Fidelity may not be a virture found in every species, but it is in coyotes. During a study of 236 of them in the Chicago area over six years, researchers found no evidence of a coyote straying from its mate:
"I was surprised we didn't find any cheating going on," said study co-author Stan Gehrt, a wildlife ecologist with Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources. "Even with all the opportunities for the coyotes to philander, they really don't. [...]
The loyalty of coyotes to their mates may be a key to their success in urban areas, according to Gehrt.
Not only does a female coyote have the natural ability to produce large litters of young during times of abundance, such as when living in food-rich cities, she has a faithful partner to help raise them all.
"If the female were to try to raise those large litters by herself, she wouldn't be able to do it," said Gehrt, who holds appointments with the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension. "But the male spends just as much time helping to raise those pups as the female does."
Unlike the males of polygamous species, a male coyote "knows that every one of those pups is his offspring" and has a clear genetic stake in helping them survive, Gehrt said.