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Temporal range: Early Pliocene-Holocene
Urocyon cinereoargenteus.jpg
Gray fox
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Tribe: Vulpini
Genus: Urocyon
Baird, 1857
Type species
Canis virginianus
Schreber, 1775
(= Canis cinereo argenteus Schreber, 1775)

Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Urocyon littoralis
Urocyon progressus

The genus Urocyon (from the Greek word for "tailed dog"[2]) is a genus that contains two (or possibly three; see next paragraph) living Western Hemisphere foxes in the family Canidae; the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and the closely related island fox (Urocyon littoralis), which is a dwarf cousin of the gray fox;[1] as well as one fossil species, Urocyon progressus.[3]

Urocyon and the raccoon dog are the only canids able to climb trees. Urocyon is one of the oldest fox genera still in existence. Evidence of the Cozumel fox, a disputed extinct or critically endangered third species, was found on the island of Cozumel, Mexico.[4] The Cozumel fox, which has not been scientifically described to date, is a dwarf form like the island fox, but a bit larger, being up to three-quarters the size of the gray fox.[5]

Extant Species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).jpg Urocyon cinereoargenteus gray fox southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America (Venezuela and Colombia), excluding the mountains of northwestern United States
Urocyon littoralis (Island fox) FWS 001.jpg Urocyon littoralis Island fox Channel Islands (off the coast of Southern California)


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ University of Arkansas-Monticello. Meanings of scientific names of wild and domesticated mammals of Arkansas: Urocyon.
  3. ^ Prevosti, F.J., & Rincóon, A.D. (2007). "A new fossil canid assemblage from the late Pleistocene of northern South America: the canids of the Inciarte asphalt pit (Zulia, Venezuela), fossil record and biogeography". J. Pal. 81 (5): 1053–1065. doi:10.1666/pleo05-143.1. 
  4. ^ Cuarón, Alfredo D.; Martinez-Morales, Miguel Angel; McFadden, Katherine W.; Valenzuela, David & Gompper, Matthew E. (2004). "The status of dwarf carnivores on Cozumel Island, Mexico". Biodiversity and Conservation. Springer Netherlands. 13 (2): 317–331. doi:10.1023/B:BIOC.0000006501.80472.cc. 
  5. ^ Gompper, M. E.; Petrites, A. E. & Lyman, R. L. (2006). "Cozumel Island fox (Urocyon sp.) dwarfism and possible divergence history based on subfossil bones". J. Zool. 270 (1): 72–77. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00119.x. 

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