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Swift Fox Symposium

Genetic and Morphological Characteristics of the Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis) in South Central New Mexico

Penny J. Rodrick and Nancy E. Mathews. Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

The region between southeastern New Mexico and southwestern Texas is recognized as a zone of sympatry between the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) and the swift fox (V. velox), and some question remains as to which species inhabits this area. Based on morphological measurements taken from 28 kit foxes in the zone of sympatry on Otero Mesa and McGregor Range of the Ft. Bliss Military Reservation, we conclude that physical assessment alone is not sufficient to determine the species residing on our study site. Our results suggest the population on McGregor Range may be either species or a hybrid. We collected blood samples from 13 foxes in the same area during 1996 - 1997. Using mtDNA analysis, we compare restriction enzyme patterns of our population to kit and swift foxes in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Kansas. We present results of genetic analysis and make recommendations regarding the management of this population.

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