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Editorial Office, E. Side-striped Jackal. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2024).
Editorial Office E. Side-striped Jackal. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 14, 2024.
Editorial Office, Encyclopedia. "Side-striped Jackal" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 14, 2024).
Editorial Office, E. (2024, January 26). Side-striped Jackal. In Encyclopedia.
Editorial Office, Encyclopedia. "Side-striped Jackal." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 January, 2024.
Side-striped Jackal

The Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) is a medium-sized carnivore native to sub-Saharan Africa. Identified by the distinct white stripe running along its flanks, this adaptable canid inhabits a variety of habitats, demonstrating omnivorous feeding habits and a complex social structure within its family groups.

Side-striped Jackal animals Lupulella adusta

1. Introduction

The Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) stands as a compelling species within the carnivore diversity of sub-Saharan Africa. Taxonomically classified under the genus Canis, this medium-sized canid is recognized for its unique side stripes and plays a crucial role in the ecosystems it inhabits (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Side-striped jackal in Kalabo, Zambia. The image is available under the terms and conditions of CC BY 4.0 license ( (accessed on 4 February 2024)).

The Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) stands as a remarkable and adaptable carnivore, adding diversity to the fauna of sub-Saharan Africa. Recognized for its distinct white side stripes and unique ecological role, this medium-sized canid has captivated researchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

The Side-striped Jackal, with its unique morphology, behavior, and ecological role, emerges as a fascinating species within the African carnivore community. Its significance as a mesopredator and keystone species highlights the need for concerted conservation efforts and ongoing research to ensure its continued presence in the diverse landscapes it inhabits.

1.1. Geographic Distribution and Habitat

The Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) exhibits a wide distribution across sub-Saharan Africa, encompassing diverse ecosystems from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east and extending southward to South Africa. This extensive range reflects the species' remarkable adaptability to varied environmental conditions and habitats. The geographic distribution of Side-striped Jackals is influenced by factors such as vegetation types, prey availability, and the presence of competing carnivores. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in a range of landscapes, from woodlands and grasslands to savannas and semi-arid regions.

Side-striped Jackals display a preference for habitats characterized by a mix of open spaces and cover. Woodlands, grassy plains, and savannas provide suitable environments for these canids to carry out their hunting and scavenging activities. They are often found in close proximity to water sources, ensuring a steady supply of hydration. The adaptability of Side-striped Jackals is evident in their ability to navigate both natural and human-altered landscapes. While they primarily inhabit wilderness areas, they can also be observed in agricultural areas and on the outskirts of human settlements, highlighting their capacity to coexist with human activities. Their ability to thrive in diverse habitats makes the Side-striped Jackal a versatile species, contributing to its widespread presence across the African continent. However, this adaptability also exposes them to anthropogenic threats, including habitat loss and conflicts with humans, emphasizing the need for comprehensive conservation strategies to ensure their continued survival across their expansive range.

1.2. Significance in African Ecosystems

As a mesopredator, the Side-striped Jackal plays a pivotal role in regulating prey populations, contributing to the overall balance of ecosystems. Its presence is indicative of the health and functionality of African landscapes.

2. Morphology and Physical Characteristics

2.1. Body Structure

The Side-striped Jackal possesses a distinctive physical structure characterized by a lean body, pointed muzzle, and large ears. This anatomical design facilitates agility, crucial for its survival in diverse habitats.

2.2. Unique Features: Side Stripes

A defining feature of the Side-striped Jackal is the conspicuous white stripe running along each side of its body. This unique marking, combined with its overall coloration, aids in camouflage and possibly serves communicative purposes within its social groups.

2.3. Adaptations for Survival

The jackal has evolved various adaptations for survival, including keen senses of sight and hearing. These adaptations contribute to its prowess as a nocturnal hunter, allowing it to locate prey and navigate its environment effectively.

3. Behavior and Social Structure

3.1. Nocturnal Behavior

The Side-striped Jackal is primarily nocturnal, exhibiting heightened activity during the night. This behavior is an adaptation to avoid diurnal predators and take advantage of the cooler nighttime temperatures for hunting.

3.2. Hunting Habits and Diet

As an omnivore, the jackal's diet is diverse and includes small mammals, birds, insects, and plant matter. Its hunting habits are characterized by coordinated group efforts within family units, enhancing the efficiency of capturing prey.

3.3. Family Groups and Social Dynamics

Side-striped Jackals typically form monogamous family groups, consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring. Social bonds within these family units contribute to cooperative hunting, territory defense, and the rearing of offspring.

4. Reproductive Biology

4.1. Reproductive Anatomy

Sexual dimorphism is evident in Side-striped Jackals, with males generally being larger than females. Reproductive anatomy aligns with their monogamous social structure, emphasizing the importance of pair bonding.

4.2. Mating Behavior

Mating behavior involves intricate rituals and vocalizations, strengthening the bond between mates. The pair shares responsibilities during the mating season, including territory defense and caring for the offspring.

4.3. Parental Care and Offspring Development

Parental care is a crucial aspect of Side-striped Jackal behavior. Both parents contribute to the care and protection of their young, playing a role in the survival and development of the offspring.

5. Ecological Role

5.1. Keystone Species Considerations

The Side-striped Jackal, as a mesopredator, occupies a vital position in the food web, regulating prey populations and influencing the structure of ecosystems. Its role as a keystone species underscores the importance of its presence in maintaining ecological balance.

5.2. Impact on Local Fauna and Flora

Through predation, the jackal influences the distribution and abundance of prey species, preventing overpopulation and associated ecological imbalances. Additionally, the species may contribute to seed dispersal through its dietary habits, influencing vegetation dynamics.

5.3. Interactions with Other Carnivores

Interactions with other carnivores, including larger predators like lions and hyenas, shape the behavioral and ecological dynamics of the Side-striped Jackal. Competition for resources and potential conflicts influence its spatial and temporal behavior.

6. Conservation Status and Threats

6.1. Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Side-striped Jackal varies across its range, with populations facing different threats. Comprehensive data on its conservation status are essential for targeted conservation efforts.

6.2. Human-Wildlife Conflict

Human-wildlife conflict poses a significant threat to Side-striped Jackals, particularly in areas where their territories overlap with human activities. Issues such as livestock predation can lead to retaliatory killings and habitat degradation.

6.3. Habitat Loss and Fragmentation

Human-induced habitat loss and fragmentation are significant threats to the jackal's survival. Agricultural expansion, urbanization, and infrastructure development contribute to the degradation of its natural habitat.

7. Conservation Measures and Research Initiatives

7.1. Existing Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts for the Side-striped Jackal involve initiatives to reduce human-wildlife conflict, protect critical habitats, and raise awareness about the species' ecological importance. Collaboration with local communities is integral to the success of such efforts.

7.2. Importance of Habitat Preservation

Preserving natural habitats, including protected areas and wildlife corridors, is crucial for maintaining viable populations of Side-striped Jackals. Habitat preservation ensures that the species can continue to fulfill its ecological role.

7.3. Research Needs for a Comprehensive Understanding

Comprehensive research initiatives should focus on understanding the species' population dynamics, behavior, and response to changing environments. Such research is essential for developing effective conservation strategies that address specific threats to Side-striped Jackals.

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Entry Collection: Carnivore
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 04 Feb 2024
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