The Wolf Intelligencer


Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus)

Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus) – (Cabrera 1907)

Common Names:  Iberian Wolf,  Lobo Iberico

Overall population: 2003 census (2,000), 2005 (approx. 2000)

Perspectives on the Iberian wolf in Portugal: population trends and conservation threats. Torres RT, Fonseca C. Biodiversity and conservation. 2016 Mar

Physical description: Signatus is Latin for “marked”  describing the characteristic white marks on the lips and and darkened/black markings on the legs, back and tail. The Iberian Wolf has a smaller frame than the Eurasion Wolf. Males are larger and are said to weigh up to 110lbs (50kg) and females 66lbs-88lbs (30kg-40kg).

Original range – Iberian Peninsula
Current range – Forest and plains of northern Portugal and northernwestern Spain.

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat | Biomes
(Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome) (Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub)
(Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Biome) (Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome)

Ecology | Ecoregions
Azores temperate mixed forests, Cantabrian mixed forests, Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests, Madeira evergreen forests, Northwest Iberian montane forests, Southwest Iberian Mediterranean sclerophyllous and mixed forests
Canary Islands dry woodlands and forests, Cantabrian mixed forests, Forests of the Iberian Peninsula, Iberian conifer forests, Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests, Mediterranean Acacia-Argania dry woodlands, Mediterranean woodlands and forests

PreyWild Boar (Sus scrofa), Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica), European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Granada hares (Lepus granatensis), Cantabrian Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva), feral horses, domestic goats

“Scat analysis indicated a high predation on wild ungulates, where the frequency of occurrence showed that Roe deer was the most consumed prey (44%), followed by red deer (26%) and wild Boar (24%). Domestic/wild cat (6%), domestic goat and stone marten (5%) were consumed in lower quantities.”
What does the wolf eat? Assessing the diet of the endangered Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in northeast Portugal. Figueiredo AM, Valente AM, Barros T, Carvalho J, Silva DA, Fonseca C, Carvalho LM, Torres RT. PloS one. 2020 Mar

“Domestic goat predominated the diet (62% of the scats), followed by cow (20%) and sheep (13%); the only wild ungulate present in the scat analysis was the wild Boar (4% of the scats).”
[HTML] To eat or not to eat? The diet of the endangered Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in a human-dominated landscape in central Portugal RT Torres, N Silva, G Brotas, C Fonseca – PloS one, 2015 –

Non-Prey Iberian SpeciesIberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), Cantabrian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos pyrenaicus)

Beautiful Birds of the Iberian Peninsula!

Common Ravens (Corvus corax), Carrion Crow (Corvus corone), Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus), Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki), Iberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus), Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), Iberian green woodpecker (Picus sharpei), Iberian grey shrike (Lanius meridionalis), western olivaceous warbler (Iduna opaca), Dupont’s lark (Chersophilus duponti), red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)

Interesting  behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:
Legal status – The hunting of wolves is prohibited in Portugal but allowed in certain areas of Spain.

Conservation: The Iberian Wolf and it’s ethology and conservation were championed by Spanish naturalist Félix Samuel Rodríguez de la Fuente (March 14, 1928 – March 14, 1980).

Grupo Lobo (Lisboa, Portugal)

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

Cryptic population structure reveals low dispersal in Iberian wolves. Silva P, López-Bao JV, Llaneza L, Álvares F, Lopes S, Blanco JC, Cortés Y, García E, Palacios V, Rio-Maior H, Ferrand N. Scientific reports. 2018 Sep


Further Reading

Wolves in Portugal
Wolves in Spain

Journal / Scientific Publications:

The effects of prey size on carnivore tooth mark morphologies on bone; the case study of Canis lupus signatus. Courtenay LA, Yravedra J, Maté-González MÁ, Vázquez-Rodríguez JM, Fernández-Fernández M, González-Aguilera D.Historical Biology. 2020 Oct

First report of Thelazia callipaeda in a free-ranging Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) from Spain. Nájera, F., de Lucas-Veguillas, J., Vela, Á. et al. Parasitol Res (2020).

Refuge as major habitat driver for wolf presence in human‐modified landscapes. Grilo C, Lucas PM, Fernández‐Gil A, Seara M, Costa G, Roque S, Rio‐Maior H, Nakamura M, Álvares F, Petrucci‐Fonseca F, Revilla E. Animal conservation. 2019 Feb

Lethal management may hinder population recovery in Iberian wolves. Quevedo M, Echegaray J, Fernández-Gil A, Leonard JA, Naves J, Ordiz A, Revilla E, Vilà C. Biodiversity and conservation. 2019 Feb

 Prevalence of zoonotic parasites in an endangered Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) population in Portugal. Figueiredo AM, Barros T, Valente AM, Fonseca C, de Carvalho LM, Torres RT.Mammalian Biology. 2019 Jan

Designing the landscape of coexistence: Integrating risk avoidance, habitat selection and functional connectivity to inform large carnivore conservation
H Rio-Maior, M Nakamura, F Álvares, P Beja – Biological Conservation, 2019

The role of fire on wolf distribution and breeding-site selection: Insights from a generalist carnivore occurring in a fire-prone landscape
S Lino, N Sillero, J Torres, X Santos… – Landscape and Urban …, 2019

Use of space and homesite attendance by Iberian wolves during the breeding season
H Rio-Maior, P Beja, M Nakamura, F Álvares – Mammalian Biology, 2018 –

Intestinal helminths in Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus) from Northwest Spain
S Muñoz, PL Ramos, E Carretón… – The Open …, 2018

Risks a la carte: Modelling the occurrence and intensity of wolf predation on multiple livestock species
V Pimenta, I Barroso, L Boitani, P Beja – Biological Conservation, 2018

The Indirect Impacts of Wind Farms on Terrestrial Mammals: Insights from the Disturbance and Exclusion Effects on Wolves (Canis lupus); GF da Costa, J Paula, F Petrucci-Fonseca, F Álvares – Biodiversity and Wind Farms in …, 2018

On the path to extinction: Inbreeding and admixture in a declining grey wolf population. Gómez‐Sánchez D, Olalde I, Sastre N, Enseñat C, Carrasco R, Marques‐Bonet T, Lalueza‐Fox C, Leonard JA, Vilà C, Ramírez O. Molecular ecology. 2018 Sep

Hybridization between wolf and domestic dog: First evidence from an endangered population in central Portugal; RT Torres, E Ferreira, RG Rocha, C Fonseca – … Biology-Zeitschrift für …, 2017 – Elsevier

Viral gut metagenomics of sympatric wild and domestic canids, and monitoring of viruses: Insights from an endangered wolf population; N Conceição‐Neto, R Godinho, F Álvares… – Ecology and …, 2017

New insights into the genetic composition and phylogenetic relationship of wolves and dogs in the Iberian Peninsula; AE Pires, IR Amorim, C Borges, F Simões… – Ecology and …, 2017

What does the wild Boar mean to the wolf?; E Mori, L Benatti, S Lovari, F Ferretti – European Journal of Wildlife …, 2017

Wolf predation on cattle in Portugal: Assessing the effects of husbandry systems; V Pimenta, I Barroso, L Boitani, P Beja – Biological Conservation, 2017

Rehabilitation and post‐release monitoring of two wolves with severe injuries. Rio‐Maior H, Beja P, Nakamura M, Santos N, Brandão R, Sargo R, Dias I, Silva F, Álvares F. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 2016 May

Parasite species of the endangered Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) and a sympatric widespread carnivore; A Figueiredo, L Oliveira, LM de Carvalho… – International Journal for …, 2016

Treatment of a forelimb fracture and rehabilitation of a free-ranging Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus); FC Silva, RF Sargo, LC Sousa, H Rio-Maior… – Pesquisa Veterinária …, 2016 –

Perspectives on the Iberian wolf in Portugal: population trends and conservation threats
RT Torres, C Fonseca – Biodiversity and conservation, 2016

[HTML] Treatment of a forelimb fracture and rehabilitation of a free-ranging Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus)
FC Silva, RF Sargo, LC Sousa, H Rio-Maior… – Pesquisa Veterinária …, 2016

Patterns of Exposure of Iberian Wolves (Canis lupus) to Canine Viruses in Human-Dominated Landscapes;J Millán, JV López-Bao, EJ García, A Oleaga… – EcoHealth, 2016

Study of gastrointestinal parasites in the iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus)
ALO Pereira – 2015

Comparative proteomics of an extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli strain from the Iberian wolf
A Gonçalves, P Poeta, R Monteiro, C Marinho… – Journal of …, 2014

Detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci from faecal samples of Iberian wolf and Iberian lynx, including Enterococcus faecium strains of CC17 and the new singleton ST573. Gonçalves A, Igrejas G, Radhouani H, López M, Guerra A, Petrucci-Fonseca F, Alcaide E, Zorrilla I, Serra R, Torres C, Poeta P. Science of the total environment. 2011 Dec

Cultural dimension of wolves in the Iberian Peninsula: implications of ethnozoology in conservation biology. Álvares F, Domingues J, Sierra P, Primavera P. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research. 2011 Sep

Presence of Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in relation to land cover, livestock and human influence in Portugal. Eggermann J, da Costa GF, Guerra AM, Kirchner WH, Petrucci-Fonseca F. Mammalian Biology-Zeitschrift Für Säugetierkunde. 2011 Mar

Chemical scent constituents in feces of wild Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus)
J Martín, I Barja, P López – Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 2010

Prey and prey-age preference by the Iberian wolf Canis lupus signatus in a multiple-prey ecosystem. Barja I. Wildlife Biology. 2009 Jun

Sarcoptic mange in Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus) in northern Spain. Domínguez G, Espí A, Prieto JM, De La Torre JA. Veterinary Record. 2008 Jun

Distribución y Aspectos Poblacionales del Lobo Ibérico en la Provincia de Ourense/Distribution and Population Aspects of the Iberian Wolf in the Province of Ourense, Spain. Llaneza L, Alvares F, Ordiz A, Sierra P, Uzal Fernandez A. Ecología. 2004

Food habits and livestock depredation of two Iberian wolf packs (Canis lupus signatus) in the north of Portugal. Vos J. Journal of zoology. 2000 Aug

Use of tiletamine and zolazepam to immobilize captive Iberian wolves (Canis lupus). Vilà C, Castroviejo J. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 1994 Jan

The trophic ecology of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus Cabrera, 1907). A new analysis of stomach’s data. Cuesta L, Barcena F, Palacios F, Reig S. Mammalia. 1991


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