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Are coywolves a new species? © Getty Images

Are coywolves a new species?

Published: 29th March, 2017 at 14:00
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Coyotes and gray wolves in North America have been able to interbreed, producing hybrid super predator pups commonly referred to as the ‘coywolf’.

Asked by: Liz Russell, Bromley

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Creating a new species is not as easy as it may appear on the surface. DNA testing tells us that the fashionably named ‘coy wolf’ or, more amusingly, 'woyote' is in fact just a variation of a coyote living across eastern Canada and the US.

These adaptive ‘super predators’ carry genes from the coyote, wolf and domestic dog that differ in ratio depending on geographic location. Throughout the last century, deforestation and farming activities caused interbreeding between these biologically similar animals resulting in the evolution of Canis latrans var. – a successful canine mix, but not a genetically distinct species. Yet!


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