Chronology of Range Expansion of the Coyote, Canis latrans, in New York
Keywords:Coyote, Canis latrans, range expansion, northeastern North America, landscape change, land use
AbstractCoyotes (Canis latrans) were historically restricted to central North America. In less than two centuries, however, Coyotes have colonized most of the continent, including much of northeastern North America. Better understanding causes and proximate mechanisms of this expansion requires a detailed understanding of how Coyotes colonized areas on a fine scale. We examined the establishment of Coyotes in the State of New York by collecting and analyzing reports of their first occurrence throughout the state over the past century, and creating a detailed map of range expansion. Coyotes first entered New York from the north, circled the Adirondack region prior to colonizing it, and then expanded southward and westward at ca. 78-90 km/decade. The revealed pattern lends little support to the hypotheses that the range expansion is attributable to translocations and releases, or that Coyotes were historically present in the region and only recently expanded in numbers. Rather, the data suggest a correlative relationship between anthropogenic land use and Coyote range expansion.
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