Arctic Fox

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Related to Alopex lagopus: Sylvilagus aquaticus
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arctic Fox


(Alopex lagopus), a predatory mammal of the family Canidae. The body is 50 to 75 cm long and weighs from 6 to 10 kg. The fluffy tail reaches 40 cm in length. The muzzle is short and pointed, and the ears are small and rounded. The paws are short, and the soles are covered by coarse hairs. The fur is thick and fluffy. There are two color phases: the white form, which is pure white in winter and grayish brown in summer, and the blue form, which is smoky gray in both summer and winter.

The arctic fox is found in the tundra and forest tundra of Eurasia and North America. In the USSR it is nearly ubiquitous on the continental tundra and forest tundra, as well as on offshore islands. Blue foxes dwell on the Komandorskie Islands and are rarely encountered on the mainland. During the winter, large numbers of arctic foxes migrate from the tundra to the forest tundra or the northern coastal regions.

Arctic foxes live in families in dens. Less commonly, they dwell among rock outcrops or in tree trunks washed up by the sea. The animals feed on such rodents as lemmings and voles, on birds and their eggs, on carrion, and on berries. Mating occurs in February or March. After a gestation period of 49 to 57 days, the female gives birth to a litter of seven to 12 pups.

The arctic fox population fluctuates sharply from year to year. The foxes are extremely valuable commercially, serving as the basis for fur trade in the north. Because its fur is particularly valuable, the blue fox is also raised on special farms. On fur farms in the USSR, two varieties of blue fox are raised: foxes with dark gray underfur, and foxes with light gray, nearly white underfur. Farms raising the first variety may be found in the northern and temperate latitudes of America, Europe, and Asia. Natural pelts are used to make boas, collars, and hats. The fur from the paws is used in the manufacture of coats.


Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Adaptations by the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) to the polar winter.
The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), a circumpolar canid, is endemic to the tundra.
Annual cementum structures in canine teeth in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus (L.)) from Greenland and Denmark.--Dan.
Chemical and carbon isotopic composition of fatty acids in adipose tissue as indicators of dietary history in wild Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on Svalbard.
Home range and movements of arctic foxes Alopex lagopus in Svalbard.
The Russians who arrived in the northern tundra in the 17th and 18th centuries were explorers who went to Siberia mainly in search of the skins of the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus).
Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) exploit littoral animals such as crabs, mollusks, and urchins (Hersteinsson 1984, Andriashek et al.
Shults (1970) reported tetrathyridia of Mesocestoides kirbyi in red-backed voles (Clethrionomys rutilus) from Alaska and adults in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus).
Arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, den densities in the Prudhoe Bay oil field, Alaska.
1995: Variability in the distribution and composition of adipose tissue in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on Svalbard.--Journal of Zoology (London) 236: 593-610.
En otros casos se utilizan clasificaciones anteriores que corresponden a grupos no naturales (parafileticos en este caso), como Vulpes al incluir la especie Alopex lagopus en Alopex y Canis al no incluir a Lycaon pictus y Cuon alpinus en el, o al no ubicar a C.
In the United States and Canada, the coyote (Canis latrans) has also been shown to be a suitable host for this parasite; in Arctic regions, the artic fox (Alopex lagopus) is the principal definitive host (1).