Georgi Georgiev Markov, Maria A. Kocheva, Milena G. Gospodinova



A population craniometric analysis of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) from Bulgaria was carried out using 18 linear skull and dental parameters. The analysis included 106 individuals (52 males and 54 females), originating from 3 geographic populations with different density. Age variation, sexual dimorphism and geographic variation of the size of the cranium were assessed order to resolve the phenetic similarity of the Bulgarian golden jackal populations. The obtained data confirmed the high degree of sexual dimorphism of the skull. The multivariate statistical assessment of the population skull features in the adult Bulgarian golden jackals, performed separately by gender, demonstrated that at population level in both sexes they have resolution ability and can be used for classification of the individuals to certain geographic populations of the species in Bulgaria. Moreover, the patterns of population craniological variation manifested low degree of craniological similarity among the golden jackals inhabiting the Eastern (Southern and South-western Bulgaria) and Western (Dalmatia, Croatia) Balkans, whereupon revealing their craniometric heterogeneity in the Balkan Peninsula. Thus, it is necessary to use the morphometric data in combination with other methods to establish the phenetic similarity between golden jackal populations, especially at subspecies rank in the Balkan Peninsula.


Golden jackal, Canis aureus, Bulgaria, craniometric identity, craniological variation, phenetic similarity

Full Text:



ABHFU 2010. Number of game animals shot in Bulgaria. Archive of the Bulgarian Hunters’ and Fishermen's Union. Sofia

AEFA 1983. Game numbers in Bulgaria. Archive of the Executive Forest Agency of Ministry of Agriculture and Foods of R. Bulgaria. Sofia

AEFA 1999. Game numbers in Bulgaria. Archive of the Executive Forest Agency of Ministry of Agriculture and Foods of R. Bulgaria. Sofia

AEFA 2014. Game numbers in Bulgaria. Archive of the Executive Forest Agency of Ministry of Agriculture and Foods of R. Bulgaria. Sofia

Arnold, J., Humer A., Heltai, M., Murariu, D., Spassov, N. & Hacklander, K. (2012) Current status and distribution of golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe, Mammal Review 42, pp. 1–11

Atanasov, N. (1953) Studies on the golden jackal (Canis aureus L. 1758) in Bulgaria, Zoology Bulletin of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, pp. 189-207. [in Bulgarian]

Botev, N., Kolev, I. & Ivanov, P. (1979) Jackal in Bulgaria, Hunting and fishing, 5, pp. 6-7. [in Bulgarian].

Georgiev, M. 1991. Physical Geography of Bulgaria. Sofia University Press. "St. Kliment Ohridski". 406 p. [in Bulgarian].

Jhala Y. & Moehlman, P. 2008. Canis aureus. In: IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2010.4.

Kristufek, B. & 9Tvrtkovic, N. (1990) Variability and identity of the jackals (Canis aureus) of Dalmatia, Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien, 91, pp. 7-25.

Lombaard, D. (1971) Age determination and growth curves in the black-backed jackal, Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 27, pp. 135-169.

Markov, G. (2011a). Bulgaria: the country with the largest number of European jackal, In: Kryštufek, B. (Ed.). Jackals around us, Lovec, 5, pp. 248-253.

Markov, G. (2011b). Population number dynamic of the jackal (Canis aureus L., 1758) in Bulgaria: past, present and future. In: Materials of International Conference of zoologists “Actual problems of protection and sustainable use of the animal world diversity. Chisinau 2011, pp. 42-43

Markov, G. (2012) Jackal (Canis aureus L.) in Bulgaria: What is going on? Acta zoologica bulgarica, Supplement 4, pp.: 67-71

Novikov, G. A. (1956) Carnivorous mammal fauna of the USSR. Moscow-Leningrad. Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. p. 296 (in Russian)

Nowak, R. M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth Edition. Volumes I. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore.

Pomakov, V. (1981) Some data of the golden jackal population in Bulgaria. Regional Symposium UNESCO. Proceedings. 585-591. [In Bulgarian]

Porobić, J., Ćirović, D. & Jojić, V. (2016) Cranial variability of the Serbian golden jackal: Geographic variation, sexual dimorphism and allometry, Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology, 261, pp. 38-47

Raychev, E., Dimitrov, R., Dimova, T. & Hristov, H. (1999) How to determine the age of the golden jackal Canis aureus by cutting-teeth atrition and ossification of basal cranial synchondroses, Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 5, pp. 807-810

Sillero-Zubiri C., Hoffmann, M. & Macdonald, D. W. (2004) Canids: Foxes. Wolves. Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. IUCN. Gland. Switzerland and Cambridge. UK. Available at:;

Spassov, N. (1989) The position of jackals in the Canis genus and life-history of the golden jackal (Canis aureus L. 1758) in Bulgaria and on the Balkans, Historia naturalis bulgarica, 1, pp. 44- 56.

Spassov, N. (2007) The Jackal. Canis aureus (Linnaeus 17Б8). – In: MITEVA S., B. MIHOVA. K. GEORGIEV. B. PETROV and D. VANSINK (eds) The Mammals Important for Conservation in Bulgaria, Dutch Mammal Society VZZ. Arnhem, the Netherlands, 6, pp. 234-238.

StatSoft. Inc. (2008) STATISTICA (Data analysis software system). Version 8.0.

Stoyanov, S. (2012) Craniometric differentiation of golden jackals (Canis aureus L. 1758) in Bulgaria. In: Proceedings. International symposium on hunting “Modem aspects of sustainable management of game population” Zemun-Belgrade. Serbia. pp. 48-56

Trouwborst A, Krofel M, Linnell JDC (2015) Legal implications of range expansions in a terrestrial carnivore: the case of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in Europe. Biodivers Conserv. 24(10), pp. 2593-2610

Van Valkenburgh, B. & Wayne, R. K. (1994) Shape divergence associated with size convergence in sympatric East African jackals, Ecology, 75 (6), pp. 1567–1581

Zachos, F.E., Cirovic, D., Kirschning, J., Otto, M., Hartl, G. B., Petersen, B. & Honnen, A. C. (2009) Genetic variability, differentiation, and founder effect in golden jackals (Canis aureus) from Serbia as revealed by mitochondrial DNA and nuclear microsatellite loci, Biochemical Genetics, 47(3-4), pp. 241–250



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


ISSN: 2335-0113

Publisher: Visio Mundi Academic Media Group

Creative Commons License
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.