"Eastern Coy-Wolves" | General Discussion

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"Eastern Coy-Wolves" | General Discussion

Post by BlackWarrior » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:02 am

Dave Mance III says:
As any biologist will tell you, different species of animal can't breed with one another. Well, they can, but nature has a way of jumping in and nipping such cross pollination in the bud. For example, a horse can mate with a donkey, but the resulting honkey (OK, mule) should be sterile. Cattalo (cow/buffalo crosses) produce sterile males. Whitetailed deer/blacktailed deer crosses produce sterile females that presumably have gray tails.

But as an evolutionary biology student might tell you, there always seems to be a confusing exception to these so-called rules. Around here, that exception is the eastern coyote (Canis latrans), a species that can freely hybridize with both dogs and wolves and produce fertile offspring.

Coyotes didn't used to live here. Historically, wolves ruled the forests in the Northeast, and coyotes were something that lived out west. Habitat loss and human exploitation wiped out the wolves in the mid-1800s, and for 100 years that was pretty much that.

But 60 or 70 years ago, a strange little wolflike creature started showing up in our region. At first, people didn't know what to make of it. It sort of looked like a western coyote, but it was about 30 percent bigger. And its color palette was all over the map. Trappers were bringing in creatures that were all black, or blond, or reddish. Some looked like German-shepherds, which led to the colloquial term coy-dog. But this new

animal's skull didn't look like a dog's or a coy-dog's, it looked more like a cross between a western coyote and a wolf. Today, DNA evidence is proving that that's exactly what the eastern coyote is.

Several years ago, coyote hunters and trappers from Ohio to Maine contributed nearly 700 coyote tissue samples to a coyote genetics study led by Dr. Roland Kays at the New York State Museum. Every northeastern animal except one in the study contained a combination of wolf-like and coyote-like genes -- only one sample was dog-like. What's more, the scientists were able to determine that the wolf DNA was typical of wolves from eastern Canada and the Great Lakes region. The genetic patterns in the coyotes from Ohio, however, have no wolf-like influences and closely resemble western coyotes.

By comparing the DNA analysis to historical records, Kays developed a theory that the coyotes in the northeast arrived in two separate waves. The northern group emigrated east through Ontario, picking up wolf genes along the way. This hybridization led to larger, faster bodies and more wolf-like feeding habits. (Western coyotes focus on rabbits and rodents for the meat portion of their omnivorous diet; the eastern coyote eats more deer and fewer mice.) The second group emigrated east from Indiana through Ohio and Pennsylvania. The coyotes in the Adirondacks, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine trace their roots back to the northern front, while animals in western New York and Pennsylvania represent the purer western coyote strains that are moving east. In that area, the northern coyotes are mixing with the western coyotes, and with each passing breeding season, the cards are getting more and more jumbled.

Because coyotes are turning out to be such a genetic hodgepodge, the joke in mammology circles is that in deference to the gray wolf's scientific name, Canis lupus, the coyote should be renamed Canis soupus. Kays says that it's anyone's guess as to how the evolutionary history of the eastern coyote will play out. He doesn't know if the two groups recognize each other as being different. He doesn't know if one set of genes will prove more successful than the other. Maybe evolution will favor the genetics from the northern wave, as the bigger bodies make the animals better deer hunters. Or maybe the purer, smaller western-type genes that came from the south and east will prove more successful in our fragmented, increasingly suburban landscape.

One thing we are sure of is that in 60 years time, coyotes have firmly established themselves as residents in just about every corner of the Northeast. They've also done a great job of turning conventional biological wisdom on its head.
Source ---> http://www.benningtonbanner.com/opinion/ci_19268353

(Wasn't too sure whether to post here or in [Wolf Conversation] because it mentions the new breed of wolf as well as the evolving of coyotes.
Last edited by BlackWarrior on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by Oceansong-Direwolf » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:04 pm

Very interesting. Thank you for posting, BlackWarrior!
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by BlackWarrior » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:33 pm

I saw a documentary on this and just so happened to find a matching article. Its quite interesting isn't it? Wolf-coyotes?
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by Alpha Female » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:14 pm

That sounds very interesting. I've heard of coy-wolves before, but it seems like their populations are getting bigger.
Thanks for sharing BlackWarrior!
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by -Sheeba » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:31 pm

Ah, a subject I know very much about. Here in Newfoundland, the eastern coywolf is very common and are often seen traveling in large packs. They also seem to favor hunting caribou, and the numbers of caribou herds have decresed significantly since the coywolves have become more common. My grandfather actually trapped a three-legged coywolf that ended up in the paper, which was over 100 pounds. Very interesting article you have found here, BlackWarrior, thank you for sharing it! :)
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by ObsidianSpade » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:58 pm

Quite interesting indeed, I find coyote-wolf hybrids to be very enjoyable to read about. (although maybe not to have as a neighbor) x3. Actually, most news relating to animals and nature fascinates me, so I'm not surprised! Thank you for the article!
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by BlackWarrior » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:19 pm

-Sheeba wrote:Ah, a subject I know very much about. Here in Newfoundland, the eastern coywolf is very common and are often seen traveling in large packs. They also seem to favor hunting caribou, and the numbers of caribou herds have decresed significantly since the coywolves have become more common. My grandfather actually trapped a three-legged coywolf that ended up in the paper, which was over 100 pounds. Very interesting article you have found here, BlackWarrior, thank you for sharing it! :)
Thanks for sharing that Sheeba! It seems that coy-wolves are becoming more and more known. As for your story, its very interesting as well! ^^
And thank you everyone for showing interest. I thought it was something worth sharing as wolf hybrids etc. are seen more and more.
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by failwolf56 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:54 pm

-Sheeba wrote:Ah, a subject I know very much about. Here in Newfoundland, the eastern coywolf is very common and are often seen traveling in large packs. They also seem to favor hunting caribou, and the numbers of caribou herds have decresed significantly since the coywolves have become more common. My grandfather actually trapped a three-legged coywolf that ended up in the paper, which was over 100 pounds. Very interesting article you have found here, BlackWarrior, thank you for sharing it! :)
Wow, that's awesome, what you grandfather did. Does he have experience trapping coywolves, or was this a one-time thing? Also, did you get to see the coywolf up close?

Thanks for sharing Blackwarrior^^
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by -Sheeba » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:13 am

You're quite welcomed ^_^ And my grandfather actually traps different animals as a hobby, so he's trapped many coywolves (both before and after) besides this particular one, along with foxes, rabbits and lynx. And I did get the opportunity to see the coywolf very close, I was able to touch it and get a really good view of it. Very interesting animals, I think, even if they've caused trouble with local pets, and even a few humans (there have been a few cases of coywolves around here attacking humans, though only a handful).
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by BlackWarrior » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:48 am

-Sheeba wrote:You're quite welcomed ^_^ And my grandfather actually traps different animals as a hobby, so he's trapped many coywolves (both before and after) besides this particular one, along with foxes, rabbits and lynx. And I did get the opportunity to see the coywolf very close, I was able to touch it and get a really good view of it. Very interesting animals, I think, even if they've caused trouble with local pets, and even a few humans (there have been a few cases of coywolves around here attacking humans, though only a handful).
Wow more interesting info and stories shared by -Sheeba! ;)
Thanks again. Do they look like what the article and stories decribe them as? Mangy, and very large looking coyotes?
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by -Sheeba » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:20 pm

You're welcome! I'm happy to share any information about these creatures, since I do seem to know so much about them first-handed and find them quite interesting. And they do look like what the article describes them as. Quite large, mangy looking (though usually only in the summertime when they're shedding their coats) and they have a very 'wolfy' appearance, though still maintain some of their coyote features, including the pointed muzzle and large ears.
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by failwolf56 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:29 pm

-Sheeba wrote:You're welcome! I'm happy to share any information about these creatures, since I do seem to know so much about them first-handed and find them quite interesting. And they do look like what the article describes them as. Quite large, mangy looking (though usually only in the summertime when they're shedding their coats) and they have a very 'wolfy' appearance, though still maintain some of their coyote features, including the pointed muzzle and large ears.

Mhh, yes, thank you for sharing the information. Also, how exactly do they hunt? The article didn't really say much about it, do they hunt alone, like a coyote, or together. Or is it sort of a mix, depending on the circumstances.
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by -Sheeba » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:50 pm

It's somewhat of a mix. They tend to hunt in packs as wolves do. The largest pack I believe that has been reported was a pack of 9. However, some seem to prefer to hunt alone, but most form packs together, usually only small ones, to hunt larger animals, especially the caribou here.
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by failwolf56 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:05 pm

-Sheeba wrote:It's somewhat of a mix. They tend to hunt in packs as wolves do. The largest pack I believe that has been reported was a pack of 9. However, some seem to prefer to hunt alone, but most form packs together, usually only small ones, to hunt larger animals, especially the caribou here.
Okay, good to know. Really, thanks for sharing and thanks for the extra information. I didn't even know these guys existed before this. C:
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Re: "Eastern Coy-Wolves"

Post by BlackWarrior » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Here's an article I found on coywolves.. quite a spectacular creature they are..

"Coywolves" Are New Beasts in the East
Adult eastern coyotes, like this one snapped by a camera trap in upstate New York, weigh 32 to 44 pounds. Photo: New York State Museum, Albany
Image Found: --> http://blogs.ngm.com/.a/6a00e0098226918 ... 970b-500wi


Hiking in a Nova Scotia park last fall, a young woman was killed by two canids. They were bigger than coyotes and smaller than wolves, with skulls and jaws unlike either species’. Some eastern Canadians and Americans had glimpsed “coywolves” before, but the grisly incident conjured fresh questions. What exactly are they? And should we be worried?

Roland Kays of New York State Museum can answer the first one. In the 1920s, he says, coyotes from the west pushed into the Great Lakes region and mated with wolves from the east. The result wasn’t a new species but, according to recent DNA analysis, a hybrid that’s more coyote than wolf, with the street smarts of the former and the hunting capabilities of the latter. No one knows their current numbers, but eastern coyotes (the favored term) form families, seek food at night, and can prey on pets and livestock—the main reason for their recent run-ins with humans.

As for worrying, Cape Cod wildlife specialist Peter Trull says there’s no need to; the Nova Scotia case was an anomaly. “Coyotes are wild animals, and people have been bitten by them,” he says. “But generally they avoid humans.” —Jeremy Berlin

Source --> http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2010/ ... -east.html
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