Arctic Fox By Chelsey Andrade


Scientific Name (Species): Vulpes Lagopus

Kingdom: Animal Kingdom

Phylum: Chordate

Class: Mammal

Order: Carnivore

Genus: True Fox

The Arctic Fox is a very different kind of fox. It first evolved in the Glacial period, 2.6 million years ago, in Europe. They have round compact bodies, and their muzzles, ears, and legs are short, which makes them very agile. During the summer, they live in the Tundra by the edge of the forest; they fur is brown and thin. But in the winter, they go where the ice flows, their fur changes to become white and thick, to camouflage in the snow. It creates a burrow by a hillside or bank, that usually has more than one entrance. (Found Greenland, Russia, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, etc.)

Arctic Fox Contrast From Winter and Summer
Morphological/Molecular Evidence

Red Fox

  • Common Ancestor
  • Similar Body Size
  • Short Snout/ Rounded Ears

Swift Fox

  • Common Ancestor
  • Similar Weight
  • Similar Nuclear DNA
  • Similar Body Structure

Kit Fox

  • Common Ancestor
  • Similar Mitochondrial DNA
  • Similar Body Structure

Morphological Evidence:

  • Thicker fur for the winter
  • Incereased metabolic rate to maintain homeothermy
  • Short muzzle, ears and legs, and rounded body to reduce heat loss
  • Capillary rete in skin of pads to protect the fox from cold floors

Molecular Evidence:

  • Fat Metabolism genes
  • reduced Metabolism during starvation/harsh winters
  • Fur color change

This shows how Arctic Foxes have evolved, and gained new adaptations/genes that other foxes don't have.

Homologous Structures
Human and Arctic Fox Vertebrae

A Human uses it's vertebrae to stand upright, and it has additions to it's structure like it's five major sections: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, coccygeal; the Arctic Fox only has the the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar, which affects it's posture.

Sea Lion and Arctic Fox Shoulder Blade

The Sea Lion uses it's shoulder blade to help it swim, and it affects the way it walks on land. The Arctic Fox uses it's shoulder blade to help it walk around, run, etc.

Homologous Structures:

Homologous Structures show how an animal can have the same structure as another animal, but use it for a different purpose. This proves how animals have evolved from one another.

Vestigial Structures

A Polydactyly is an extra limb that can be found in many animals, like dogs, cats, etc. Scientists believe that the Polydactyly was a mutation in all these animals. It is possibly a dominant gene in Arctic Foxes.

Vestigial Structures:

A Vestigial Structure is something in an animal that was once useful in the past, but with evolution, it has lost it's use.

Transitional Fossils
Arctic Fox and Vulpes Qiuzhudingi Teeth Comparison

The Vulpes Qiuzhudingi was a type of fox that walked the Earth about 3.6-5 million years ago. Scientists believe that this fox is a recent ancestor of the Arctic Fox, due to both their teeth fossils.

Transitional Fossils:

A Transitional Fossil is a fossil remain of a life form that exhibits traits common to both ancestral groups and the derived descendant group.



Kit (baby)




Comparative Embryology:

Comparative Embryology compares and contrast embryos of different species, how all animals are related.


Created By
Chelsey Andrade


Created with images by tpsdave - "norway fox arctic" • shannonkringen - "foxy arctic fox" • NOAA Photo Library - "anim2003" • SteveRaubenstine - "fox wildlife red" • USFWS Mountain Prairie - "Living in a Prairie Dog Town" • USFWS Pacific Southwest Region - "San Joaquin kit fox" • diapicard - "arctic fox mammal fox"

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