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Short-eared Dog (Atelocynus microtis)

  • Short-eared Dog (Atelocynus microtis)

    Common Name/s: Short-eared Dog  
    Scientific name: Atelocynus microtis
    Brazilian common name/s: Cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)

    Body length (cm): (72–100) a Tail (cm):  (25-35) a Diet: omnivorosb
    Weight (kg): (9–10) a Height (cm): 35.6 a Home range: 
    Litter size:
      Gestation (days):  Longevity (years): 9b
    Social structure: Solitary or breeding pairsb
    Activity pattern: Diurnal and nocturnalb, c

    a  (Nowak 1999), b (Leite-Pitman & Williams 2004), c (Gómez et al. 2005)

    Physical description
    This canid has very short ears with an elongated head. The coat is generally a dark gray colouration, with a lighter reddish belly and slightly darker tail, however various colour patterns have been observed. It is the least known of the Brazilian wild canids and is rarely seen in its natural environment.

    Habitat and Ecology
    It occupies areas of tropical rainforest and occurs in the Amazon basin of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador Peru and possibly Venezuela. Although widely distributed it appears to occur at low densities throughout its range and the absence of observations from large areas suggests that its distribution is not continuous (Leite-Pitman & Williams 2004).
    It is often associated with rivers and the partial interdigital membrane on its paws suggests that they are partially aquatic (Berta 1986) and it has been observed swimming after paca (Defler & Santacruz 1994). They are generally solitary however they have been observed hunting in pairs (Leite-Pitman & Williams 2004).
    The diet of Short-eared Dogs consists of small (rodents) to medium sized (e.g. paca) mammals, fish, shellfish, fruits, insects, birds and reptiles (Defler & Santacruz 1994; Peres 1991).

    Threats and Conservation
    Habitat loss is probably the major threat to this species. Results from Amazonian forest fragments suggest that Short-eared dogs require large (greater than 10 000 ha) to have at least a 40% chance of occurring and that they are unlikely to persist outside of continuous forest areas (Michalski & Peres 2005; Michalski 2010). The additional threat posed by disease transmitted by domestic animals remains unstudied. They are classified by IBAMA as threatened with extinction.

    Online links
    IUCN Canid Specialist Group -

    The world"s chief body of scientific and practical expertise on the status and conservation of all canid species

    Canid News –

    Free online peer reviewed publications published by the IUCN Canid Specialist Group

    Berta, A. (1986). Atelocynus microtis. Mammalian Species, 256, 1-3.

    Defler, T. R., & Santacruz, A. (1994). A capture of and some notes on Atelocynus microtis (Sclater, 1883)(Carnivora: Canidae) in the Colombian Amazon. Trianea, 5, 417-419.

    Gómez, H., Wallace, R. B., Ayala, G., & Tejada, R. (2005). Dry season activity periods of some Amazonian mammals. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 40, 91 — 95.

    Leite-Pitman, M. R. P., & Williams, R. S. R. (2004). The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis: Sclater 1883). In C. Sillero-Zubiri, M. Hoffmann & D. W. Macdonald (Eds.), Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (pp. 26-31). Gland / Cambrigde:  IUCN.

    Michalski, F. (2010). The bush dog Speothos venaticus and short-eared dog Atelocynus microtis in a fragmented landscape in southern Amazonia. Oryx, 44, 300-303.

    Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2005). Anthropogenic determinants of primate and carnivore local extinctions in a fragmented forest landscape of southern Amazonia. Biological Conservation, 124, 383-396.

    Nowak, R. (1999). Walker"s Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Peres, C. A. (1991). Observations on hunting by small-eared (Atelocynus microtis) and bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) in central-western Amazonia. Mammalia, 55, 635-639.


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