National Geographic – Black Wolf – Wildlife Animal

A black wolf is a melanistic colour variant of the gray wolf (Canis lupus).[1][2] Black specimens are recorded among red wolves (Canis lupus rufus), and these color variants are probably still around today.[3] Genetic research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles revealed that wolves with black pelts owe their distinctive coloration to a mutation which occurred in domestic dogs, and was carried to wolves through wolf-dog hybridization.[1] Besides coat color they are normal gray wolves.
Black wolves rarely occur in Europe and Asia, where interactions with domestic dogs has been reduced over the past thousand years due to the depletion of wild wolf populations.[26] They have occasionally appeared, as wolf-dog hybrids are known in Russia as “black wolves”,[27] and currently, 20–25% of Italy’s wolf population is composed of black animals.[28] They are more common in North America; about half of the wolves in the reintroduced wolf population in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park are black. Like Pyrenees Wolves, Black wolves do not live in France. In southern Canada and Minnesota the black phase is more common than the white, though grey coloured wolves predominate.
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