01 January 2018

Arabian Red Fox – Dhahran

I have recently been seeing a few Arabian Red Foxes in Dhahran, a sight I always treasure. The Red Fox is currently recognized as a single species and has the widest natural distribution of any terrestrial carnivore, possibly any terrestrial mammal. Its range spans approximately 70 million square kilometres encompassing much of Europe, Asia and North America and extending into North Africa, with an introduced population in Australia. The Red Fox occupies a wide variety of ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, deserts and agricultural and human-dominated environments. Interestingly a recent study (see paper detail below) was conducted providing the most geographically and genomically comprehensive study to date of the Red Fox. Analysis of mitochondrial sequence of 1000 individuals suggested an ancient Middle Eastern origin for all extant Red Foxes with demographic analyses indicated a major expansion in Eurasia during the last glaciation 50,000 years ago. The Arabian Red fox has very large ears for its size and is very thin and sandy coloured compared to the European Red Fox, and look very different.
Arabian Red Fox