Today’s image shows the ever-interesting Maned wolf, the so-called ‘fox on stilts’ Chrysocyon brachyurus, kindly supplied by Anne-Marie of Pondering Pikaia. Anne-Marie studies these animals for her honors thesis. Maned wolves are well known for being predators of large rodents (like pacas) and similar-sized vertebrate prey, but they consume a surprising amount of plant material, and are particularly fond of the ‘fruta da lobo’ (hence its name). Often regarded as specialised for the Argentinean pampas, fossils show that they evolved in North America – they are just one of a whole bunch of wolf-like canids that invaded South America, all of which, excepting the Maned wolf, later became extinct (and, yes, the Maned wolf is close kin to Canis and its relatives: it is not a fox). They are endangered, with a wild population estimated at 1500-2000, but one interesting speculation is that they may benefit from deforestation and the resultant spread of poor-quality grasslands… If you’ve never seen a live one, do so!
And now for something completely different: what do you all think so far of the whole ‘picture of the day’ (POTD from hereon, nod to Mike P. Taylor) thing? Some regulars are unhappy that I am posting crappy little short posts, rather than the long essay-type ones. Fact is.. what do you want: POTD or nothing? As I said at the start, the POTD posts will appear every day, but I simply cannot – unfortunately – produce ‘proper’ posts at any frequency exceeding one every 3-4 days or so (and even that is difficult some weeks). And don’t forget that I published four posts on a single day last week, so be fair!