Mountain Coyote (Canis latrans lestes)

Coyote Subspecies Map. North American Subspecies Map. See also: world species map.

1.  Common Names

Mountain Coyote

2.  'Souls Range

British Columbia and Alberta to Utah and Nevada in the United States and Canada.

3.  Appearance

This subspecies boasts an extreme color variation thanks to the differences in diet and altitude throughout the population; individuals can range from dark gray to an almost golden hue, though they generally lack the reddish coloration found in their more southerly neighbours. These coyotes tend to be larger than their desert and plains neighbors thanks to their habitat. They are easily distinguished by their slightly enlarged teeth.

This coyote, captured in Yellowstone, is most likely Canis latrans lestes, from jimnix@flickr

4.  Other Characteristics

4.1  Social Structure

These coyotes enjoy forming packs, and typically live in small groups of under ten individuals. Though they often form a hierarchy which can be likened to that of the gray wolf, the coyote's social structure is typically less stable and more prone to upheaval than that of its larger cousin. The Mountain Coyote is highly adaptable, capable of sustaining itself in the upper regions of the Rocky Mountains as well as the lowlands surrounding them.

4.2  Survival

The Mountain Coyote inhabit mountainous regions, as one may have inferred from their name. These coyotes compete directly with various subspecies of wolves. However, this competition existed prior to 1988, and thus coyotes in this area were better able to adapt than their close neighbors, the Mearns Coyote. Their ability to exist on a variety of food sources has kept their numbers quite strong.

4.3  Luperci

Some of these canines are indeed Luperci; however, humanized lifestyles are uncommon throughout this subspecies. They prefer their feral lifestyles and their Lupus forms almost universally. Even shifting is rare in these populations; they almost unanimously seem to prefer their four-legged lifestyles. Despite this, they are not particularly underexposed to human culture. It has entered their region from the south and the west, slowly infiltrating the feral lifestyles preferred by these coyotes.

5.  More Images

Mountain Coyote in Western Nevada; from lacomj@Flickr Mountain Coyote in Reno, Nevada; from jaymiles@Flickr Mountain Coyote in Yellowstone; from dapperscoo@Flickr Mountain Coyote in Jasper Nat'l Park, Alberta; from federicochi@Flickr

6.  Citations

  1. United States National Park Service
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