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Eurasian Golden Jackal - Canis aureus
#1
Eurasian Golden Jackal - Canis aureus

[Image: canus-aureus.jpg]

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

Geographic Range
The Eurasian golden jackal occurs in Southeastern Europe and South Asia to Burma.

Habitat
The golden jackal is the most northerly of jackal species, and also the most widely distributed. Golden jackals prefer dry open country, arid short grasslands and steppe landscapes.

Physical Description
Mass : 8 to 10 kg (17.6 to 22 lbs)
The body length of the golden jackal is 70 to 85 cm., with a tail length of about 25 cm. Its standing height is approximately 40 cm. The fur is generally coarse and not very long. Its coat is usually yellow to pale gold and brown-tipped, but the color can vary with season and region. 

Reproduction
Number of offspring :1 to 9; avg. 4.50
Gestation period : 60 to 63 days
Time to weaning : 50 to 90 days
Golden jackals live in mated pairs and are strictly monogamous. In most jackal families, there are one or two adult members called "helpers." Helpers are jackals who stay with the parents for a year after reaching sexual maturity, without breeding, to help take care of the next litter.
Births occur mainly in January-February in East Africa and in April-May in Southeast Europe, but take place throughout the year in tropical Asia. They have been observed to produce pups for at least eight years. The gestation period is 63 days. Young are born in a den within the parents' marked territory. Litters can contain one to nine pups, but two to four is the usual number. Weight at birth is 200-250 grams. Pups' eyes open after about ten days. The pups are nursed for about eight weeks, and then weaned. The young are fed by regurgitation and begin to take some solid food at about three months. Both parents provide food and protection. Sexual maturity comes at eleven months.

[Image: goldenjackal.jpg]

Behavior
The basic social unit of the golden jackal is a mated pair or a mated pair and its young. Golden jackal pairs forage and rest together. All of their behavior is highly synchronized. Cooperative hunting is important to the jackals. Pairs are three times more likely to be successful than individuals in hunting. Members of the same family also cooperate in sharing larger food items and transport food in their stomachs for later regurgitation to pups or to a lactating mother. Hunting families hold territories of two to three square kilometers throughout the year, portions of which are marked with urine, either by the male or the female jackal, to ward off intruders.

Though the golden jackal is a capable hunter, it normally does not attack larger animals. Jackals also take part in the kills of larger animals, such as those of the lion. They howl when a lion makes a kill, which usually lures other jackals to the scene. If a sated lion leaves an unfinished carcass, the jackals rush in to devour the remains. Should other animals arrive at the scene, the jackals bury their pieces of meat. Using their forepaws, they dig a trench, lay the bits of quarry into it, and then close the trench using the ridge of the nose.

Both male and female members of a golden jackal pair have important roles in maintaining their territory and in raising the young. When one parent dies, it is unlikely that the rest of the family will survive. However, most jackel families have helpers. These helper associations are probably responsible for reports of large packs hunting together. Within the family, helpers are subordinate to parents.

Helpers strengthen the family in several ways. The presence of a single adult at the den provides considerable protection: adults both "rumble growl" and "predator bark" to warn the pups to take refuge, and a single adult can successfully drive off large predators. Helpers also bring food to a lactating mother and improve the provisioning of the pups indirectly by allowing the parents to spend more time foraging alone or hunting as a pair. Families with helpers may be able to defend and exploit a carcass more successfully than an individual would be able to. Pup survival improves in the presence of helpers, though not as markedly in golden jackals as in other jackal species.

The female golden jackal initiates all den changes. Though the males are predominantly monogamous, females reserve their aggression for female intruders, preventing the sharing of the male and his paternal investment.

Golden jackals are strictly nocturnal in areas inhabited by humans, but may be partly diurnal elsewhere. They dig caverns for shelter, or use crevices in rocks, or caverns that were dug by other animals. Golden jackals live in pairs and are friendly to one another, scratching their partners all over their bodies. However, if strange jackals meet each other, most of the behavior expresses subordination, superiority, or eagerness to attack.

They behave in a manner similar to domesticated dogs and wolves. Males raise a hind leg when spraying their urine, and females squat at the site they wish to spray. Males and females alike mark their territory by spraying, primarily during the mating season.

Each jackal species communicates through its own repertoire of calls. Golden jackals use a wide inventory of howls to locate one another. By howling together, a pair shows that there is a bond between them, and thus the choral howling can be considered a kind of betrothal.

[Image: golden-asiatic-jackal--canis-aureus-sakal.jpg]

Food Habits
Golden jackals consume 54% animal food and 46% plant food. They are opportunistic foragers with a very varied diet, which consists of young gazelles, rodents, (especially during winter), hares, ground birds and their eggs, reptiles, frogs, fish, insects and fruit. They take carrion on occasion.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
The golden jackal raids crops such as corn, sugarcane and watermelon. Individuals have also attacked Caracul sheep with such frequency that sheep-herders have had to make their pastures jackal-proof by enclosing them. Golden jackals may be involved in the spread of rabies; in 1979 two young children were attacked and killed by jackals.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Golden jackals play an important scavanging role by eating garbage and animal carrion around towns and villages. They benefit agriculture by preventing increases in the number of rodents and lagomorphs. They are sometimes hunted for their fur. Golden jackals that are hand-raised can be tamed and kept in houses. They become housebroken and behave much like a domesticated dog, except that they remain shy around strange people and will not allow themselves to be petted by them.


Conservation Status
IUCN Red List: Least concern.
CITES: Appendix III.
The golden jackal is prevalent and is not threatened.

Other Comments
Golden jackals live eight to nine years in the wild and up to sixteen in captivity. They have made a deep impression on people of the Middle East and play a significant role in many fables. They have the same reputation for slyness as the fox has in European fables.

Jackals are referred to repeatedly in the Bible, particularly in conjunction with descriptions of desolate regions.

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Canis_aureus.html
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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#2
darkhyena Wrote:Interactions with feral dogs, other canids and wildlife


Preliminary field data indicated that the relationship of the jackal with other canid species was that of a competitor. The wolves usually dominated the jackals and the jackals dominated the foxes. The range of jackals and wolves in Central and Northern Greece was almost mutually exclusive. In Fokida a jackal group abandoned its territory when a wolf pack of 4 established itself (unpublished data). In 3 cases during the 2000-01 jackal survey,wolves approached the jackal-calling stations at a quick trotting pace, presumably to chase off the jackals. According to Genov & Vassiliev (1989), Spassov (1989) and Krystufek & Tvrtkovic (1990) the wolf presence is an important limiting factor for the jackal distribution in the Balkan Peninsula. It seems that jackal population density is a factor that could greatly influence the presence of foxes. Although no actual observations of direct fox - jackal interactionswere made during our 3 year study, foxes in Fokida occurred permanently only in the fringes of the jackal territories. However, in the winter, a few individual foxes have been recorded within the jackal territories and in one case a fox was observed very close (ca. 250 m) to a jackal group of 4. In southern Peloponnese an increase of the fox populationwas observed in areas where the jackals have been decimated (Giannatos unpublisheddata). No foxes are present in Samos Island (Dimitropoulos et.al. 1998). In Israel where jackals and foxes co-exist, the jackals may kill or displace foxes (Macdonald 1987). In Nestos area, the foxes were absent from the high jackal density areas, while in the same areas, the wild cats (Felis silvestris) became rare when jackal population increased(Valkanis pers. comm., Giannatos pers. observation). In contrast, badgers shared the same hiding areas with jackals and used even the same day-cover locations. Dogs barked aggressively whenever jackal howling was heard and at close quarters some became strongly agitated. During the 2000-01 countrywide jackal survey, in many cases dog groups (3–7 individuals) approached the calling stations at a running manner, barking in a hostile way after the hearing of broadcasted jackal howls. The reaction of unleashed dogs in close quarters with jackals was to chase them away instantly. In few cases stray dogs were doing damages to small stock animals, which were attributed to jackals (Giannatos unpublished data). Besides direct competition, the dogs may transmit infectious diseases to small jackal population clusters, something that could lead to their elimination. The state veterinarian in Samos Island attributed a recent jackal decline in the island, to the Leismaniasis outbreak in the numerous stray dogs. The jackals that were recovered from road accidents at the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital (EKPAZ) proved to be much more sensitive to Erlichiosis than the stray dogs (Dragoumis, pers. comm.). Greece is considered a rabies – free country, with the last isolated incident recorded in 1987. In neighbouring countries according to the World Health Organisation (www.who-rabies-bulletin.org), rabies cases have been reported from northern Bulgaria, while in Turkey rabies is widespread withepidemic outbreaks. Albania was rabies -free until 2001 when one rabies incident was detected near the Yugoslavian borders. Since then no other rabies cases were reported from that country. The FYR of Macedonia was rabies-free at least until 2001, but there is no data since then. More to north, in the FR of Yugoslavia there were rabies incidents all over the country (WHO rabies bulletin1999, 2003).A disease outbreak could be detrimental to small isolated populations of jackals, whichare widespread in Greece or adjacent countries with limited jackal distribution. However,the vulnerability of jackal to rabies is a controversial matter. In Israel, the annual rabies cases for jackals were very low ranging between 0 and 10% as a percentage of the cases in all wild carnivores (Nemtzov & King 2002). This proportion remained low andstable even during a sylvatic rabies (wild animal rabies) outbreak, despite the very high density of jackals in the country. In contrast the same years, the percentage of rabid foxes was much higher ranging from 23% during the period of low sylvatic rabies cases to nearly 80% during rabies outbreak (Nemtzov & King 2002). In some areas hunters claim that the expansion of wild boars in the jackal habitat drove away the jackals from the usual daytime cover areas. It is possible, in areas with limitedc over availability that the wild boars did so, but the largest jackal population in NE Greece thrives in an area of high wild boar density. This indicates that the two species can live in the same area if there is enough space.
 
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[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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#3
Red Dog Wrote:
darkhyena Wrote:Interesting stuff Dark Hyena

Interactions with feral dogs, other canids and wildlife

 In Israel where jackals and foxes co-exist, the jackals may kill or displace foxes

Some more on the Israel situation & also excellent theories regarding relationships between canids - 

Behavioural responses of red foxes to an increase in the presence of golden jackals: a field experiment

"The golden jackal, Canis aureus, and the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, are two common canids in Israel. Although the two species have similar diets, the jackal is about three times larger than the red fox. The current evidence for interspecific competition between these two canids is circumstantial and indirect. In this study we aimed to measure experimentally the response of red foxes to increasing exposure to the presence of the golden jackal. Our field experiments comprised three stimuli: urine as a scent stimulus, a mounted specimen and urine as a static animal-image stimulus, and a caged pet animal as a live animal stimulus.
The treatment and control were placed near food trays, and the behaviour of foxes around these trays was documented by video recorders. In most cases, the presence of scent or cast of a golden jackal did not alter the behaviour of the foxes. However, foxes avoided the test arena when a live jackal was present. This finding provides strong evidence that red foxes fear jackals, and shows that foxes are more concerned when a live jackal is present. The possible implications of the observed fox behaviour for the understanding of large-scale competitive exclusion among canid species are discussed.

Interference competition, including killing or competitive exclusion of one species by another (generally the smaller by the larger), has been described for several canid guilds. For example, Arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, were excluded by red foxes (Elmhagen et al. 2002), red foxes by coyotes (Voigt & Earle 1983; Harrison et al. 1989), and coyotes by wolves (Thurber et al. 1992). Avoidance behaviour by smaller species seems to be common. For example, survival rates of coyotes in Alaska were higher where they avoided wolves (Thurber et al. 1992), and red foxes in Maine and Dakota were rarely predated upon by sympatric coyotes, apparently because of avoidance (Sargeant et al. 1987; Harrison et al. 1989). Indeed, interaction between two potentially competing species does not have to involve aggression, especially during periods of high food availability or when the competitors specialize on different foods (Theberge & Wedeles 1989; Paquet 1992; Gese et al. 1996).
The canid guild in Israel is composed of five species: the wolf, the golden jackal, Canis aureus, and three species of foxes, genus Vulpes. Dayan et al. (1992) found a constant size ratio in the carnassials of these species, and claimed that this ratio indicates interspecific competition. The golden jackal and the red fox are common canids in Israel, where they feed on a large variety of animal and plant food, as well as being commensal with people. Both species have been studied in Israel (Golani & Keller 1974;
Macdonald 1979a; Assa 1990) and elsewhere. They are known to use olfactory marking in their home ranges or territories, using faeces, urine or secretions from various skin glands (summarized in Mendelssohn & Yom-Tov 1999). The red fox is smaller than the golden jackal (mean body weight 2.6 and 8.5 kg, respectively), and when jackals became very abundant, population size of foxes decreased significantly in such areas, apparently because of exclusion by jackals (Ilani 1979; Mendelssohn & Yom-Tov 1999). However, only anecdotal observations of red foxes being chased by jackals are available (Ilani & Shalmon 1985; Macdonald 1987). A study of the diet of these two species in Hungary revealed no differences (Lanszki & Heltai 2002), and Kingdon (1997) claimed that in North Africa golden jackals are more numerous than red foxes, apparently because of the inferior position of the foxes in the food hierarchy.

We concluded, based on our field manipulations, that foxes are not concerned by the presence of jackals in their area (that is, by urine) but avoid direct contact with them. How is this tied into the process of competitive exclusion? Below we provide a novel hypothesis that attempts to combine individual behavioural response, productivity and interspecific interactions into a single theoretical framework that explains the mechanism behind competitive exclusion in canids.We have shown that the response to the stimulus treatments gradually increases, being weakest with scent, more profound when model and scent are provided, and extreme when a live animal is present. In other words, jackal scent caused minor anxiety in foxes, but a live jackal produced a severe reaction expressed as the complete avoidance of a very rich food patch. Kleptoparasitism has been suggested as the main mechanism enabling lions and hyaenas to exclude African hunting dogs and cheetahs from an area (Creel & Creel 1996; Gorman et al. 1998). In contrast, because small carnivores usually feed on widely scattered and small prey such as invertebrates, small vertebrates and fruit (Carbone et al. 1999), they consume prey on the spot or cache it. It is impractical to kleptoparasitize small prey items since the cost of such an effort is undoubtedly much higher than the gain. Hence, the mechanism of competitive exclusion between small canid species is still unclear. For example, exclusion of the Arctic fox by the red fox in Scandinavia may be achieved by predation on adults and juveniles of the smaller species (Polis et al. 1989; Tannerfeldt et al. 2002) and active monopolization of breeding dens (Frafjord 2003) and food patches (Hersteinsson & Macdonald 1992; Frafjord 2000).
Our results imply that one canid can be excluded by a larger species with no further aggression, after an initial stage of intraguild predation. In places where two competitive canid species coexist, selection favours the individuals of the smaller species that fear the larger species. Observations on canids being killed by a larger species are common (e.g. grey wolves and coyotes: Arjo & Pletscher 1999; coyotes and kit foxes, Vulpes velos: Ralls & White 1995; Cypher & Spencer 1998; red and arctic foxes: Tannerfeldt et al. 2002), but predation alone is not the cause of the complete local exclusion of one canid species by another. However, such interspecific predation eliminates the ‘bold’ individuals (i.e. those that get too close to the larger species and get killed) and leaves behind a population of ‘timid’ animals that fear the congener and avoid it. Studies on canid foraging behaviour and anecdotal observations on interspecific predation have shown that larger canids do not actively seek the smaller canid species (Thurber et al. 1992; Cypher & Spencer 1998; Clark et al. 2005). Most interspecific predation occurs around a carcass or at a favourable food patch. In a ‘timid’ population, appearance of a congener (i.e. the larger competitive species) at the food patches used by ‘timid’ individuals would cause them to avoid these areas and use less productive patches. This process requires no aggression from the larger competitor, only its presence. In our experiment, one pair of foxes completely avoided our arena after the introduction of the jackal model which shows that boldness varies between individuals within populations. The proposed process of competitive exclusion depends on productivity. In a rich environment, the smaller species can use less productive patches that are not visited by the larger congener; hence both species can coexist. However, in a poor environment suitable food patches are more limited. Avoidance of the larger species at the available food patches may mean eviction from that area and moving elsewhere. For example, red foxes that penetrated the lower tundra in Scandinavia might have initially been able to kill the ‘bold’ portion of the Arctic fox population, and the remaining ‘timid’ population may have moved to a higher elevation and decreased in number as a result of food deprivation. The outcome of such a process is the removal of the smaller species from a vast area with little effort (i.e. killing the boldest individuals) by the larger competitor. Who are the ‘timid’ and the ‘bold’ individuals in a population? Boldness can be genetically determined or related to age. In other words, intraguild predation may be directed largely towards the young and na€ýve, which are often the ‘bold’ individuals. Specific data on intraguild predation are required to support the above ideas.

Behavioural responses of red foxes to an increase in the presence of golden jackals: a field experiment

Red Dog Wrote:Two golden jackals kill young sambar in water. One of the two seems to do most of the work:


Red Dog Wrote:
Quote: From Taipan: Yeah, there would be some G/Jackals that could defeat a Coyote (they are rather close in many regards), but the majority of Coyotes would defeat the majority of Golden Jackals if stats like body size and bite force count for much.
Reddhole may know the average canine lengths for these two species. If so I hope he posts them.

From Reddhole: 

I have canine length and strength data for western coyotes and black-backed jackals. One male and one female were used for each species, provided specimens were available. Unfortunately, we do not know for sure if this was the case for these two species. See "CL" below. The figures are logarithmic, but the converted raw figures for upper canine length are as follows:

Coyote 1.98 cm
Black-backed jackal: 1.57 cm

The canine strength values are as follows (logarithmic) - higher means stronger canines:

Anterioposterior canine bending strength ("Sx") - Reflects upper canines ability to resist struggling prey mostly

Coyote: .010

Black-backed jackal: -.232

Mediolateral canine bending strength ("Sy") - Reflect upper canines ability to withstand force of bite more

Coyote: .216

Black-backed jackal: -0.014

However, the coyote skulls was likely larger as the average skull length was 16.37 cm vs. 14.09 cm for the black-backed jackal. 

[Image: VanValenburghCanineData001.jpg]

The following study measures total canine size (i.e. area) as a function of skull length. Bigger canines are highly correlated with big game hunting in wild canids vs. canids that take smaller prey. This is shown by "C1", which is a measure of the square root of canine size divided by condylbasal skull length. Larger numbers are found with wolves, AWDs, dholes and bush dogs. The figures are as follows:

Coyote: 0.40
Golden jackal: 0.38

The coyote also has stronger mechanical advantage of its jaw muscles, which means it has a stronger bite given the same amount of jaw muscles. This is shown by MAT and MAM below for the temporalis (more for powerful killing bite) and masseter (more for grabbing bite):

MAT:

Coyote: 0.245
Golden jackal: 0.242

MAM:

Coyote: 0.407
Golden Jackal: 0.383

However, the golden jackal has a slight advantage in jaw strength, which tends to correlate with bite force, around the carnassial:

Coyote: 0.48
Golden Jackal: 0.49

However, overall both species group closer together than with the big-game killing canids (i.e. wolves, dholes, AWDs, bush dogs).

MAM:

However, in general the coyote and jackal overlap

[Image: CanineMeasurementVanValkenburgh.jpg]

[Image: CanidSkullMorphMeasurements1.jpg]

[Image: CanidSkullMorphMeasurements2.jpg]

Canidae Wrote:A blog post on Golden Jackals with a photo series of 2 killing a young Sambar deer. Some other nice pics of behaviour and a good post :

[Image: 2.jpg]
[Image: 3.jpg]
[Image: 05.jpg]
[Image: 4.jpg]
[Image: 7.jpg]
[Image: 06.jpg]
[Image: 8.jpg]
[Image: 9.jpg]

http://ranthambhorediary.blogspot.co.uk/...ature.html

Sicilianu Wrote:Melanistic golden jackal discovered in Turkey
January 11, 2013 by retrieverman

[Image: melanistic-golden-jackal-and-mate.jpg?w=500&h=358]

Melanistic golden jackal and normal-colored mate.. Photo courtesy of Can Bilgin and Hüseyin  Ambarlı.                                                
Melanism in dogs, wolves, and coyotes has been a source of great interest to molecular biologists in recent years.

For example, it has been confirmed that black coyotes and black wolves in Italy and North America gained their black coloration through cross-breeding with domestic dogs.

But domestic dogs have two variants of melanism. The most common form– and the type found in Italian and North American wolves and coyotes– is inherited via dominant allele. But there is another form, which is related to the sable coloration, that is inherited via a recessive allele. This recessive black may have been indicated in at least one Russian wolf, but all modern black wolves that have been examined thus far have turned out to be dominant blacks that inherited their black coloration from the introgression of domestic dog genes.

However, a recent discovery of a black golden jackal in northeastern Turkey might be the first example of a melanism in an interfertile Canis species that did not originate in the domestic dog.

Between February 2009 and April 2010, a camera trap near the city of Artvin captured images of this black golden jackal and its normal-colored mate.

The documentation of this jackal appears in the journal Mammalia in December 2012, and the authors suggest that this jackal likely did not receive its black coloration from its ancestors crossing with domestic dogs.

Although golden jackals and domestic dogs are interfertile, cross-breeding between them in the wild has not been documented– though it certainly is possible. The black coloration in red foxes is entirely unrelated to any of the black coloration in domestic dogs, and it is likely that this black jackal is the result of an entirely different mutation that has not yet been documented.

Unfortunately, no physical samples from this jackal exist, so we cannot know for certain what genetic mechanism made this jackal black.

As far as I know, no further black golden jackals have been documented in the area, so this individual either left no offspring or it is inherited via a recessive allele– and thus different from the dominant black in wolves and coyotes.


http://retrieverman.net/2013/01/11/melan...in-turkey/




I could not find the paper itself. If someone finds it, I would appreciate it being passed along.

MightyKharza Wrote:
Quote:Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species

Highlights
•African and Eurasian golden jackals are genetically distinct lineages
•Divergence between lineages is concordant across multiple molecular markers
•Morphologic convergence is observed between African and Eurasian golden jackals
•African golden jackals merit recognition as a distinct species
Summary
The golden jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered a conspecific of jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East. However, two recent reports found that mitochondrial haplotypes of some African golden jackals aligned more closely to gray wolves (Canis lupus) [ 1, 2 ], which is surprising given the absence of gray wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species. Moreover, these results imply the existence of a previously unrecognized phylogenetically distinct species despite a long history of taxonomic work on African canids. To test the distinct-species hypothesis and understand the evolutionary history that would account for this puzzling result, we analyzed extensive genomic data including mitochondrial genome sequences, sequences from 20 autosomal loci (17 introns and 3 exon segments), microsatellite loci, X- and Y-linked zinc-finger protein gene (ZFX and ZFY) sequences, and whole-genome nuclear sequences in African and Eurasian golden jackals and gray wolves. Our results provide consistent and robust evidence that populations of golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia represent distinct monophyletic lineages separated for more than one million years, sufficient to merit formal recognition as different species: C. anthus (African golden wolf) and C. aureus (Eurasian golden jackal). Using morphologic data, we demonstrate a striking morphologic similarity between East African and Eurasian golden jackals, suggesting parallelism, which may have misled taxonomists and likely reflects uniquely intense interspecific competition in the East African carnivore guild. Our study shows how ecology can confound taxonomy if interspecific competition constrains size diversification.


http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abst...15)00787-3
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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#4
'Golden jackals' of East Africa are actually 'golden wolves'

Date: July 30, 2015
Source: Cell Press
Summary:
Despite their remarkably similar appearance, the 'golden jackals' of East Africa and Eurasia are actually two entirely different species. The discovery, based on DNA evidence, increases the overall biodiversity of the Canidae -- the group including dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals -- from 35 living species to 36.

[Image: 150730130727_1_900x600.jpg]
A golden jackal (Canis aureus) from Israel. Based on genomic results, the researchers suggest this animal, the Eurasian golden jackal, is distinct from Canis anthus, which they propose be referred to as the African golden wolf.

Despite their remarkably similar appearance, the "golden jackals" of East Africa and Eurasia are actually two entirely different species. The discovery, based on DNA evidence and reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 30, increases the overall biodiversity of the Canidae--the group including dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals--from 35 living species to 36.

"This represents the first discovery of a 'new' canid species in Africa in over 150 years," says Klaus-Peter Koepfli of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, DC.

The new study, led by Koepfli and Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles, was inspired by recent reports suggesting that the African golden jackal was actually a cryptic subspecies of gray wolf. Those studies were based on an analysis restricted to mitochondrial DNA, which is passed along via the maternal lineage.

To expand the DNA evidence in the new study, Wayne retrieved DNA samples of golden jackals collected two decades ago in Kenya from his laboratory freezers. Koepfli and Wayne also established collaborations with colleagues, who provided them with samples from golden jackals in other parts of Africa and Eurasia. That genome-wide DNA evidence told a different story of the canids' evolutionary past.

"To our surprise, the small, golden-like jackal from eastern African was actually a small variety of a new species, distinct from the gray wolf, that has a distribution across North and East Africa," Wayne says. The researchers have named this previously unrecognized species the African golden wolf.

Koepfli and Wayne suspect that zoologists had mistaken African and Eurasian golden jackals for the same species because of a high degree of similarity in their skull and tooth morphology. However, the genetic data supports the idea that they are in fact two separate lineages that have been evolving independently for at least a million years. In fact, the new canid family tree suggests that these two lineages aren't even closely related. The African species is more closely related to the lineage leading to gray wolves and coyotes than jackals, which explains their new designation as African golden wolves.

The findings come as a reminder that "even among well-known and widespread species such as golden jackals, there is the potential to discover hidden biodiversity," with the help of genomic evidence, Koepfli says. The researchers say they will continue to study the relationships among golden jackal and wolf lineages in Africa, Eurasia, and the Middle East.

Story Source: Cell Press. "'Golden jackals' of East Africa are actually 'golden wolves'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150730130727.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).




Journal Reference:
Klaus-Peter Koepfli, John Pollinger, Raquel Godinho, Jacqueline Robinson, Amanda Lea, Sarah Hendricks, Rena M. Schweizer, Olaf Thalmann, Pedro Silva, Zhenxin Fan, Andrey A. Yurchenko, Pavel Dobrynin, Alexey Makunin, James A. Cahill, Beth Shapiro, Francisco Álvares, José C. Brito, Eli Geffen, Jennifer A. Leonard, Kristofer M. Helgen, Warren E. Johnson, Stephen J. O’Brien, Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Robert K. Wayne. Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species. Current Biology, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060

Highlights
•African and Eurasian golden jackals are genetically distinct lineages
•Divergence between lineages is concordant across multiple molecular markers
•Morphologic convergence is observed between African and Eurasian golden jackals
•African golden jackals merit recognition as a distinct species

Summary
The golden jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered a conspecific of jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East. However, two recent reports found that mitochondrial haplotypes of some African golden jackals aligned more closely to gray wolves (Canis lupus), which is surprising given the absence of gray wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species. Moreover, these results imply the existence of a previously unrecognized phylogenetically distinct species despite a long history of taxonomic work on African canids. To test the distinct-species hypothesis and understand the evolutionary history that would account for this puzzling result, we analyzed extensive genomic data including mitochondrial genome sequences, sequences from 20 autosomal loci (17 introns and 3 exon segments), microsatellite loci, X- and Y-linked zinc-finger protein gene (ZFX and ZFY) sequences, and whole-genome nuclear sequences in African and Eurasian golden jackals and gray wolves. Our results provide consistent and robust evidence that populations of golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia represent distinct monophyletic lineages separated for more than one million years, sufficient to merit formal recognition as different species: C. anthus (African golden wolf) and C. aureus (Eurasian golden jackal). Using morphologic data, we demonstrate a striking morphologic similarity between East African and Eurasian golden jackals, suggesting parallelism, which may have misled taxonomists and likely reflects uniquely intense interspecific competition in the East African carnivore guild. Our study shows how ecology can confound taxonomy if interspecific competition constrains size diversification.

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http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)00787-3?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982215007873%3Fshowall%3Dtrue




Golden jackal: A new wolf species hiding in plain sight
A new species of wolf has been discovered in Africa after exhaustive DNA and morphological analyses revealed it is evolutionarily distinct from the Eurasian golden jackal, which it strongly resembles


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Same or different? The African golden wolf, Canis anthus, (left) and Eurasian golden jackal, C. aureus (right), were originally thought to be the same species, formerly known as the golden jackal.

Friday 31 July 2015 02.02 AEST Last modified on Friday 31 July 2015 02.39 AEST

The Canid family -- wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, domestic dogs and others -- are so familiar to us, and have been so intensively studied for so long that you might think that we know almost everything there is to know about them. But a paper published today in Current Biology belies that assumption. This paper describes the meticulous research conducted by an international team of experts who report a surprising discovery: a new species of wolf.

According to the authors, two golden jackal populations -- one in Eurasia and the other in Africa -- split more than one million years ago, which is sufficient to formally recognise each as separate species. Further, after exhaustive DNA analyses, the authors were surprised to learn that African golden jackals are more closely related to grey wolves, even though there are no grey wolves in Africa and even though grey wolves and African golden jackals look dramatically different. Adding to the confusion, African golden jackals are strikingly similar in appearance to their more distant relative, the Eurasian golden jackal. This strong physical similarity has long been the source of confusion over these animals’ taxonomy and evolutionary relationships.

As a result of this study, the authors propose that the African golden jackal be renamed as the African golden wolf, Canis anthus.

The evolutionary relationships of canids are poorly understood
The evolutionary relationships, or phylogenetics, of jackals have long been a mess, according to Adam Hartstone-Rose, an Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, who was not part of the study. Traditionally, most taxonomists have recognised three jackal species: the black-backed, side-striped and golden jackals -- all of which live in Africa, with the golden jackal also ranging throughout much of Eurasia.

“The three ‘species’ were considered close relatives based mostly on their similar body size and morphology”, explained Professor Hartstone-Rose in email.

“However, as the first molecular analyses of canids became available, it was obvious that ‘jackals’ are only similar based on amazing morphological convergences”, said Professor Hartstone-Rose. “The side-striped and black-backed species (historically called Canis adustus and C. mesomelas respectively) turn out to have split off of the stem of the large Canis group before the highly derived hunting dogs (Lycaon) and dholes (Cuon).”

Two earlier studies reported that golden jackals found in Africa are more closely related to grey wolves than to the golden jackals found in Eurasia (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016385 & doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740). These studies inspired Klaus Koepfli, a Research Associate and Visiting Scientist at the Center for Species Survival (CSS), which is part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, to investigate more thoroughly.

“Those studies had only used one kind of genetic marker, sequences from the mitochondrial genome, which are only inherited through the maternal lineage”, explained Dr Koepfli in email.

“[E]volutionary history is best verified through concordance among genetic markers from across the genome that are inherited maternally, paternally and bi-parentally and that evolve at different rates to capture different stages of divergence. Therefore, we wanted to test the conclusions of the two previous studies by adding data from the nuclear genome”, said Dr Koepfli.

African and Eurasian golden jackals are genetically distinct
The researchers started by generating new sequence data (sampling sites are indicated with red dots in Figure 1B) for canid cytochrome b, a gene in the mitochondrial genome, and combined them with sequences from the two previously published studies (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016385 & doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740). Their analysis of these data incorporated a total of 104 cytochrome b sequences (1,140 bp each) to reconstruct a phylogeny (Figure 1A), for golden jackals from both Africa and Eurasia:

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Figure1. Phylogenetic Tree (A) Based on Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Sequences & Sampling Localities (B) of Golden Jackals in This Study. Maximum-likelihood phylogram of 104 cytochrome b sequences (1,140bp). Asterisks nodes indicate bootstrap support ≥80% (1,000 pseudoreplicates) and ≥0.95 posterior probability (Bayesian inference). Arrows: Canis spp. from Egypt. African wolf is Canis lupus lupaster. Outgroup: Sechuran fox, Lycalopex sechurae. Photo credits: L, golden jackal from Senegal (CIBIO/Raquel Godinho); C, Mexican gray wolf (Tom & Pat Leeson); R, golden jackal from Israel (Yaki Zander). Composite: Klaus-Peter Koepfli & John Pollinger et al./Current Biology 2015

“Consistent with two previous studies also based on mitochondrial sequences, we find that golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia are NOT each other’s closest relative as we would expect if they were the same species”, said Dr Koepfli. 

This mitochondrial gene tree indicates that the African golden jackal is more closely related to the Eurasian gray wolf, and is distantly related to the Eurasian golden jackal (with up to 6.7 percent divergence).

“In fact, golden jackals from different localities in Africa share a more recent common ancestry with gray wolves”, said Dr Koepfli.

The team then conducted another analysis using a more comprehensive array of molecular markers that are inherited from both parents. All of these DNA markers consisted of fragments of 20 chromosomal, or nuclear, genes sampled from throughout the genome. These markers consistently showed that golden jackals are separated into two well-supported clades, as seen in this time tree, or chronogram (Figure 2):

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Figure 2. Chronogram Estimated from Concatenated Analysis of 20 Nuclear Gene Pieces Using a Relaxed Molecular Clock. Analysis of 13,727bp sequence from 17 intron- & 3 exon-containing pieces. 4 individuals each for gray wolf, golden jackal (Africa) & golden jackal (Eurasia); 2 individuals for coyote. Outgroups: red fox, Vulpes vulpes, & gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus. Time (bottom): million years ago (mya), time (top): epochs. Photo credits: top, Mexican gray wolf (Tom & Pat Leeson); middle, golden jackal from Senegal (CIBIO/Raquel Godinho); bottom, golden jackal from Israel (Yaki Zander). Composite: Klaus-Peter Koepfli & John Pollinger et al./Current Biology 2015

In addition to showing the family relationships between the species examined, this chronogram shows an estimate of the sequence of those speciation events, or lineage splits, in the order in which they occurred and when.

“We found that the African golden jackal lineage split from gray wolves plus coyotes about 1.3 million years ago. The Eurasian golden jackal lineage, however, split about 600,000 years prior to that”, said Dr Koepfli.

Not only does the chromosomal (nuclear) DNA data phylogeny suggest a close relationship between African golden jackals and grey wolves, but if you look carefully, you will also notice that it indicates that the Eurasian golden jackal split away from from the grey wolf long before grey wolves and coyotes diverged.

“If African and Eurasian golden jackals belonged to the same species, we would expect these two groups to be more closely related (share common ancestry)”, said Dr Koepfli.

Multiple DNA markers show African and Eurasian golden jackals are different
The researchers continued their investigation by analysing additional molecular markers: sex chromosome sequences (Figure 3A); tiny variations in the DNA sequence known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; pronounced “snips”) sampled from across the genome in representative individuals (one golden jackal from Kenya, one golden jackal from Israel and three grey wolves from different localities in Eurasia) (Figure 3B); and in microsatellites (long tracts of non-coding DNA comprised of short tandem repeating sequences), which are DNA markers that represent different samples of the genome from SNPs and which evolve differently than SNPs (Figure 3D):

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Figure3. Patterns of Genetic Differentiation and Admixture of African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Based on (A) Sex Chromosome Sequences, (B) Genome-wide SNP Data, © Detectable admixture (gene flow) between lineages and (D) Microsatellite Multilocus Genotypes. Illustration: Klaus-Peter Koepfli & John Pollinger et al./Current Biology 2015

Once again, every genetic marker that the team examined consistently showed that the two golden jackal lineages are genetically distinct and are following independent evolutionary trajectories -- which are several of the main criteria for defining a species.

“The consistency of divergence between the two jackal lineages across the suite of molecular markers used in our study provides compelling evidence that the two lineages represent different species”, said Dr Koepfli.

The research team also tested genome-wide SNPs data to see whether African and Eurasian golden jackals show evidence of hybridisation with each other, or with wolves and dogs (Figure 3C).

“[W]e did detect signals of hybridization between the gray wolf/domestic dog lineage and the Eurasian golden jackal and African golden wolf lineages. However, that signal was much stronger in the Eurasian golden jackal lineage”, said Dr Koepfli.

“The individual we used for the genome-wide data came from Israel, where these golden jackals overlap with gray wolves and (feral) domestic dogs, so finding a strong signal of past hybridization is not too surprising”, said Dr Koepfli.

But African and Eurasian golden jackals look very very similar
Despite their distinct genetic ancestries, African and Eurasian golden jackals look so much alike that most scientists classified them as the same species. Thus, the research team wanted to see if their genetic findings were reflected in the skull and tooth morphologies of African and Eurasian golden jackals. They analysed 45 different skull and tooth characteristics from more than 140 golden jackals from five different geographic regions across Africa and Eurasia (east Africa = red circles; north African = green circles; Middle East = blue triangles; Eurasia = grey triangles; central and west Africa = grey circles; Figure 4A):

As you can see above, there are no distinct clusters of data, as you would expect if there were significant species-based differences in skull and tooth morphologies.

Analyses of these morphometric data revealed that despite their genetic distance, the golden jackals have a strong resemblance to each other, as revealed by these overlapping data clusters (east Africa = red circles; north African = green circles; Middle East = blue triangles; Figure 4B). These data certainly explain the difficulty in recognising golden jackals as separate species:

But why do these two species look so much alike that they fooled almost everyone for hundreds of years?

“Since the two jackal lineages are not closely related, this morphological similarity may be due to parallel evolution, driven by the ecological circumstances in which these animals live, especially with regards to the competition from other carnivore species”, said Dr Koepfli.

Parallel evolution is the development of a similar trait in related, but distinct, species that share a common ancestor. This differs from convergent evolution, where species with different evolutionary histories independently evolve traits that are similar in form or function (such as wings in flying insects, bats and birds) due to similar ecological demands.

Jackals may have more surprises in store for us
Since they have such an extensive range, golden jackals may comprise yet more cryptic species. Already, Dr Koepfli and his team are collecting preliminary genetic data from some populations of Eurasian golden jackals throughout Eurasia and they plan to do the same for the African golden jackals.

“Some of the data we present in the Current Biology paper suggests that the Kenyan population is genetically distinct across both mitochondrial and nuclear markers”, said Dr Koepfli.

“However, we need more comprehensive geographic sampling to better understand the population genetics and phylogeography of the two lineages.”

The golden jackals are only distantly related to the other two African jackal species, even though they are all placed into the same genus.

“In fact, phylogenetic results of nuclear DNA sequences shows that black-backed and side-striped jackals are each other’s closest relative and very distant from Eurasian golden jackals and African golden wolves”, said Dr Koepfli.

“All these are currently classified in the genus Canis, but this needs to be changed to reflect the distinct position of the clade that includes black-backed and side-striped jackals. This is something we’re currently working on.”

African golden jackals renamed African golden wolves
This painstaking work shines a powerful light on the convoluted relationship between ecology and evolution, and reveals how ecology can lead to confusion amongst even the most astute experts when it comes to identifying species. Further, these findings demonstrate why it is critical to analyse living species from all perspectives -- anatomic, behavioral, ecological and genetic -- in order to truly understand the evolution of those species.

“This study demonstrates convincingly, using multiple lines of genomic evidence, that African and Eurasian golden jackals represent distinct lineages deserving of species-level separation”, said vertebrate paleontologist Jack Tseng from the American Museum of Natural History, who was not part of this study.

“The fascinating conclusion of parallelism in the African and Eurasian jackals gained from considering both molecular and anatomical evidence attests to the success of dogs such as Canis in colonizing and adapting to new environments”, said Dr Tseng.

“Within eastern Africa where I do most of my work, all canids (not just golden jackals) are relatively rare in the fossil record. Therefore, this study provides us with an intriguing glimpse of carnivore evolution that we might not otherwise know about”, said vertebrate paleontologist, Margaret Lewis, a Professor of Biology at Stockton University, who was not part of this study.

This research also has important conservation implications. For example, as established here, one widespread species may actually be several cryptic species.

“What if your two new species represented vastly different percentages of the former species? One of the new species could be doing relatively well while the other population is on the verge of extinction”, said Professor Lewis in email.

Currently, golden jackals (Eurasian and African) are listed by the IUCN as of Least Concern, but this assessment was made in 2008, before any of the recent genetic work on this group.

“While they are considered to be fairly common (particularly in Asia), it will be interesting to see if African golden wolves and Eurasian golden jackals will each retain this ranking in the next assessment. Jackals in general are declining as traditional land use practices disappear and are replaced by industrialization and urbanization. All jackals and jackal-like animals, not just African golden wolves, play a critical role in the ecology of their respective habitats”, said Professor Lewis.

“Hopefully, this research will raise awareness of the importance of jackals and similar species around the world before it is too late”, said Professor Lewis.

Taken together, these remarkable findings provide strong and compelling evidence that the African golden jackal represents the first discovery of a canid species in Africa that is new to science in over 150 years.

“We propose that the African golden jackal be re-named the African golden wolf and the scientific name be Canis anthus,” said Dr Koepfli.

This scientific name was first proposed in 1820 by Frédéric Cuvier in his description of this species.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2015/jul/30/golden-jackal-a-new-wolf-species-hiding-in-plain-sight 
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#5
Mesopredator Wrote:[Image: jakhals-waargenomen-veluwe.jpg]

Jackal in Dutchland. I'm very excited with the prospect of a jackal population in the Netherlands.
Think it could fit better as the wolf, though northern Dutchland has potential for wolves.

We'll see!

MightyKharza Wrote:
Quote:First golden jackals arrived in France
by NICK HUISMAN onDECEMBER 16, 2017

We know by now, that the golden jackal is an effective coloniser. Only last week, records from Austria confirmed multiple individuals, which could be one of the first jackal families in the country. Yesterday there was more good news, this time from France. The NGO Ferus reports that over the last months, camera traps have photographed a golden jackal twice in France. The University of Geneva confirmed the identification, the NGO expects results from the ONCFS soon.

Swiss origin?
While the authorities do not reveal the exact location, the cameras photographed the jackals in the Chablais region. This region lies in the Western Alps, close to Switzerland. It is well possible that the individuals originated from Switzerland. There, people have recorded the jackals for the past years on multiple occasions. Currently, the golden jackal is not a protected species is France. However, it is not listed as game. Hunting golden jackals is therefore not possible. As jackals prefer warmer regions without much snow, it is only a matter of time before we will find jackals in other parts of France.
https://wilderness-society.org/first-gol...ed-france/
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