Under Construction May 2011


Lynx canadensis


Length: 50mm (Brown 1942), 50-55mm, with longer hairs 60-70mm on the belly (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969), 60mm max (Moore et al 1974), 35-45mm (Furskin 2006), 55mm (ASM #1) 30-60mm (ASM #2)

Diameter Range: 88-184 (Brown 1942), 107-118 microns (Moore et al 1974), 60-100 microns (Furskin 2006), 40-55 (ASM #1) 75 microns max (ASM #2) 90-110 microns max (ASM #3)

Medullary Index: 0.75 (Brown 1942). 0.63- 0.87 (ASM #1)

Medulla: Brown (1942) describes large strongly inflated cells in area of shaft max diameter that extend all the way across the medulla.  Might also have thin wafer-shaped cells between.  Mayer (1952) calls this medulla “highly vacuolated.” Medulla is 35 microns in one hair sample. Many of the cells have a long flattened shape that spans the width of the medulla. Some of the cells are slightly cupped with many small bubble-like features between the cells. There is continuous repeating “S” shape that appears air filled running between the flattened cells. The other hair sample shows an air filled continuous medulla, also 35 microns in diameter (ASM #1).

Color:  Diffuse orange-yellow pigment in the cortex?  (Mayer 1952). Tiny stipple-like dots are randomly distributed in the cortex of one fiber, the other has a streaky red-brown color throughout the cortex (ASM #1).  Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) describe the guard hair as banded with dusky white or grey near the base, then darker in the middle, and a 5mm black band  followed by a 5mm wide light grey band, and finally a black tip.  Hairs from the underside of the animal ought to be dusky white to light grey.  Moore et al (1974) give a lot of detail about banding: white banded hair on the back is most common, with a gray base, dark brown middle area and black tip.  There are also yellow-brown banded hairs on the back, with a gray base, light brown and then darker brown as it goes to the tip, and finally a black tip.  Less common on the back are bicolored brownish yellow hairs with a gray brown base.  Belly fur tends to be white.

Scales: Rippled in the upper part? (Furskin 2006)  Scales change along the length of the hair, with base end scales 2-3 across with smooth edges and widely spaced. Towards the distal end of the fiber the scales are more irregular, closer spaced and have rougher margins.


Length: 40mm (Brown 1942), 30-40mm (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969), 10-18mm (Furskin 2006), 30-40mm (ASM #1), 20-25mm (ASM #2)

Diameter Range: 16-40 (Brown 1942), 12-18 microns (Furskin 2006), 15-17.5 (ASM #1,2)

Medullary Index: 0.55 (Brown 1942), 0.57 (ASM #1), 0.5 (ASM #2)

Medulla: 10-7.5 microns in diameter (ASM #1,2).Uniserial ladder, in some areas it is fragmentary, others it appears more bead like and continuous (ASM #1, 2). Another hair shows a continuous medulla, with no features, and is completely dark (air filled). Medulla takes up most of the width of the underfur hair as a uniserial ladder.

Color: Rare in the cortex but present in the medulla. (Brown 1942) No colors detected in the ASM samples.

Scales: Stacked crowns


Macro Qualities: 2.5 – 3.5 feet long (Forsyth 1999)  Buffy gray coloration with indistinct spotting.  Long black tufts on the tips of the ears and a black-tipped tail (ADF&G 2008). Guard hair can be silvery white and bellies are pure white.  Low “Serviceability” (Bachrach 1953)  Skins 90-120 cm long.  Back of animal has spots and stripes with diffuse margins  (Furskin 2006).  Long flowing fur desirable in fur industry.  Long ruff of hair beneath the chin.  Paler color fur than most other cats.  (Samet 1950)


Notes: ASM #1 is from the head of a lynx at the ASM off site storage, ASM #2 is from the ASM education collection, ASM #3 is from a full pelt in a private collection.

Troubleshooting:  The bulbous cells in the medulla at max shaft diameter are most diagnostic.  They also occur in red fox, but are smaller there.  Differs from canids and raccoons by a much weaker development of the second dark band (Mayer 1952) Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) provide comparative data about other cats.  Domestic cats ought to have short petal-like scales near the base, then closer-spaced scales with smooth edges, and finally closely spaced with rough edges near the tip.  Length and color highly variable.   Regarding distinction with bobcat, it seems if you have a guard hair longer than 50mm it is probably a lynx.  Bobcat have back hairs 35-40mm and hairs on the underside up to 50mm. (Moore et al 1974 indicate a max length for a bobcat hair at 45mm).  Underfur might be even more distinctive, with lynx underfur 30-40mm and bobcat underfur only 10-15mm.  Scale pattern on the  guard hair of the bobcat might also have scales near tip that are very close together with irregular rough edges, while the lynx tends to have smooth edges on the scale margins throughout the whole length of the hair.  Color banding on the bobcat might be very similar to the lynx.  Puma/ cougar hairs are only 30-40mm long, with coloration showing brown with a black tip on the back and grayish-white on the belly.  Underfur should be brown or white on the cougar (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969).  Samet (1950) reports that lynx fur sheds readily due to the “dryness” of the hair.

Range: Northern forests of Alaska NOT on the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, the Aleutian Islands or Southeast Alaska (Forsyth 1999).  Most of Alaska except the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Island, the islands of the Bering Sea and some islands of Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska (ADF&G 2008).

Names: Family Felidae (the felines).  Bobcats are known as Lynx rufus and are not native to Alaska.  “Link” is a common term for Lynx in Alaska and the Yukon (ADF&G 2008).

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