Gray Wolf Taxonamy- North America

Wolf Country

X Indicates an extinct subspecies

X canis lupus alces the Kenai Penisula wolf; one of the largest of north american wolves; extinct by 1925.

canis lupus arctos the white wolf of the high arctic, found from melville island to Ellesmere Island.

canis lupus baileyi the smallest north american gray wolf, originally found from mexico to the south west United States; according to many authorities, indistinguishable from canis lupus mogollonensis and canis lupus monstrabilis.

The Mexican wolf's range originally extended from northern Mexico into the mountainous parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The most endangered wolf subspecies, the Mexican wolf is extinct in the wild in the United States -- and, scientists say, probably in Mexico as well. A small captive population exists in the United States.

X canis lupus beothucus the Newfoundland wolf, now extinct; reported al almost pure white

X canis lupus bernardi limited to Banks and Victoria Islands in the arctic, described as white and black-tiped hair along the spinal ridge; not recognized as a subspecies until 1943; extinct sometime between 1918 and 1952.

canis lupus columbianus a large wolf found in the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alberta

canis lupus crassodon a medium-size, grayish wold found on Vancouver Island.

X canis lupus fuscus a brownish-colored wolf from the Cascade Mountians; extinct by 1940.

canis lupus hudsonicus a light-colored wolf found in northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

canis lupus griseoalbus a large wolf found in north alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

canis lupus irremotus a medium-sized, light-colored wolf from the Rockey Mountians

canis lupus labradorius the wolf of Labrador and northern Quebec

canis lupus ligoni a small, dark-colored wolf from the Alexander Archipelago in the arctic islands.

canis lupus lycaon The eastern timber wolf of Canada and the United States; it origially had the largest rande of all of North American subspecies; the first subspecies to be recognized in North America (1775).

canis lupus mackenzii the Northwest Territories wolf; not recognized as a subspecies until 1943.

canis lupus manningi the smallest arctic wolf, found on Baffin Island; either white or light-colored; not recognized as a subspecies until 1943.

X canis lupus mogollonensis a medium-sized wolf found in Arizona and New Mexico; extinct by 1935

X canis lupus monstrabilis a wolf found in Texas and New Mexico; extinct by 1942.

X canis lupus nubilus the Great Plains or "buffalo" wolf; extinct by 1926; usually light in color.

The "Buffalo Wolf", or the "Loafer" was originally the wolf subspecies known as Canis Lupus Nubilus which inhabited the Great Plains area of North America. Currently suggested revisions to wolf taxonomy, by Ron Nowak, are based less on geographical area and more on the determination of genetically distinct races or subspecies. The proposed revisions include most of the previously defined subspecies of gray wolves in North America as Canis Lupus Nubilus including the subspecies beothucus, crassodon, fuscus, udsonicus, irremotus, labradorius, lycaon (west of Michigan), ligoni, manningi, mogollonensis, monstrabilis, and youngi. Still, opinions on these classifications are not unanimous.


canis lupus occidentalis a large wolf from Western Canada, also called the Mackenzie Vally Wolf.

canis lupus orion a white or very light-colored wolf from Greenland

canis lupus pambasileus A dark colored wolf from Alaska and the Yukon.

canis lupus tendrarum the arctic tundra wolf; light in color.


X canis lupus youngi the Southern Rocky Mountian wolf; extinct by 1935; light buff color

Other wolf species


canis rufus A reclusive animal that weighs between 40 and 80 pounds, the red wolf is generally a night hunter and travels in groups of two or three. Scientists are in disagreement over the origins of the red wolf. Some insist it is a genetically distinct species; some assert that it is a subspecies of gray wolf; others theorize that it is a hybrid of gray wolves and coyotes.

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