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Maned Wolf - Chrysocyon brachyurus
Maned Wolf - Chrysocyon brachyurus

[Image: photo.jpg]

Scientific classification 
Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Mammalia 
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Canidae 
Subfamily: Caninae 
Genus: Chrysocyon

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America, resembling a big fox with reddish fur.

This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south-eastern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás and São Paulo), Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes, and far south-eastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only). It is very rare in Uruguay. 

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IUCN lists it as near threatened, while it is considered vulnerable by the Brazilian government (IBAMA). It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon. It is locally known as aguará guazú (meaning “large fox”) in the Guarani language, as "lobo guará" in Portuguese and as "lobo de crin" in Spanish.

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The Maned Wolf has often been described as "a Red Fox on stilts" due to its similar coloration and overall appearance, though it is much larger than a Red Fox and belongs to a different genus. The adult animal stands almost 1 m (3.3 ft) tall at the shoulder, and weighs 20 to 25 kg (44 to 55 lb). The maned wolf is the tallest of the wild canids. The long legs are probably an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.

The Maned Wolf's fur is reddish brown to golden orange on the sides, with long, black legs and a distinctive black mane. The coat is further marked with a whitish tuft at the tip of the tail and a white "bib" beneath the throat. The mane is erectile, and is typically used to enlarge the wolf's profile when threatened or when displaying aggression.

The maned wolf is also known for its distinctive odor, which has earned it the nickname "Skunk Wolf."

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Hunting and territoriality
Unlike other large canids (such as the Gray Wolf, the African Hunting Dog, or the Dhole) the Maned Wolf does not form packs. It hunts alone, usually between sundown and midnight. It kills its prey by biting on the neck or back, and shaking it violently if necessary. Monogamous pairs may defend a shared territory of about 30 km² (11.6 sq mi), though the wolves themselves may seldom meet, outside of mating. The territory is crisscrossed by paths that the wolves create as they patrol at night. Several adults may congregate in the presence of a plentiful food source; a fire-cleared patch of grassland, for example, which would leave small vertebrate prey exposed to foraging wolves.

Both male and female Maned Wolves use their urine to communicate, e.g. to mark their hunting paths, or the places where they have buried hunted prey. The urine has a very distinctive smell, which some people liken to hops or cannabis. The responsible substance is very likely a pyrazine, which occurs in both plants. (In the Rotterdam Zoo, this smell once set the police on a hunt for cannabis smokers.)

The mating season ranges from November to February. Gestation lasts 60 to 65 days, and a litter may have up to 2 to 6 black-furred pups, each weighing about 450 g (16 oz).

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The Maned Wolf specializes in small and medium-sized prey, including small mammals (typically rodents and hares), birds, and even fish. A large fraction of its diet (over 50%, according to some studies) is vegetable matter, including sugarcane, tubers, and fruit (especially the Wolf Apple (Solanum lycocarpum). Captive Maned Wolves were traditionally fed meat-heavy diets and developed bladder stones. Zoo diets now feature fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and dog chow.

Relations with other species
The Maned Wolf participates in symbiotic relationships with the plants that it feeds on, as it carries the seeds of various plants, and often defecates on the nests of leafcutter ants. The ants then use the dung to fertilize their fungus gardens, and later discard the seeds onto refuse piles just outside their nest. This process significantly increases the germination rate of the seeds. The wolf is particularly susceptible to infection by the giant kidney worm, a potentially fatal parasite that may also infect domestic dogs. The Maned Wolf is not a true, common prey species for any other predator, though it may be attacked or killed by feral domestic dogs. The Cougar is a potential competitor.

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Relations with humans
The Maned Wolf is said to be a potential chicken thief; it was once also considered a threat to cattle and sheep, though this is now known to be false. In Brazil, the animal was historically hunted down for some body parts, notably the eyes, that were believed to be good luck charms. However, as it is now classified as vulnerable by the Brazilian government, it is afforded protection from poachers. Wolves are also threatened by habitat loss and being run over by cars. Wolves risk both physical harm and catching diseases from domestic dogs. The Maned Wolf is generally shy and flees when alarmed, and it poses little direct threat to humans. It occurs in several protected areas, including the national parks of Caraça and Emas in Brazil. The Maned Wolf is well represented in captivity, and has been bred successfully at a number of zoos, particularly in Argentina.

The Maned Wolf is not closely related to any other canid. It is apparently a survivor from the Pleistocene fauna of large South American mammals; its closest living relative is the Bush Dog (genus Speothos), with a more distant relationship to other South American canines (the Short-eared Dog, the Crab-eating Fox and the 'false foxes' or Pseudalopex).

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Red Dog Wrote:Figure 1. Cumulative number of food items found in scats of the maned wolves collected at Serra do Caraça Reserve, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
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The sampling of 230 scats was considered satisfactory, judging from the asymptotic curve of the items consumed, particularly from the 170th sample onwards (Fig. 1), which corresponded to 73.5% of all samples collected. Pasty or watery scats were found monthly. Of all samples collected, 83.9% were found on rocks, 9.5% on a heap of crushed rock, 3.5% on reserve trails, 2.2% on an asphalt road, and 0.9% on top of termite mounds, with almost all samples (94.3%) being associated with elevated sites of deposition.
Seventy-two food items (Tab. I) were identified, of which 56.2% were of animal origin, 17.8% of vegetal origin, 13.7% inorganic items, and 12.3 % were items of anthropic origin. "Anthropic items" corresponded to organic items taken from garbage cans and items deliberately offered to the animals. "Inorganic items" comprised items consumed accidentally together with garbage. "Other fruits" included 12 species and morphospecies of fruits.
Of the total food item occurrences recorded (569), 56.8% were represented by animals, 29.0% by vegetal material, 9.1% by anthropic items, and 5.1% by inorganic material. Among the different items, grass was the most frequent (i.e., 19.5%), followed by rodents (15.8%), insects (10.5%), other mammals (9.7%), and birds (9.5%). All fruits together made up 9.6% of the total number of occurrences (Tab. II). Items of animal origin contributed with 88.1% (56,766 g) of the total estimated diet biomass (64,411 g), with rodents being the predominant item (29.2%). Vegetal items accounted for 3.7% (2,344 g) of the total biomass, with S. lycocarpum (lobeira fruits) yielding 3.4% (Tab. II). With the exception of S. lycocarpum, all other fruits recorded (Tab. I) had no fleshy, succulent pericarp, and were considered dry fruits. As for the animal items consumed, a total of 277 prey items were identified, with insects and rodents together accounting for 50.8% of the total items consumed.
About 58% of the samples were collected during the dry season and 41.6% during the rainy season. A significant correlation was found between rainy season and dry season consumption of S. lycocarpum (c2 = 10,0; p < 0,001), other fruits (c2 = 19,7; p < 0,001), and reptiles (c2 = 15,5; p < 0,001), all of which were consumed mainly during the dry season. For all other items, no significant differences in seasonality were found (Fig. 2). A significant correlation was observed between variations in the abundance of small mammals and their consumption by the maned wolves (rs = 0,59; p = 0,041) (Fig. 3). However, the correlation between the consumption of S. lycocarpum fruits and their abundance in the reserve was not significant (rs = 0,101; p = 0,754) (Fig. 4).
Source: here

saiyamel Wrote:I wonder how they could eat armadillos? I don't they have the teeth/jaws to crunch through the armor.. this is an interesting canid.

Maned wolves apparently flip armadillos over and bite their more vulnerable underbelly:

Source: Dietz, "Ecology and Social Organization of the Maned Wolf", Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology No. 392, 2002.

[Image: ManedWolfPredationonArmadillos001.jpg]

Below is an account of a female maned wolf killing a yearling pampas deer with a throat bite that breaks the deer's neck. The author suggests that the lack of observations may be due to small or nonexistant deer populations and/or difficulty observing such hunts in other studies.

The maned wolf has a weaker bite and a more gracile build than other large canids (i.e. gray wolf, red wolf, AWD), but it does have pretty long canines and a strong enough bite to kill decent sized prey.

Source: Bestelmeyer and Westbrook,"Maned Wolf Predation on Pampas Deer in Central Brazil", Mammalia, 62, P 591-595: 1998

The account:

[Image: ManedWolfKillsPamapasDeer002.jpg]

The researcher's analysis:

[Image: ManedWolfKillsPamapasDeer003.jpg]

Maned Wolf Skull:
[Image: 10eimon.jpg]

Maned Wolf Skeleton:
[Image: 2wdvn07.jpg]

Dental Formula:

HB: 1,058mm(950-1150)
T:  446mm(380-500)
E: 136mm(135-200)
WT: 25.0kg(20.5-30)

Argentina: 1,000?
Bolivia: >1,000
Brazil: ?
Peru: ?
Paraguay: ?
Uruguay: † 

Hunting success rate: 21%

Hunting strategies:
1) Stalking prey with a final pounce. 
2) Digging after burrowing animals.
3) Leaping into the air to capture flying birds and insects.
4) Sprinting after fleeing deer.

Possible competitors:
1) Bush Dog
2) Crab-Eating Fox
3) Hoary Fox
4) Pampas Fox
5) Puma
6) Jaguar
7) Pampas Cat
8) Jaguarundi
9) Crab-Eating Raccoon
10) Hog-Nosed Skunk
11) Grison

Source: here

Hunting association between the Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis) and the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon branchyurus).
Abstract: Hunting associations between Aplomado
Falcons (Falco femoralis) and maned wolf
(Chrysocyon brachyurui) were observed in six occasions
in Emas National Park. central Brazil. Falcons
were successful in 25% of their hunting attempts.
This association benefits the birds that hunt flushing
tinamous missed by the wolf’s attack. The predominant
grassland habitat of the park enables the falcon
to pursue prey in flight that were flushed by the wolf
from tall dense grass.
Hunting associations between birds and mammals in
South and Central America have been described for
monkeys with Double-toothed Kite (Harpargus bidentatus)
(Greenlaw 1967, Fontaine 1980, Boinski
and Scott 1988, Stiles 1989, Egler 1991, Heymann
1992), coatimundi (Nasua nasua) with falcons (Sick
1984), and for sea birds with dolphins (Monteiro-
Filho 1992). We found no literature describing bird
association with canids.
Here we describe hunting associations between
maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the
Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis) in Emas National
Park (ENP), Brazil’s largest piece of continuous
undisturbed cerrado. The cerrado is a savannalike
vegetation predominant in central Brazil (for a
better description of cerrado see Eiten 1972, 1991).
The Maned Wolf is a 23 kg solitary hunter which
spends a large proportion of its diurnal activities foraging
in open habitats, feeding mainly on fruits,
small mammals, and tinamous (Tinamidae) (Dietz
1984). The Aplomado Falcon weighs about 235 g and
feeds on insects and small vertebrates, such as lizards,
rodents, and birds (Sick 1984). The Aplomado
Falcon is relatively common in ENP, where it is sympatric
with four other similar-sized raptors.
From July 1994 to July 1995, we observed Maned
Wolves nine times in ENP for a total of 587 min.
Six of those occasions, for a total of 488 min, were
falcon-wolf associations. All observations were made
between 08: 10 and 19: 13 (Table 1). The falcons were
noted following a wolf at distances varying from 3
to 30 m. Out of 6 observations, 2 had pairs of falcons
and 4 had single birds following the wolf.
In the first observation of a maned wolf, from
11:49 to 18:29, only one falcon was noted in association
with the wolf until 14: IO, when a second falcon
appeared and engaged in a feet-to-feet display
with the first bird. Brown and Amadon (1968) describe
this foot-touching display for species which
pair for life; it maintains their pair bond outside the
breeding season. This interaction lasted for a few
minutes until the birds split and began following the
wolf, one on each side of the animal. At 17:43 the
wolf lunged and missed a Red-winged Tinamou
(Rhyncothus rufencens). The tinamou was immediately
followed in flight and captured by one of the
falcons. The unsuccessful falcon returned to follow
the wolf until 18:29. During this observation, out of
22 hunting attempts, the wolf captured a prey six
times (three seven-banded armadillos [Dasypus septencinctus],
two tinamous [Nothuru maculosa] and
an unidentified small mammal) and missed 10 unidentified
prey, three prairie chickens and three
tinamous. These birds fled from the mammalian
predator with low, short flights and were closely
chased by the falcon. Out of the six hunting attempts
of the falcons, two succeeded, in which a Nothura
and a prairie-chicken were captured.
On another occasion, from 17:26 to 17:46, after beginning
the observation a second falcon appeared and
interacted with the first bird. Subsequently, the two
birds followed the wolf. They kept a short distance
from each other, perching on nearby bushes on each
side of the wolf. No successful hunt was observed
for either species. In a third observation, from 17:OE
to 17:38, a falcon showed up at 17:23 and followed
the wolf for only 15 min, probably because of the
poor visibility at dusk. During this period four unsuccessful
attempts of the wolf were recorded, one
Nothura and three unidentified prey. Of these prey,
the falcon attempted to capture only the Nothura, but
without success. In a fourth observation, from 17:32
to 18:08, the wolf preyed on a rodent, on an unidentified
prey, and attempted, without success, to catch
a prairie chicken which fled without being noticed
by the falcon. On a fifth observation, from 19:ll to
19:13, the wolf preyed on a Nothura and failed to
capture a small passerine that was subsequently
chased by the falcon, without success. In the sixth
observation, from 8: 10 to 8: 11, the presence of a falcon
was recorded but no hunting was observed in either
During the six observations, wolves attempted to
capture prey on 32 occasions, and were successful
in 28% (9/32) of the attempts. The falcons associated
with a wolf attempted to capture prey on eight
occasions and were successful in 25% (2/S) of the
attempts. The Aplomado Falcons showed an opportunistic
behavior in hunting the birds that escaped
the wolf’s attack. Of the wolf’s vertebrate prey,
ground birds appear the most prone to falcon predation
during escapes. Because of their noisy and low
flight, ground birds were immediately detected by the
According to Brown and Amadon (1968), daily
food intake in small active raptors may reach about
25% of the bird’s body weight. A tinamou weighing
around 300 g and a prairie-chicken 900 g corresponds
to 128% and 383%, respectively, of an Aplomado
Falcon’s body weight. The apparent low capture success
of the Aplomado Falcon, appears to be largely
outweighed by the large prey size. Because wolves
spend a large proportion of their diurnal activities
hunting, it seems worthwhile for the falcon to follow
them as they flush prey from tall, dense vegetation.
Grassland habitats cover 97% of the Park’s area
which contributes to the success of this falcon-wolf
association by allowing good visibility and few obstructions
in flight for the falcon to pursue avian prey
missed by the wolf.
We thank John Wortman, Denver Zoological Foundation,
Denver, CO, Charles Brady, Memphis Zoo,
Memphis, TN and Fundacao 0 Boticario de Protecao
A Natureza for financial support of the carnivore
community study at Emas National Park
which made the observations described here possible.

Nice video

Maned wolf vocalization

From Pict:

Hunting a small animal

Mauro20 Wrote:
Abstract: Hunting associations between Aplomado Falcons (Falco femoralis) and maned wolf (Chrysocyon  brachyurus) were observed in six occasions in Emas National Park, central Brazil. Falcons were successful in 25% of their hunting attempts. This association benefits the birds that hunt flushing tinamous missed by the wolf ’s attack. The predominant grassland habitat of the park enables the falcon to pursue prey in flight that were flushed by the wolf from tall dense grass.
Read more here:
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
Gato Gordo Wrote:Why this thread? To provide good quality info on a poorly known and very underrated predator. 

The manned wolf weighs about 25 kg (males) and is the 4th largest canid (after the grey wolf, red wolf, and AWD). It has a light frame and long legs. So, people tend to believe that it is a "weak" predator. 

Many "popular" sources describe the manned wolf as a "weak" predator that preys only on rodents and small game. Even older outdated scientific literature has this view. 

However, it is now known from more recent studies that manned wolves also hunt Pampas deer (so it is not so "weak"). 

Description of the pampas deer: 

Pampas deer males are somewhat bigger than females [20]. Free-ranging males reach a length of 130 cm (muzzle tip to tail base), measuring 75 cm at shoulder height and having a tail length of 15 cm. They weigh approximately 35 kg. However, data obtained from animals bred in semi-captivity indicate slightly smaller animals, with males measuring approximately 90-100 cm long, shoulder height 65-70 cm, and weighing 30-35 kg. Antlers are middle-sized when compared with other deer, solid and thin. Antlers reach 30 cm long, have three points, a brow point and a rear, and a longer bifurcated branch [23]. Females reach 85 cm length and 65 cm at shoulder height, with their body weight being 20-25 kg (unpublished data). Males are usually darker coated than females [2]. 


The following article describes a successful kill of an adult Pampas deer (20-30 kg) by a female manned wolf: 

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"... in this paper we report two observations of solitary manned wolves hunting adult pampas deer; one of the hunts was successful" 

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"... our observation prove that a solitary manned wolf is capable of hunting a full sized pampas deer" 

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The long legs of the manned wolf are not speed adaptations (like in the cheetah). They are adaptations for "raising the head above the grass" to hunt 

Description of the kill: can a weak predator do this? 


The manned wolf (a female) had grasped the deer's neck with her muzzle. She shook her head rapidly and broke the deer's neck. 

Since the killed deer was a female, it must have weighed 20-25 kg. Notice from the description that the deer and the wolf had the same height and manned wolves stand 75 cm high, so the yearling was a full grown deer. In fact, the authors describe this as the kill of an adult deer. 

Thus, manned wolves are not "weak", and are capable of hunting small antelopes, just as other canids of their size.
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]

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