Fox (Canidae family)
Twelve species belong to the monophyletic group of "true foxes" of the genus Vulpes. Approximately 25 other current or extinct species are part of the paraphyletic group of South American foxes or the peripheral group, which consists of the bat fox, the grey fox and the island fox.
Foxes live on all continents except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread fox species is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with about 47 recognised subspecies. The global distribution of the foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, have contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. Fox hunting with dog packs, long an established activity in Europe, especially in the British Isles, has been exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
Comparative illustration of skulls of a real fox (left) and a grey fox (right), with different temporal ridges and subangular lobes indicated
Within Canidae, DNA analysis results show several phylogenetic divisions:
- Fox-like dogs, which include the fox (Vulpes velox), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), cable fox (Vulpes chama), arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and fenugreek (Vulpes zerda).
- Wolf-like dogs (genus Canis, Cuon and Lycaon) include the dog (Canis lupus familiaris), grey wolf (Canis lupus), red wolf (Canis rufus), eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), coyote (Canis latrans), Golden Jackal (Canis aureus), Wolf-eye (Canis simensis), Black Jackal (Canis mesomelas), Striped Jackal (Canis adustus), Wild Asian Dog (Cuon alpinus), and Mabeco (Lycaon pictus).
- South American dogs, including the bush dog (Speothos venaticus), field fox (Lycalopex uetulus), bush dog (Cerdocyon thous) and maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus).
- Several monotypic taxons, including the bat fox (Otocyon megalotis), grey fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides).
- Crying - Done right after birth. It occurs at a high rate when the puppies are hungry and when the body temperature is low. Crying stimulates the mother to take care of her children; it also stimulates the male fox to take care of his mate and the cubs.
- Ganido - Done about 19 days later. The crying of the puppies turns into childish barking, ganido, which occurs strongly during play.
- Explosive call - At the age of about one month, the puppies can emit an explosive call that has the objective of threatening intruders or other puppies; an acute howl.
- Combative call - In adults, the explosive call becomes an open-mouthed combative call during any conflict; a sharper bark.
- Rosnado - An indication of an adult fox to its young to feed or to go to the adult's place.
- Barking - Adult foxes warn against intruders and in barking defense.