Under Construction May 2011


Canis latrans incolatus



Length: less than 100mm (Mayer 1952), 50-70mm with mane hair 80-110mm (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969), 80mm (Moore et al 1974), 80-115mm on back and 55-95mm on sides with 17-80mm on belly (Kennedy 1982), 60-70mm typical but up to 105mm max (ASM #1 back), 80-120mm (ASM #1 tail)

Diameter Range: 150 microns max (Mayer 1952), 129 microns maximum (Moore et al 1974), Minimum shaft diameter averages about 73% of the maximum shaft width (Tumlison 1983), 150-228 microns (ASM#1), tip 20 microns, base 125 microns (ASM #1).

Medullary Index: 0.69 ave (Brown 1942) 0.65 to 0.72 (ASM #1)

Medulla: Usually more than four “courses” of cells across the medulla at the maximum diameter. Cells of medulla separated by pigment masses. (Brown 1942)  Continuous/interrupted medulla fibers.  Medulla measured at base of hair 85microns in diameter, appears as continuous and dark appearance makes it difficult to detect any cellular features that may be diagnostic (ASM #1).

Color:  Dark band near tip less than 23mm long, lighter band near tip less than 15mm (Mayer 1952). 10-20mm white band at base, then black band for several mm, then a white band 10-20mm, and finally a black tip (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969).  Banded with white base, gray-brown band in mid shaft, black tip (Moore et al 1974). Dark tip is 18mm long, then a small white band 4mm long (ASM#1).  

Scales: Edges vary from smooth to torn-paper like, scale margins close together.  At the base and in the middle, the scales are roughly as wide as they are tall, but become close together and seem wider near the tip. 


Length: 35-50mm (ASM #1 back) 28-35mm (ASM #1 tail)

Diameter Range: 28-100 microns (Brown 1942) 25-30 microns (ASM#1)

Medullary Index: Ave 0.48 (Brown 1942) 0.33 (ASM #1)

Medulla: 10 microns diameter. Uniserial ladder with closely spaced cells. Some of the cells are air filled and others are not.

Color:  Absent in the cortex but sometimes present in the medulla. (Brown 1942) No color present in the medulla or cortex ( ASM#1)  Should be white or various shades of grey? (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969).

Scales: Can be seen flaring out from the shaft at the tip, they appear petal like from the mounted sample and the length of the scales were measured at about 25 microns (from tip to tip).  Scale cast looks more like stacked cups, many scales lay flat along shaft (ASM #1)  Underfur scales are likely intermediate between stacked crowns and petal shapes.

Macro Qualities: 3.4 -4.5 feet long (Forsyth 1999)  About a third the size of a wolf, Approximately 4’ long.  Summer coat predominantly gray, washing to tan along the belly lower legs muzzle and ears.  Some guard hairs are tipped black, and the tail is tipped black.  Upper lip and belly are white. (ADF&G 2008)  Coat is bristly and coarse on the back but silky on the sides.  Mane is long and wedge-shaped rather than the half-moon shape seen on the wolf.  Underfur fibers are shorter than the wolf, so the guard hair does not stand up as bushy.  Fair “serviceability”(Bachrach 1953)  Tail fur may have a black tip less than one inch long, and may have large waves near the base.  The lack of these waves is thought to be typical raccoon who may also have a black tip on a back hair less than one half inch long (Stains 1958).  Primary and secondary guard hairs are slightly wavy (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969)


Notes: ASM #1 is from a full pelt in the ASM education collection

Relative new-comers around 1900, with populations established in the Alaska Range around 1930’s (Rearden 1981).  Populations first reported on mainland of Southeast Alaska, then into the upper Tanana Valley and then in all directions from there.  Population probably peaked in the 1940’s.  Few north of the Yukon River.  Highest densities in recent times seem to be the Kenai Peninsula, the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys and the Copper River Valley  (ADF&G 2008).

Troubleshooting: To distinguish from raccoon on a banded hair, the white area right before the dark tip ought to be less than 11mm long.  If it is longer than 11 mm, then the entire length of the coyote hair shaft ought to be more than 65mm to insure it is not raccoon.  Wolf guard hair ought to be longer overall with a bigger white band near the tip. (Mayer 1952)  Wolf is much larger than a coyote.  Measuring a sample, it seemed that the wolf had a black tip of 120mm and a white areas 15-20mm long, but coyote had 180mm dark tip and ,4mm white band.  Also, could it be that the primary and secondary guard hairs being wavy is a clue? (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969)

Range: Interior and the Kenai Peninsula

Names: Order Carnivora (the carnivores) Family Canidae (the canids)  “Song dog” (ADF&G 2008)  “Brush Wolf” (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969)

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