Vulpes (Alopex) lagopus

Arctic Fox



species list





The Arctic Fox is a much smaller animal than the Red, with a relatively shorter muzzle. Its distribution is circumpolar, with considerable differences between races, as can be seen in these specimens - and the publications below.

Order - Carnivora (typical carnivores)
Suborder - Caniformia (dog-like)
Family - Canidae (dogs)

Scientific Name:
Alopex / Vulpes "fox" (Greek / Latin)
lagopus "hare-footed" (Latin)

Dental Formula :
U - L

Measurements:  (explained)
Image 1
Condylobasal length - 118mm
Zygomatic width - 67mm
Jaw length - 87mm
Nasal length - 40mm
Image 2
Overall length - 141mm
Zygomatic width - 76mm
Specimen 3 (not illustrated)
Condylobasal length - 108.7mm
Zygomatic width - 62.9mm
Nasal length - 36.7mm
Post-orbital constriction - 25.3mm
Inter-orbital width - 26.7mm
Orbital diameter (v)- 19.9mm
Palate length - 54.0mm
Jaw length - 80.4mm

Collection Data
Image 1
Sex - male
Stage - adult
Date collected - August 1991
Area collected - N E Greenland
Source - Found dead
Image 2
Stage - adult
Area collected - N America
Source - Fur farm
Image courtesy of private collector
Specimen 3 (not illustrated)
Stage - adult
Date collected - August 1989
Area collected - Thule, NW Greenland
Source - Found dead

arctic fox skull

1. Arctic Fox skull, lateral view

arctic fox skull

2. Arctic Fox skull, lateral view

Internet Resources

University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web

Bucknell University: Wilson & Reeder's taxonomic checklist



Bisaillon, A. & DeRoth, L. 1980. Cranial Measurements in the Arctic Fox; Revue Canadienne de Biologie 39: pp81-84

Frafjord, K. 1993. (online) Circumpolar Size Variation in the Skull of the Arctic Fox; Polar Biology 13: 235-238
(Based on eleven skulls from six regions !)

Szuma, E. 2008. (online) Geographic Variation of Tooth and Skull Sizes in the Arctic Fox; Ann. Zool. Fennici 45: pp185-199
(Overwrought statistical analysis from small samples)

Zagrebel'nyi, S.V. & Puzachenko, A.Y. 2006. Variability of Skulls in the Polar Fox Subspecies Alopex lagopus beringensis, A.l. semenovi, A.l. lagopus (Carnivora, Canidae); Zoologicheskiy Zhurnal 85: 1007-1023 (In Russian with English summary)

Zalkin, V.I. 1944. Geographical Variability in the Skull Structure of the Russian Polar Fox; Zoologicheskiy Zhurnal 23: 156-169 (In Russian with English summary)