Acta Theriologica

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 333–338 | Cite as

The systematic status of the Italian wolfCanis lupus

  • Ronald M. Nowak
  • Nicholas E. (Brusco) Federoff


In the past, the gray wolfCanis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, has been recognized in Italy as either the subspecieslupus oritalicus. It has also been postulated that this population has undergone introgression from the domestic dogCanis familiaris. In order to clarify these issues, multistatistical analyses were made of 10 skull measurements of 34 full grown male wolves from the Italian Peninsula, 91 other male Eurasian wolves, and 20 domestic dogs. The analyses, together with other morphological evidence and prior genetic research, support recognition of the Italian wolf as a separate subspecies,Canis lupus italicus. The same evidence indicates that the subspecies has not been affected through hybridization with the domestic dog.

Key words

Canis lupus systematics taxonomy morphology hybridization Italy 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald M. Nowak
    • 1
  • Nicholas E. (Brusco) Federoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Falls ChurchUSA
  2. 2.Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterLaurelUSA

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