Ecology of the culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus): a synthesis of existing knowledge
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ESCET, Departamento de Biología y Geología, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/Tulipán s/n. 28933 Móstoles.
Unidad Docente de Ecología, Departamento de Biodiversidad, Ecología y Evolución, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/ José Antonio Novais 12, 28040, Madrid.
Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, San Cayetano Alto, C/París s/n. Loja 1101608.
GloCEE Global Change Ecology and Evolution Research Group, Department of Life Sciences, University of Alcalá, E-28805, Madrid.
Online publication date: 2021-03-15
Publication date: 2021-03-15
Corresponding author
Jorge Lozano   

Unidad Docente de Ecología, Departamento de Biodiversidad, Ecología y Evolución, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/ José Antonio Novais 12, 28040, Madrid, Spain.
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2021;32(1):5-17
We conducted an extensive review of the existing literature on the culpeo to improve our understanding of its ecology, natural history and conservation, and to identify gaps in current knowledge. For resources published before 1988, we used the synthesis made by Medel and Jaksic (1988). For studies published from 1988 onwards, we carried out a literature searching in the Scopus, Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar databases, considering all of the generic names used to define the species. We found 96 scientific articles. Most of the studies focused on diet, conflicts with the species in livestock areas, and on the use of space and habitat. We found that the description of subspecies is incomplete and that subspecies’ geographic distribution is not well known. There are also few published studies on genetic issues, population dynamics and conservation concerns. It is remarkable that vast regions in South America where culpeos live still lack basic information on the species. Diet studies describe a marked trend towards resource selection at the local level, which supports the view of the culpeo as a facultative trophic specialist. In addition, it has been confirmed that in the high Andes, the culpeo can behave as a top predator and that it is an important seed disperser in arid environments. There is no sufficient information to precisely assess the species’ conservation status in most regions. The species has been listed as "Vulnerable" in Ecuador and Colombia. Direct persecution and habitat transformation are the most critical threats that the species faces in many countries, although other threats such as climate change could also have severe consequences for the culpeo on a global scale.
An anonymous referee provided useful comments and recommendations that greatly improved the manuscript.
This research was carried out partly with the economic support of the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL), Ecuador. JL was supported by a Prometeo Fellowship from SENESCYT, the National Agency for Education and Science of Ecuador, between 2014 and 2015. He was also supported by Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) during the editing of this article. AFM was supported by a Ramón y Cajal research contract from the MINECO (RYC-2016-21114).
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