear that in the absence
of competitors C. adustus and C. mesomelas
both choose to use grassland and open
woodland over other habitats.

In the case of the 2 southern African species
of jackals, it is clear that in the absence of
C. mesomelas (e.g., northern Zimbabwe—
Atkinson 1997), C. adustus will use a range
of habitats and preferentially use grassland,
the most favorable habitat. However, when
the 2 southern African species are sympatric,
the range of habitats used by C. adustus
is narrowed, in response to the presence of
the smaller but more aggressive species.
The habitat partitioning observed in this
study appears to be mediated by aggressive
exclusion of C. adustus from grassland by
C. mesomelas. Because jackals are coursing
predators adapted to open terrain (Ewer
1973, Johnson et al. 1996), grassland appears
to be a favorable habitat with access
to more resources and resting places. Open
grassland allows easy movement, and open
resting sites may facilitate vigilance for potential
predators (e.g., leopard, Panthera
pardus—Turnbull-Kemp 1967). In addition,
Atkinson (1997) found that guinea savannah
grassland in central Zimbabwe (cf.
Coe and Skinner 1993) is richer in food resources,
such as small mammals and fruit,
than is woodland and therefore tends to be
frequented more often than expected by C.
adustus. In this study, grassland also provided
habitat suitable for springhares (Pedetes
capensis), a prey item favored by jackals
(Ferguson 1980; Loveridge 1999; Nel
1984).
Relationships between sympatric species
of canids are often hostile, and in general
larger species dominate (Carbyn 1982; Major
and Sherburne 1987; Rudzinski et al.
1982). However, despite their smaller size
and contrary to expectation, C. mesomelas
appeared to be dominant to C. adustus. In
interspecific encounters C. mesomelas almost
always aggressively displaced C.
adustus, with C. adustus avoiding direct
confrontation with C. mesomelas. Kingdon
(1997) suggests that C. mesomelas are
‘‘generally more aggressive than other jackal
species.’’ There is evidence that they may
also displace C. aureus (Kingdon 1977). C.
mesomelas is also more likely to risk feeding
among lions (Panthera leo) and spotted
hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) at carcasses than
are other species of jackals (Estes 1967,
1991; Kingdon 1977; Mills 1990; Wyman
1967).
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#4
Red Dog Wrote:Below is an account that shows a single female black-backed jackal killing an "apparently healthy" adult impala in a fairly long chase with a throat hold. I've previously posted several accounts of lone canids, including dholes, coyotes, golden jackals, and wolves, killing prey using this technique.

Black backed jackals are the smallest jackal species and average 7.4 KG or 16.3 lbs. Adult femala impala average 40 KG or 88 lbs. Thus, the prey-predator weight ratio is 5.41:1.

Source:

Preliminary Article - Jan Kamler

[Image: SingleJackalKillsAdultImpala001.jpg]

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Source: Journal of Wildlife Management 74(5):1030–1042; 2010


Apparently blackback jackal predation on small adult ungulates is more common than once thought. In the study below, adult springbok made up a substantial proportion of the diet during part of the year. In addition, a single jackal subdued an adult springbok, but apparently was disturbed by the researchers and the springbok got away.

Outside the birthing periods on both sites, springbok
contributed 11–49% (range of seasonal means) of total
biomass ingested by the jackals, indicating individuals larger
than fawns also were regularly consumed by jackals. Again,
this was not likely carrion, because springbok were
disproportionately selected relative to their abundance over
other ungulates in all seasons on both sites. Adult springbok
are nearly 4 times larger than jackals, so such predation by
jackals should not have been easy. Previous researchers
reported that black-backed jackals successfully hunted adult
gazelles (Schaller 1972, Sleicher 1973, Lamprecht 1978,
Moehlman 1983), adult impala (McKenzie 1990, Kamler et
al. 2010), and adult springbok (Krofel 2008). In most cases,
several jackals were involved in killing the ungulate,
although only one jackal may have initiated the attack. On
BGF, we once opportunistically came upon one jackal that
was holding down an adult springbok. After being startled,
the jackal ran away and the springbok got up and went back
into the herd, apparently unhurt. We also observed jackals
that chased herds of springbok, apparently testing them and
looking for weak individuals, as reported in previous studies
(Lamprecht 1978, McKenzie 1990). Thus, it was reasonable
to assume that jackals regularly hunted adult springbok on
our study sites.
Incidentally, we were unsure what effects the
lack of large carnivores had on jackal hunting behavior on
our study sites. That jackals in eastern Africa preyed on
gazelle fawns, and occasionally adults, in the presence of
large carnivores suggests this behavior might be normal for
jackals whether or not large carnivores are present.
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#5
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#6
Red Dog Wrote:Source: Jane Goodall and Hugo Van Lawick, Innocent Killers

Black back jackal attacks maribou stork at carcass

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Canidae Wrote:Jackal Predation on Python, from Wildlife in South Africa by Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton
I have seen one eating a python, and no doubt the native testimony as to their occasionally killing these reptiles is quite correct. it is said that when a black-backed jackal finds a python asleep in the grass, especially when helpless after a heavy gorge, or trailing slowly across open ground, he watched his opportunity, and springing in, seizes it by the head if coiled up, and by the tail if extended. If the snake is a very large one, he inflects one severe bite and instantly leaps back out of reach, awaiting another chance; but where a small individual has to be dealt with, he maintains his hold and rushes off dragging it along at full speed so that it may be unable to secure a purchase with its tail. Should it succeed in doing so, he lets go at once and springs out of harm's way. One the other hand, a python in ambush, and on the look out for prey, will catch and swallow a black-backed jackal as readily as it will any other animal of the same size.

Sicilianu Wrote:Possibly an erythristic black backed jackal 

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Canis mesomelas mesomelas
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