Short-eared Dog

Short-eared Dog

name = Short-eared DogMSW3 Wozencraft | id = 14000693]
status = DD
status_system = iucn2.3
trend = unknown
status_ref = IUCN2006|assessors=Sillero-Zubiri & Hoffmann|year=2004|id=6924|title=Atelocynus microtis|downloaded=09 May 2006 Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as data deficient.]

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
familia = Canidae
genus = "Atelocynus"
genus_authority = Cabrera, 1940
species = "A. microtis"
binomial = "Atelocynus microtis"
binomial_authority = (Sclater, 1883)

The Short-eared Dog ("Atelocynus microtis"), also known as the Short-eared Fox or the Short-eared Zorro, is a canid species endemic to the Amazonian basin. This is the only species assigned to the genus "Atelocynus".

Other names

It has many names in the indigenoous langues where it is endemic, such as: "cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta" in "Portuguese", "El zorro de oreja corta" in "Spanish", "nomensarixi" in "Chiquitano" people, and "uálaca" in "Yucana".

Evolution and systematics

The Short-eared Dog's evolution is similar to other canids and placental mammals of South America. During creation of Isthmus of Panama in the latter part the Tertiary (about 2.5 million years ago in the Pliocene), dogs migrated from North America to the southern continent. The Short-eared Dog's ancestors adapted to life in tropical rainforests, developing the requisite morphological and anatomical features. The latest systematics classifies it as a species in the Canini tribe, and its closest modern relative is probably the Crab-eating Fox ("Cerdocyon thous ").Fact|date=April 2008 It has 74 (2 x 36 autosomes + one pair of sex chromosomes) chromosomes. []

Two subspecies of this canid are recognized:
*"Atelocynus microtis microtis"
*"Atelocynus microtis sclateri"

Occurrence and environment

The Short-eared Dog can be found in the Amazon rainforest region of South America (in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and possible Venezuela). It lives in various parts of the rainforest environment, preferring areas with little human disturbance. It lives in both lowland forests know as "Selva Amazónica" and terra firme forest, as well as in swamp forest, stands of bamboo, and partly Cloud forest.Fact|date=April 2008


The Short-eared Dog has short and slender limbs with short and rounded ears. The Short-eared Dog has a distinctive fox-like muzzle and bushy tail. It ranges from dark to reddish-grey, but can also be nearly navy blue, coffee brown, dark grey or chestnut-grey, and the coat is short, with thick and bristly fur.Fact|date=April 2008 Its paws are partly webbed, owing to its partly aquatic habitat. [ [ ADW: Atelocynus microtis: Information ] ]

It moves with feline lightness unparalleled among the other canids. It has a somewhat narrow chest, with dark colour variation on thorax merging to brighter, more reddish tones on the abdominal side of the body. This species possesses a large elongated head and long canine teeth, protruding even when its muzzle is closed. Its back often has a dark streak, while a brighter stain is on its tail. Like all canids, it has 42 teeth.

Typical height at the shoulder is 25-30 cm. Its head nad body length is about 100 cm, with a tail of about 30-35 cm. It weighs about 9-10 kg.


This wild dog is mainly a carnivore, with fish, insects, and small mammals making up the majority of its diet. An investigation led in Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru into the proportions of different kinds of food in this animal's diet produced the following results: fish 28%, insects 17%, small mammals 13%, various fruits 10%, crabs 10%, frogs 4%, reptiles 3%, birds 10%. [ [ Lioncrusher's Domain - Small Eared Zorro (Atelocynus microtis) facts and pictures ] ]

Reproduction and behaviour

This species has some unique behaviours not typical to other canids. Females of this species are about almost 1/3 larger than males. The excited male sprays a musk produced by the tail glands. It prefers a solitary lifestyle, in forest areas. It avoids humans in the natural environment. Agitated males will raise the hairs on its back. [ ebcc ] ]

Lifespan and gestation period are unknown, although it is assumed that sexual maturity is reached at about one year of age.

Threats, survival and ecological concerns

The Short-eared Dog competes for food with the Jaguar, the Cougar, the Ocelot, the Margay and the Giant Otter, and compete for territory with the Bush Dog.

Feral dogs pose a prominent threat to the population of the Short-eared Dog, as they proliferate the spread of diseases such as canine distemper and rabies to the wild population. Humans also contribute to the extermination of the Short-eared Dog via aggrandizement of the species' natural habitat and the destruction of tropical rainforests. Scientists still have little knowledge on its ecology.

tatus of Conservation

The Short-eared Dog is currently considered data deficient by IUCN.


Two subspecies are recognized:
*"Atelocynus microtis microtis", Sclater, 1882.
*"Atelocynus microtis sclateri", J. A. Allen, 1905


*M.R.P Leite Pitman and R.S.R. Williams. Short-eared dog;"Atelocynus microtis" (Sclater, 1883).C-S. Zubiri, M. Hoffmann and D. W. Macdonald. "Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs - 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan". IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom, 2004.
*Alderton, David. "Foxes, Wolves and Wild Dogs of the World". Blandford Press: United Kingdom, 1998.
*Nowak, Ronald. "Walker's Carnivores of the World". The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 2005.

External links

* [ IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group: Small Eared Zorro]
* [ Pro-carnivoros]
* [ Ecology and conservation of the short-eared dog by WildCru]
* [ Studies with a tame short-eared dog by Maria Renata Leite]
* [ Atelocynus microtis Research and Conservation by M. R. Pitman Leite]

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