C. l. campestris
|Canis lupus campestris|
|C. l. campestris range|
The steppe wolf (Canis lupus campestris), also known as the Caspian Sea wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to the Caspian steppes, the steppe regions of the Caucasus, the lower Volga region, southern Kazakhstan north to the middle of the Emba, and the steppe regions of the lower European part of the former Soviet Union. It may also occur in northern Afghanistan and Iran and occasionally the steppe regions of Romania and Hungary. The German name is Steppenwolf, whence the novel (1927) by the German author Hermann Hesse got its name.
Rueness et al. (2014) showed that wolves in the Caucasus Mountains of the putative Caucasian subspecies, C. l. cubanensis, are not genetically distinct enough to be considered a subspecies, but may represent a local ecomorph of C. l. lupus. In Kazakhstan, villagers keep them as guard animals.
It is of average dimensions, weighing 35–40 kg (77–88 lbs), thus being somewhat smaller than the Eurasian wolf and its fur is sparser, coarser and shorter. The flanks are light grey, and the back is rusty grey or brownish with a strong admixture of black hairs. The guard hairs on the withers usually do not exceed 70–75 mm. The fur of steppe wolves in Middle Asia and Kazakhstan tends to have more reddish tones. The tail is poorly furred. The skull is 224–272 mm long and 128–152 mm wide.
- Heptner, V.G.; Naumov, N.P., eds. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union, Vol. II, Part 1a. Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea Cows; Wolves and Bears). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the National Science Foundation. pp. 188–189. ISBN 1886106819. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Kopaliani, N.; Shakarashvili, M.; Gurielidze, Z.; Qurkhuli, T.; Tarkhnishvili, D. (2014). "Gene Flow between Wolf and Shepherd Dog Populations in Georgia (Caucasus)". Journal of Heredity. 105 (3): 345. doi:10.1093/jhered/esu014. PMID 24622972.
- "Kazakhstan: Villagers use 'guard wolves' for protection". BBC. December 17, 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- Rumyantsev, V. D. and L. S. Khuraskin. 1978. New data on the mortality of the Caspian seal due to wolves. Page 187 in Congress of the All-Union Theriological Society, 2nd (P. A. Panteleev, et al. eds.). Nauka, Moscow, USSR. ZR 116(19):5669