gray wolf is the largest living canine species . gray wolfs are found from eurasia to north america . they are the apex predators in their range with only tigers , grizzly bear and polar bear posing a threat. gray wolf sizes are subjected to bergmanns rule with wolfs from north america and europe reaching an average weight of 37 kg while the arabian wolf being much smaller at 25 kg while large wolf exceeding 50 kg are common in alaska , canada and north eastern russia . gray wolfs are social animals usually living in a group of mated pair and their adult offspring .gray wolf are generally grouped into several subspecies among which indian wolf (exluding arabian wolf) and tibetan wolf (including himalayan wolf) occupy's more basal position with the closely related african golden wolf may have evolved from a more ancient lineage then the holarctic wolfs. among the holarctic wolfs italian wolfs is also considered distinct sharing no ancestry with dog it likely descented from the large ice age wolf of pleistocene europe.
pleistocene[edit | edit source]
Canines first evolved in north america from where they spread to eurasia where the first wolfs emerged .the gray wolf likely evolved from the small canid canis mosbachensis .wolf likely became important carnivores with the spread of mammoths steps but was much at home in wooded forest , In pleistocene eurasia step lion and cave hyena would have competed with them for pray . during this time europe was inhabited by the large cave wolf which was replaced a smaller form at the end of pleisocene.these wolfs preyed on mainly reindeer though there prey overlapped with steppe lions hyenas may have posed bigger compatition and may have restricted their diet in their range . another canid paleolithic dog who's remains have been found near ice age human settlement are also known from europe and russia and may have been part of early domestication event. in north america two types of gray wolfs where present represented by a southern form which lived alongside dire wolf and coyotes while beringian wolf in alaska which where adabted to more hypercarnivorous deit it likely preyed on the large megafauna of pleistocene with jaws adabted to bone crushing it was much better suited to scavenging as well. beringian wolf went extinct by the end of ice ages. the other form survived into holocene and was gradually pushed south of north america by atleast two wolf immigrations from asia and was likely ancestors of todays mexican wolf and other southern gray wolf subspecies of north america.
predator guild[edit | edit source]
In north america wolf coexist with other large carnivores like brown bear , american black bear ,puma and coyote. and lynx .brown bears occur togethor with wolfs in both north america and eurasia wolf interaction with brown bear or grizzly bear may go both ways with brown bears usually emerging dominent carnivore near carcasses while wolfs taking more aggressive stand defending their den site . wolf kills forms a large part of brown bears diet in some part of their range . american black bears are also known to feed on wolf kills but may be disadvantaged depending on the size of the pack. puma or cougar in known to avoid places inhabited by large packs of wolf while a lone wolf may pray to cougar. the smaller canid coyote takes smaller pray where their range overlappe with gray wolf . packs of gray wolf are known to kill both coyotes and lynxs in their range due to competition .In russian far east siberian tigers occur along with gray wolfs and brown bear , tiger presence seems to have a inverse effect on wolf population with wolf population increasing in areas where tiges have been extirpated . polar bears also occur together with wolfs in some part of their in their range while their prefered prey may separate the two predators from much interaction arctic wolfs packs killing polar bear cubs have been recorded . In the arabian peninsula arabian wolf occur together with striped hyena and golden jackal with the striped hyena usually being the dominent animal near carcasses .