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A Biogeographic Look on the Taxonomy of the Japanese Wolves

Canis lupus hodophilax Temminck, 1839



Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History,
499 Iryuda, Odawara, Kanagawa 250-0031, Japan
Abstract. A taxonomical position of the Japanese wolf (Canis hodophilax Temminck,1839) of Hondo Islands( Hoshu,Sikoku and Kyushu) is discussed from a biogeographic look.The Japapnes wolf is considered to be originated in Pleistocene large fossil wolves which have been known from Hondo Islands. Those large fossil wolves would immigrated to Hond Islands in the late Pleistocene from northern territories, then isolated there.I suggest that phenotypic response to isolation by climatic change after post-glaciation may account for size reduction and morphological change of skull of the Japanese wolf. Extinct Japanese wolf is considered a distinctive subspecies (Canis lupus hodophilax Temminck, 1839) of wolf in the world.

Key Words: climatic change, isolation, dwarfing, the Japanese wolf (Canis lupus hodophilax)