Is the Red Wolf a Listable Unit Under the US Endangered Species Act?
Advanced Search
Select up to three search categories and corresponding keywords using the fields to the right. Refer to the Help section for more detailed instructions.

Search our Collections & Repository

All these words:

For very narrow results

This exact word or phrase:

When looking for a specific result

Any of these words:

Best used for discovery & interchangable words

None of these words:

Recommended to be used in conjunction with other fields



Publication Date Range:


Document Data


Document Type:






Clear All

Query Builder

Query box

Clear All

For additional assistance using the Custom Query please check out our Help Page


Is the Red Wolf a Listable Unit Under the US Endangered Species Act?

Filetype[PDF-4.94 MB]


  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Heredity
  • Description:
    Defining units that can be afforded legal protection is a crucial, albeit challenging, step in conservation planning. As we illustrate with a case study of the red wolf (Canis rufus) from the southeastern United States, this step is especially complex when the evolutionary history of the focal taxon is uncertain. The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) allows listing of species, subspecies, or Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) of vertebrates. Red wolves were listed as an endangered species in 1973, and their status remains precarious. However, some recent genetic studies suggest that red wolves are part of a small wolf species (C. lycaon) specialized for heavily forested habitats of eastern North America, whereas other authors suggest that red wolves arose, perhaps within the last ~400 years, through hybridization between gray wolves (C. lupus) and coyotes (C. latrans). Using published genetic, morphological, behavioral, and ecological data, we evaluated whether each evolutionary hypothesis would lead to a listable unit for red wolves. Although the potential hybrid origin of red wolves, combined with abundant evidence for recent hybridization with coyotes, raises questions about status as a separate species or subspecies, we conclude that under any proposed evolutionary scenario red wolves meet both criteria to be considered a DPS: they are Discrete compared with other conspecific populations, and they are Significant to the taxon to which they belong. As population-level units can qualify for legal protection under endangered-species legislation in many countries throughout the world, this general approach could potentially be applied more broadly.
  • Source:
    J Hered. 2018 Jun 27;109(5):585-597.
  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Document Type:
  • Rights Information:
    CC BY-NC
  • Compliance:
  • Main Document Checksum:
  • File Type:

Supporting Files

  • No Additional Files

More +

You May Also Like

Checkout today's featured content at

Version 3.26