Tag Archives: Shikoku

Canis hodophilax Temminck

Japanese wolf (Canis hodophilax)

The Japanese wolf, the smallest form of wolf, lived on the Japanese islands of Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Some of the native names were Nihon OkamiOkami and Yamainu.


The end of the Japanese wolf began with the ever-increasing deforestation for agriculture and livestock breeding but came to a head with the introduction of rabies to Japan in 1732, which killed countless individuals. But there were also targeted extermination programs against the alleged ‘cattle killer’ using poisoned bait. The last known Japanese Wolf was killed in the Nara Prefecture on the island of Honshu in 1905.


The Japanese island of Hokkaido was home to a different form of wolf, which is genetically closer to the common Wolf (Canis lupus L.) which can therefore be assigned to it as a subspecies. 


syn. Canis japonicus Nehring, Canis lupus ssp. hodophilax Temminck, Canis lupus ssp. japonicus Nehring


Depiction from: ‘S. F. Harmer; A. E. Shipley: The Cambridge Natural History. London, Macmillan and Co., Limited 1895-1909’ 

(public domain)



[1] Alexandra van der Geer; George Lyras; John de Vos; Michael Dermitzakis: Evolution of Island Mammals: Adaptation and Extinction of Placental Mammals on Islands. John Wiley & Sons 2010 
[2] N. Ishiguro; Y. Inoshima; N. Shigehara; H. Ichikawa; M. Kato: Osteological and genetic analysis of the extinct Ezo wolf (Canis lupus hattai) from Hokkaido Island, Japan. Zoological Science 27(4): 320-324. 2010 


edited: 16.03.2012

Lutra nippon Imaizumi & Yoshiyuki

Japanese River Otter (Lutra nippon)

The Japanese River Otter inhabited the rivers on the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku in Japan; it was formerly thought to be a subspecies of the Eurasian River Otter (Lutra lutra (L.)).

The species was last seen in 1979 and is now considered extinct.


edited: 01.08.2022