First record of a melanistic golden jackal (Canis aureus, Canidae) from Turkey

Ambarlı H., Bilgin C. C.

MAMMALIA, vol.77, pp.219-222, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 77
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/mammalia-2012-0009
  • Journal Name: MAMMALIA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.219-222
  • Keywords: camera trap, Canis aureus, golden jackal, melanism, Turkey, EVOLUTION, COYOTES, HISTORY, WOLVES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The golden jackal is a locally common mammal species widely distributed along the Black Sea and other coastal regions of Turkey. Between February 2009 and April 2010, we conducted a camera trap study in Artvin, northeastern Turkey that revealed the presence of ten medium or large mammal species. We report here the first ever photographic evidence of a melanistic golden jackal, along with its normal-colored probable mate. Dark fur color in wolves has been shown to be historically transferred from domestic dogs, and interbreeding among wolves, coyotes and dogs is well documented. However, we consider this an unlikely mechanism for the present observation, and instead suggest independent mutation as the source of this possibly adaptive trait.