Wolf with dholes

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GeoTerraTestudo

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Just thought I'd share this photo with all you canid fans out there. It's a rare sighting of a wolf hanging out with dholes!

thb4ad7bd0e72f1f1901536.jpg


http://www.conservationindia.org/gallery/dhole-and-indian-wolf-debrigarh-odisha
 

mctlong

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Interesting. Do you know if the two species can cross-breed?
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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mctlong said:
Interesting. Do you know if the two species can cross-breed?

They actually can't. Wolves and domestic dogs are the same species (Canis lupus), so they can form fertile crosses. Both can hybridize with their next closest relative, the coyote (C. latrans), although that usually (but not always) produces young with reduced fertility. They can also hybridize with their next closest relative, the golden jackal (C. aureus), but that usually produces sterile offspring (again, there are exceptions). However, the dhole (Cuon alpinus) has been placed in a different genus because it is not closely related to any of the above species, and cannot hybridize with them. It seems that dholes are simply willing to work with other canids (dogs, wolves, jackals) in temporary, mutually beneficial partnerships, even though they cannot breed with them. Pretty amazing.

As for canid phylogeny, here's one of my favorite papers out there on the subject:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7069/full/nature04338.html

Figure 10 shows the genetic relationships among the different members of the family Canidae. As you can see, dholes are not in the same clade (group) as dogs, wolves, coyotes, and golden jackals:

nature04338f102.jpg


http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7069/fig_tab/nature04338_F10.html
 
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