Wolf World Item # 243
Vol. 18 (1937) 9 pp.
An early attempt to delineate new subspecies of the North American gray wolf and red wolf, based on museum specimens. Though gray wolf classification has since changed substantially, this work is still of some historical interest.
World of Wolves
The Wolves of North America
The wolves of North America have remained very imperfectly known until the present time, owing no doubt to the limited material for study contained in museum collections. Wolves have become extinct over vast areas, including the eastern United States, but have persisted in some of the wilder, more remote regions, especially along the backbone of the continent.The specimens that have accumulated, largely in connection with predatory animal control, now afford a fairly satisfactory basis for determining specific and subspecific relationships....
In considering the names of North American wolves, Miller showed that Canis lycaon Schreber must stand for the animal occurring in eastern Canada. The name was based by Schreber on Buffon's description and figure of a "loup noir," a female, captured in Canada when very young, kept chained, and taken alive to Paris by a French naval officer....
Canis rufus Audubon and Bachman, usually regarded as a wolf and included here, exhibits a departure from the true wolves, and in cranial and dental characters approaches the coyotes....In describing the animal, Audubon and Bachman quoted an account of its occurrence 15 miles west of Austin, Texas, and for greater precision that place is hereby fixed upon as the type locality....
Canis lupus labradorius subsp. nov.
Type--From vicinity of Fort Chimo, Quebec, Canada, probably female, adult, skull only, collected by Lucien M. Turner in 1882 or 1883.
Distribution--Northern Quebec; limits of range undetermined.
General characters--Size medium; color varying from "dark somewhat grizzly gray to almost white." Similar in general to Canis lupus lycaon of eastern Canada, but larger; color apparently lighter; cranial details distinctive. Differing from Canis lupus tundrarum, of northern Alaska, in decidedly smaller size....
Remarks--Canis l. labradorius is based on only 5 skulls from the region of the type locality. The new form appears to require close comparison only with lycaon of the forested region of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. No specimens of the wolves recently described by Pocock as Canis lupus arctos from Melville Island, Arctic America, and Canis lupus orion from Cape York, northwest Greenland, are available for comparison, but identity with either is very unlikely, owing to geographic remoteness.
Canis lupus ligoni subsp. nov.
Alexander Archipelago Wolf
Type--From head of Duncan Canal, Kupreanof Island, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by J. Stokley Ligon, November 7, 1922.
Distribution--Alexander Archipelago and doubtless adjacent mainland of southeastern Alaska.
General characters--A dark-colored subspecies of medium size. Similar in general to Canis lupus gigas of southwestern Washington, but somewhat larger; ratio of blackish to normally colored individuals higher; upper parts in normally colored examples similarly overlaid with black, but usually less suffused with buff; skull more elongated and differing in detail. Much smaller than Canis lupus pambasileus of the Mount McKinley region, Alaska, or Canis lupus occidentalis of the Fort Simpson region (Simpson near mouth of Liard River on current maps), Mackenzie. Similar to Canis lupus crassodon of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, but differs in cranial details, notably the smaller auditory bullae.
Color--Type (winter pelage, November): Short pelage on top of head a mixture of black and white, producing a grizzled effect; upper parts from nape to rump pale buff heavily overlaid with cinnamon buff, paling gradually to near pinkish buff on feet; upper surface of muzzle cinnamon buffy; ears rich tawny, mixed with black; under parts in general buffy white; tail above about like back, becoming buffy below and deep black all around at tip.
Specimens from Zarembo and Kuiu islands, closely adjoining the type locality, present two distinct color phases -- one which may be regarded as normal, and the other predominantly black. Four of the five skins available from Zarembo Island are in the blackish phase. In the latter the muzzle and feet usually are nearly pure black, but in one a mixture of black and white or gray includes the entire body in a combination suggesting the peculiar color of the glacier bear....
Remarks--The wolf of the Alexander Archipelago...appears to be more closely allied to gigas than to its huge northern neighbors, pambasileus or occidentalis, or to the other insular form, crassodon, of Vancouver Island.
Specimens examined--Total number, 27, all from Alaska as follows: Baker Island, 2; Kuiu Island, 2; Kupreanof Island (type locality), 7 (1 skin only); Prince of Wales Island, 8 (6 skulls only); Wrangell 3 (1 skin only); Zarembo Island, 5.
Canis lupus youngi subsp. nov.
Type--From Harts Draw, north slope of Blue Mountains, 20 miles northwest of Monticello, San Juan County,. Utah. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by Bert B. Turner, December 11, 1916.
Distribution--Formerly southeastern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Nevada, Utah, western and central Colorado, northwestern Arizona (north of Grand Canyon), and northwestern New Mexico. Now restricted mainly to northwestern Colorado.
General characters--A rather light-colored subspecies of medium size. Resembling Canis lupus nubilis of Nebraska, but larger; upper parts more heavily overlaid with black and usually more suffused with buff; skull larger.Similar to Canis lupus gigas of southwestern Washington, but upper parts usually less heavily overlaid with black and suffused with lighter buff; frontal profile rising less steeply from rostrum. Differs from Canis lupus baileyi of the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua in decidedly larger size, lighter coloration, and cranial details, especially the broader, less depressed rostrum.
Color--Type (winter pelage, December): Short pelage on top of head a mixture of black and light buff; upper parts from nape to rump near warm buff moderately overlaid with black, becoming purer buff along sides; outer surfaces of legs warm buff, paling gradually to light buff on feet; upper surface of muzzle light cinnamon buffy, finely mixed with black; ears ochraceous buff, with a blackish admixture near tips; black-tipped hairs, becoming light buffy below, and a mixture of black and white all around at extreme tip. Specimens from West Creek and Piceance, Rio Blanco County, and Glade Park, Mesa County, western Colorado, vary in coloration but are regarded as nearly typical. In some the upper parts are more profusely overlaid with black than in the type, and in others the undertone is lighter and lacks the buffy suffusion....
Remarks--Canis l. youngi is the wolf of the southern part of the Rocky Mountains and the high adjacent plains, displacing nubilis west of the prairie region of Nebraska and Kansas. This new form is based on more than 150 skins and skulls from within its general range as outlined. It is named for Stanley P. Young, under whose direction of predatory animal control many of the specimens were taken.
Canis lupus irremotus subsp. nov.
Type--From Red Lodge, Carbon County, southwestern Montana. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by M.E. Martin, April 19, 1916.
Distribution--Northern Rocky Mountain region, and high adjoining plains, from southwestern Wyoming north through western Montana and eastern Idaho at least to Lethbridge, Alberta.
General characters--A light-colored subspecies of medium to rather large size, with narrow but flattened frontal region. Similar in size to Canis lupus youngi of the more southern Rocky Mountain region, but whiter, the upper parts less heavily overlaid with black; skull differs in detail, especially in the narrowness of the frontal region. Size larger and color whiter than in Canis lupus nubilis of Nebraska, or in Canis lupus gigas of southwestern Washington, and differs from both in cranial features, including the relative narrowness of the frontal region. Differs from Canis lupus occidentalis of Mackenzie in decidedly smaller size.
Color--Type (winter pelage, April): Short pelage on top of head light buffy white, the hairs faintly tipped with black; upper parts from nape to rump near light buff sparingly overlaid with black, becoming nearly white on sides and limbs; ears and upper surface of muzzle light buffy; under parts in general more or less soiled white; tail above light buffy, thinly and inconspicuously overlaid with black, light buffy below tip, which is a mixture of buff and black all around....
Remarks--Canis l. irremotus is based on more than 30 specimens, chiefly skins with skulls from Montana and Idaho, but the range of the subspecies extends northward along the backbone of the continent to undetermined limits, probably meeting that of C.l. occidentalis. Specimens from northwestern Wyoming are somewhat intermediate between irremotus and youngi. On the east irremotus passed into nubilis, the somewhat smaller prairie wolf now probably extinct.
Canis lupus monstrabilis subsp. nov.
Texas Gray Wolf
Type--From 10 miles south of Rankin, Upton County, Texas. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by W.F. De Long, September 3, 1915.
Distribution--Southern and western Texas and northeastern Mexico.
General characters--A rather dark-colored animal of medium size. Resembles Canis lupus baileyi of the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua but much larger and usually grayer, less strongly inclining toward buffy or tawny along flanks and on outer surfaces of the limbs. Similar in size to Canis lupus nubilis of Nebraska, and Canis [lupus] youngi of the southern Rocky Mountains, but usually darker than either; pelage thinner and coarser; cranial characters, especially the more highly arched frontal region, distinctive.
Color--Type (summer pelage, September): Middle and sides of face a mixture of black and gray, becoming nearly clear cinnamon buff rather abruptly on top of head; changing to light ochraceous buff where the black hairs thin out along sides; outer surfaces of legs light ochraceous buff, paling gradually to light buff on feet; a few dark hairs in a line along external surface of forearm; upper surface of muzzle cinnamon buffy; ears near ochraceous tawny, varied by a few admized black hairs; chin and edges of lip blackish; throat white, the chest and inguinal region nearly naked; tail above black, mixed with gray, the black predominating, white below to near tip, which is black all around. Other specimens from the type locality vary to nearly white, there being only a trace of the buffy element and the black being reduced to a few inconspicuous hairs along the back and upper surface of the tail....
Remarks--Canis l. monstrabilis formerly intergraded toward the north with nubilis. Two skulls from the Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma, appear to be intermediate, but are more properly referable to nubilis. On the west, in New Mexico, monstrabilis intergraded with youngi, and farther to the southwest with baileyi. It's range meets that of the Texas red wolf (Canis rufus rufus) in the central part of the state, but the two are not closely allied. It is distinguished externally from the red wolf by decidedly larger size and more robust form. Compared with that of the red wolf, the skull is much more massive and more highly arched. The dentition is simpler, the upper carnassial has a smaller (often obsolete) antero-internal cusp, and the large upper molar shows less prominent cusp development on the internal lobe. The posterior upper molars are relatively smaller than in rufus.
Specimens examined--Total number, 25, as follows: Texas: Big Lake, Reagan County, 1; Kimble County, 1 (skull only); Llano, 1; Monahans, 1 (skull only); Nueces River, Edwards County, 1 (skull only); Rankin (type locality, 10 miles south), 3; Rankin (Harris Ranch, 18 miles southeast, 6 ; Ozona (N.H. Ranch, 25 miles west), 10; Tamaulipas: Matamoros, 1 (skull only).
Canis lupus mogollonensis subsp. nov.
Mogollon Mountain Wolf
Type--From S.A. Creek, 10 miles northwest of Luna, Catron County, New Mexico. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by Bart Burnam, July 1, 1916.
Distribution--Mogollon Plateau region of central of central Arizona, and east through the Mogollon Mountains to the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico.
General characters--A rather small, usually dark-colored subspecies. Similar in general to Canis lupus youngi of the Rocky Mountain region to the northward, but smaller and usually darker in color. Decidedly larger and usually lighter in color than Canis lupus baileyi of the Sierra Madre of Mexico. Closely allied to Canis lupus monstrabilis of Texas, but smaller and with distinctive cranial details.
Color--Type (worn summer pelage, July): Short pelage on middle of face a mixture of light ochraceous buff and black, becoming ochraceous tawny on top of head; upper parts from nape to rump cinnamon buff, rather heavily overlaid with black, becoming purer cinnamon buff on shoulders and along sides owing to thinning of black hairs; outer sides of legs near cinnamon buff, paling to near light ochraceous buff on feet; upper surface of muzzle nearly uniform cinnamon buff, paling to near light ochraceous buff on feet; upper surface of muzzle nearly uniform cinnamon buff; ears ochraceous tawny, mixed with black; throat white; under side of neck white, thinly mixed with black; chest and abdominal region soiled white; tail above about like back, soiled white below on basal two-thirds, becoming cinnamon buff subterminally, and black mixed with white all around at extreme tip. A September specimen from the same locality is similar but somewhat lighter in general tone. A winter example from 20 miles northwest of Chloride, New Mexico, is grayer and approaches the more northern wolves in color....
Remarks--About 120 specimens from the Mogollon Mountain region of New Mexico and westward along the Mogollon Plateau in Arziona are referred to the new subspecies, C.l. mogollonensis. This form, now nearly if not quite extinct, is somewhat intermediate in characters as well as in geographic position between youngi and the much smaller animal, baileyi, which extends north from the Sierra Madre of Mexico into southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. It combines characters that seem to warrant the segregation of a regional subspecies.
Canis rufus gregoryi subsp. nov.
Mississippi Valley Wolf
Type--From Macks Bayou, 3 miles east of Tensas River, 18 miles southwest of Tallulah, Madison County, Louisiana. Male adult, skin and skull, collected by B.V. Liddy, April 25, 1905.
Distribution--Lower Mississippi River basin, mainly the western side, in southeastern Missouri, Arkansas, southeastern Oklahoma, eastern Texas, and Louisiana.
General characters--A large but slender form of a small species. Closely allied to Canis rufus rufus of Texas, but decidedly larger and grayer, less tawny. Similar in size and color to Canis rufus floridanus of Florida, but skull more slender; dentition much lighter.
Color--Type (worn pelage, April): Middle and sides of face mixed black and gray, the combination changing to black and cinnamon buff on top of head; upper parts from nape to rump light buff, heavily mixed or overlaid with black; outer surfaces of legs between cinnamon and cinnamon buff, becoming paler on feet; a conspicuous black line along external surface of forearm; muzzle cinnamon buffy above; ears near cinnamon brown, mixed with black; lips, chin, and throat, white; under side of neck buffy grayish; rest of under parts dull white; tail above similar to back, most of the black-tipped hairs evidently worn off, light buffy below. An adult female from near the type locality is somewhat richer, inclining more toward tawny on muzzle, top of head, and outer sides of limbs....
Remarks--More than 150 skins and skulls from the lower part of the Mississippi River Valley, referred to C.r. gregoryi, represent a still living form connecting typical rufus and floridanus, both of which now may be extinct. A specimen from Cherokee, Colbert County, northwestern Alabama, is somewhat intermediate, but in heavy dentition it is nearer floridanus. I take pleasure in naming this subspecies for Tappan Gregory, the author of "The Black Wolf of the Tensas," in recognition of his contribution to our knowledge of the life history of this animal....
LIST OF SPECIES AND SUBSPECIES OF WOLVES
Canis lupus lycaon Schreber. Vicinity of Quebec, Quebec.
Canis lupus labradorius Goldman. Vicinity of Fort Chimo, Quebec, Canada.
Canis lupus tundrarum Miller. Point Barrow, Alaska. (Syn.--Canis lupus-albus Sabine. Fort Enterprise, Mackenzie, Canada.)
Canis lupus pambasileus Elliot. Susitna River, region of Mount McKinley, Alaska.
Canis lupus occidentalis Richardson. Simpson, near mouth of Liard River, Mackenzie. (Syn.--Canis lupus grissus Sabine. Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.)
Canis lupus ligoni Goldman. Head of Duncan Canal, Kupreanof Island, Alaska.
Canis lupus crassodon Hall. Tahsis Canal, Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Canis lupus gigas Townsend. Vancouver, Clark County, Washington.
Canis lupus irremotus Goldman. Red Lodge, Carbon County, Montana.
Canis lupus nubilis Say. Engineer Cantonment, near Blair, Washington County, Nebraska. (Syn.--Canis variabilis Wied. Fort Clark, near Stanton, Mercer County, North Dakota.
Canis lupus youngi Goldman. Harts Draw, 20 miles northwest of Monticello, San Juan County, Utah.
Canis lupus mogollonensis Goldman. S.A. Creek, 10 miles northwest of Luna, Catron County, New Mexico.
Canis lupus monstrabilis Goldman. Ten miles south of Rankin, Upton County, Texas.
Canis lupus baileyi Nelson and Goldman. Colonia Garcia, 60 miles southwest of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Canis lupus arctos Pocock. Melville Island, Arctic America.
Canis lupus orion Pocock. Cape York, Greenland.
Canis rufus rufus Audubon and Bachman. Fifteen miles west of Austin, Texas. (Syn.--Canis frustror Woodhouse. About 100 miles west of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.)
Canis rufus gregoryi Goldman. Macks Bayou, 3 miles east of Tensas River, 18 miles southwest of Tallulah, Madison County, Louisiana.
Canis rufus floridanus Miller. Horse Landing, about 12 miles south of Palatka, Putnam County, Florida.