Is it a fox? Is it a wolf? Though its name or fur coloring may imply it, the maned wolf is actually neither. It belongs to a genus all of its own, Chrysocyon, the full binomial being Chrysocyon brachyurus. The maned wolf stands about 3ft tall, with long graceful legs suited the grasslands, savannas, and wetlands it inhabits in South America. Their large ears help them locate small animals, fruits, and insects hidden in the grasses. The jaws and teeth of the maned are small and ill-suited to hunt large animals and livestock.
The maned wolf is not a pack animal, instead they prefer the solitary life. The one exception is their mate, with which they maintain a monogamous lifestyle . The maned wolf does not howl, rather it emits a loud, roar-bark to warn others to stay away or to locate it's mate. They also mark their territory with their strong smelling urine.
Like many forest-dwelling animals, the maned wolf is victim to habitat loss and poaching and is listed as near threatened by the IUCN.
Today, we release the genome assembly for the maned wolf. This is another $1K genome assembly, with a contig n50 = 91KB and a scaffold n50 = 61MB. For procedure details see Dudchenko et al., 2018 and our Methods page.
Many thanks to Seis, the maned wolf from the Houston Zoo for donating the sample to make this assembly possible! Check out this post featuring Seis about unconventional pollinators by the Houston Zoo.
This is our 9th Canidae in the collection, after the red fox, several dog breeds including the German shepherd, golden retriever and the Basenji, the African wild dog and 3 dingo assemblies (here, here and here)!
P.S.: If you were wondering, like we did, were's the mane, it is on the neck. It stands erect when the maned wolf scents danger!