Temporal range: 5.332–0 Ma Late Miocene - recent
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Two Japanese raccoon dogs (N. viverrinus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Genus: Nyctereutes
Temminck, 1838[2]
Type species
Canis Procyonoides[2]

N. procyonoides
N. viverrinus

Nyctereutes (Greek: nyx, nykt- "night" + ereutēs "wanderer") is a genus of canid which includes only two extant species both known as raccoon dogs, the common raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and the Japanese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes viverrinus).[1] Nyctereutes first entered the fossil record 5.5 million years ago (Mya) in northern China. It was one of the earliest canines to arrive in the Old World. All but two species became extinct before the Pleistocene.[citation needed]

Nyctereutes megamastoides fossil skull


Most notable when fossils of Nyctereutes are found is to look at the upper and lower molars when comparing them to other canids as well as their evolutionary pattern. They are typically recognized also for their short snouts, round craniums, and of course the shaping of their molars specifically the ration between M1 and M2. Nyctereutes mainly is considered an opportunistic carnivore meaning they mainly feed on small mammals, fish, birds, insects, alongside occasional plants specifically roots. Their diet is mostly influenced through environmental factors.[3]


Extant species[edit]

Fossil species[edit]

  • Nyctereutes abdeslami 3.6—1.8 Mya (Morocco)[4]
  • Nyctereutes donnezani 9.0—3.4 Mya (Eastern Europe, Spain)
  • Nyctereutes megamastoides (Europe)
  • Nyctereutes sinensis 3.6 Mya—781,000 years ago (Eastern Asia)[5]
  • Nyctereutes tingi
  • Nyctereutes vinetorum
  • Nyctereutes lockwoodi


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, C. W. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reader, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 1 (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 582–583. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0.
  2. ^ a b Temminck, C.J. (1838). "Over de geslachten Taphozous, Emballonura, Urocryptus en Diclidurus" [About the genera Taphozous, Emballonura, Urocryptus and Diclidurus]. Tijdschrift voor Natuurlijke Geschiedenis en Physiologie (in Dutch). 5: 1–34.
  3. ^ Farjand, Arya; Zhang, Zhao-Qun; Liu, Wen-Hui; Jiao, Chen-Hui; Wang, Li-Hua (June 2021). "The evolution of Nyctereutes (Carnivora: Canidae) in the Nihewan Basin, Hebei, northern China". Palaeoworld. 30 (2): 373–381. doi:10.1016/j.palwor.2020.07.002. S2CID 225565692.
  4. ^ Paleobiology Database: ''Nyctereutes abdeslami basic info.
  5. ^ Paleobiology Database: ''Nyctereutes sinensis basic info.

Further reading[edit]