East African Cape Jackal (Canis mesomelas schmidti)

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  1.   1.  Common Names
  2.   2.  'Souls Range
  3.   3.  Appearance
  4.   4.  Other Characteristics
    1.   4.1  Behavior
    2.   4.2  Survival
  5.   5.  More Images
  6.   6.  Citations

Jackal Subspecies Map. See also: world species map.

1.  Common Names

East African Jackal (subspecies), Black-Backed Jackal, Silver-Backed Jackal, Red Jackal

2.  'Souls Range

Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, Somaliland, Kenya, Somalia, small parts of Sudan.

3.  Appearance

This subspecies of the Black-Backed Jackal is separated from the southern range of its species by nearly 800 miles; though they are certainly similar, there are key differences. This subspecies is more carnivorous and thus is slightly larger -- weight ranges for these canines is between 15 - 30 lbs (6.8 kg - 13.6 kg). The schmidti subspecies' teeth are also shaped differently. There is also less sexual dimorphism (males and females weighing different on average) in schmidti than the nominative subspecies.

Canis mesomelas schmidti, from Vearl Brown

4.  Other Characteristics

4.1  Behavior

The East African Jackal is not known to howl. Another unique feature of this subspecies is the range in which it inhabits. There are two other similarly sized canines occupying the same range: Golden Jackals and Side-Striped Jackals. All three of these subspecies weigh roughly the same amount, whereas “[o]ther sympatric canid species generally diverge in body size by a factor of 2 or more.” 2 The schmidti subspecies is far more likely to encounter hostile cousin species than its southern compatriots. The schmidti subspecies was once found as far north as Egypt; the arrival of the Golden Jackal caused their range to shift southward.

4.2  Survival

The Luperci virus spread throughout Africa from Europe; this northern subspecies experienced it long before Canis mesomelas mesomelas. Of course, the arrival of Luperci only served to increase the competition between the three subspecies of jackals -- though Golden Jackals hold the more humanized areas of Africa to the north, including the powerful city of Cairo, the Black-Backed Jackals surely do recall the past injustices of being forced from their original territory, much like the coyotes of the Americas recall and resent their persecution by wolves.

5.  More Images

East African Jackal, lipkee@Flickr East African Jackal, WikimediaCommons East African Jackal, WikimediaCommons East African Jackal, Šárka DuBois East African Jackal, Šárka DuBois

6.  Citations

  1. Wikipedia.org
  2. science.smith.edu