Canis lupaster is a canid that lives in North Africa. In the past, this species was considered a subspecies of golden jackal (Canis aureus), a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus), or a separated species. Since 2011 genetic data have demonstrated that C. lupaster is not a golden jackal and that it is more closely related to wolf lineage. The recent interest on C. lupaster lead to the publication of some papers on this topic, but the vast majority concerned genetic data. In this paper a morphological approach is presented. Twelve specimens, collected in Libya between 1926 and 1931 and now stored in the Natural History Museum of Genoa, are described here. C. lupaster is compared with the African golden jackal and with the wolf. MANOVA, PCA and discriminant analysis were performed. C. lupaster show many differences and is well separated both from wolf and from African golden jackal. Measures and ratios, that allow to rapidly recognise among these species, were identified. These ratios could be a useful tool for field researchers to quickly identify the correct species.
Canis lupaster, Canis anthus, African golden jackal, wolf, skull morphology, Libya