[Taxacom] barcode of life (coyotes)

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Mon Jul 19 21:06:57 CDT 2010


Hi Steve,
      The dog is very often considered just a subspecies of gray wolf,
and thus Canis lupus familiaris.  Therefore, synonymizing coyotes and
dogs would really be a question of whether gray wolves and coyotes
should treated as a single species.  This is rarely done, and if one did
this, he would mostly like need to synonymize them with the golden
jackal (Canis aureus) as well.    
      Therefore, I tend to follow the majority view in this case,
although I have seriously considered also splitting off the Eastern
Wolf/red wolf (or as I prefer "Greater Coyote").  Some have suggested
that the red wolf is actually a hybrid population (hybrid swarm?) of
gray wolf/coyote intermediates (a bit like the Centropyge hybrids that
were discussed recently).  If so, perhaps synonymizing coyotes and gray
wolves might make sense.  I'm just not sure many biologists would buy
the idea though, since coyotes and grey wolves don't seem to interbreed
nearly as readily as those two "species"/"subspecies" of Centropyge.   
      So I presently see gray wolves, coyotes, and golden jackals, as a
very widespread superspecies that has divided into three separate
species (semispecies, if you will).  Whether I will also advocate
recognizing the red wolf ("Greater Coyote") as a separate species, I am
not yet sure.
             ---------Cheers,
                             Ken





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