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Body composition of free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus)

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We used deuterium water dilution to estimate body composition of free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus L., 1758) in the Nelchina Basin, Alaska. Body mass differed between sexes throughout the year but did not vary within sex. Mean fat mass and mean energy content were highest in both sexes in the spring. Mean lean mass was lowest in both sexes in the spring. Body mass and lean body mass were positively related to animal age in both males and females up to age 6–8 years. There was no relationship between body fat content and animal age in either sex except in older animals. Thus, growth beyond age 2 consists primarily of lean mass. Body mass of reproductively active females was greater than nonreproductively active females in the spring but not in summer or fall. Deuterium should be allowed to circulate in the wolf for at least 120 min to ensure complete equilibration regardless of season, sex, age, or reproductive status.

Keywords: Alaska; Canis lupus; body composition; body mass; composition corporelle; contenu énergétique; deuterium water dilution; dilution d’eau deutérée; eau corporelle totale; energy content; fat mass; lean mass; loups; masse corporelle; masse grasse; masse maigre; total body water; wolves

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-01-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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