Congratulations to Cat Abbott for winning the January 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of an Eastern Coyote staring at the camera in a marvelous winter scene was the most popular photo-observation.
Coy-dog? Coy-wolf? Roland Kays, Research Associate Professor of Wildlife and Scientist at NC Museum of Natural Sciences says no. He prefers Eastern Coyote. Writing for The Conversation he noted that “Coyotes in the Northeast are mostly (60%-84%) coyote, with lesser amounts of wolf (8%-25%) and dog (8%-11%). Start moving south or east and this mixture slowly changes. Virginia animals average more dog than wolf (85%:2%:13% coyote:wolf:dog) while coyotes from the Deep South had just a dash of wolf and dog genes mixed in (91%:4%:5% coyote:wolf:dog). Tests show that there are no animals that are just coyote and wolf (that is, a coywolf), and some eastern coyotes that have almost no wolf at all.” Read the fascinating full story highlighting some of the latest research at The Conversation.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking ‘fav’ on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!