San Joaquin kit foxes Vulpes macrotis mutica, photographed by B. Peterson.

Belongs within: Canidae.

The genus Vulpes contains the standard foxes, found in Eurasia, Africa and North America. Foxes may be solitary or live in small groups of a male and up to five females (Macdonald 1984). The fennec fox V. zerda of northern Africa has sometimes been classified in its own genus Fennecus, but despite its distinctive large ears it is probably not much more divergent overall than other Vulpes species. The most widespread species is the red fox Vulpes vulpes, found across almost the entire Holarctic region (and introduced to Australia), though the North American population is sometimes treated as a separate species V. fulva.

See also: Fantastic Mr Fox.

Characters (from Macdonald 1984): Muzzle pointed; ears triangular and erect; tail long and bushy; skull relatively flattened. Tail tip often differently coloured from remainder of body; black triangular face marks between eyes and nose. Frontal bones forming slightly indented or dished brows.

    |--V. alopecoides M84
    |--V. bengalensis M84
    |--V. cana M84
    |--V. chama M84
    |--V. chikushanensis DW04
    |--V. corsac M84
    |--V. ferrilata M84
    |--V. flavescens T66
    |--V. kiyomasai Kishida & Mori 1929 TYM08
    |--V. macrotis MB86
    |    |--V. m. macrotis MB86
    |    |--V. m. devia BP87
    |    |--V. m. mutica BP87
    |    `--V. m. zinseri Benson 1938 MB86
    |--V. niloticus T66
    |--V. pallida M84
    |--V. pattisoni S78
    |--V. pulcher S78
    |--V. rueppelli M84
    |--V. velox (Say 1823) B75
    |    |--V. v. velox M84
    |    `--V. v. hebes M84
    |--V. vulgaris T66
    |--V. vulpes Linnaeus 1758 M76
    |    |--V. v. vulpes B75
    |    |--V. v. fulva B75
    |    `--V. v. regalis Merriam 1900 B75
    `--V. zerda [=Fennecus zerda] M84

Inorganic: Fennecus zerda minilorientalus Okamura 1987 O87

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B75] Bowles, J. B. 1975. Distribution and biogeography of mammals of Iowa. Special Publications, The Museum, Texas Tech University 9: 1–184.

[BP87] Burton, J. A., & B. Pearson. 1987. Collins Guide to the Rare Mammals of the World. Collins: London.

[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8–14.

[M84] Macdonald, D. W. 1984. Foxes. In: Macdonald, D. (ed.) All the World’s Animals: Carnivores pp. 60–67. Torstar Books Inc.: New York.

[M76] Masui, M. 1976. Nihon no Doobutsu. Kogakukan: Tokyo.

[MB86] Matson, J. O. & R. H. Baker. 1986. Mammals of Zacatecas. Special Publications, Museum of Texas Tech University 24: 1–88.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[S78] Savage, R. J. G. 1978. Carnivora. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 249–267. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[TYM08] Tennent, W. J., M. Yasuda & K. Morimoto. 2008. Lansania Journal of arachnology and zoology—a rare and obscure Japanese natural history journal. Archives of Natural History 35 (2): 252–280.

[T66] Tristram, H. B. 1866. Report on the mammals of Palestine. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 84–93.

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