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Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Lagomorpha / Leporidae / Pentalagus / Species

Pentalagus furnessi - Amami rabbit (Click photographs/illustrations for full picture & further details)

 

INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Amamino-kurousagi (Japanese) - black rabbit of Amami. (B605.11.w11)
  • Ryukyu rabbit. (B51, W2.Apr08.w68)
  • Caprolagus furnessi (J469.782.w1)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Names for males

Names for females

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General Appearance

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

Adult:

  • Medium sized rabbit with short ears, hind feet and tail, small eyes and thick, woolly dark brown fur (reddish on the sides and paler underneath). (B605.11.w11, B623.w3, J469.782.w1)

Newborn:

  • Short brown hair and closed eyes and ears (at two days old). (J511.38.w1)

Similar Species

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • This species is most easily distinguished from other lagomorph species by its dark fur. (B605.11.w11)
  • "It differs from typical lagomorphs (Lepus, for example [Lepus sp.]) by having small eyes and ears, a long snout and short limbs with relatively large nails for digging nest holes." (B605.11.w11)

Sexual Dimorphism

--

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References

Species Authors & Referees

Author: Kathryn Pintus BSc MSc MSc (V.w115)

ORGANISATIONS

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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Husbandry Information

Notes

  • --

Management Techniques

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Notes

LENGTH
Adult:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • 43 - 51 cm. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • 418 - 470 mm. (B605.11.w11)
  • 430 - 510 mm. (B287)
    • Males 430 - 470 mm, average 451 mm. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
    • Females 397 - 530 mm, average 452 mm. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)

Newborns: 

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Body length (nose tip to tail base) 150 mm at four days old. (J469.782.w1, J511.38.w1)

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: --
Juveniles: --

WEIGHT
Adult:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • 2 kg. (B147)
  • Males: 
    • 2,030 - 2,675 g, average 2,477g. (J469.782.w1)
    • Captive data: average maximum 2,710 g, with a 100 - 200 g monthly fluctuation; maximum in August to September. (J469.782.w1)
  • Females: 
    • 2,000 - 2,880 g, average 2,477g. (J469.782.w1)
    • Captive data: average maximum 2,730 g, with a 100 - 200 g monthly fluctuation; maximum in August to September. (J469.782.w1)

Newborns:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information 

  • 100 g at two days old (one individual). (J469.782.w1, J511.38.w1)

GROWTH RATE

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Reaching 25 - 35 mm long by 3 - 4 months old. (J469.782.w1)

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Head and Neck

Notes

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:

Adult:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • This species has a long snout. (B605.11.w11)
  • "The skull is low and broad between the orbits, and the rostrum is shorter and heavier than in other Leporidae."  The auditorry bullae are very small(B623.w3)
  • Ear:
    • This species has small, short ears. (B605.11.w11, B623.w3 J469.782.w1)
    • Length:
      • 4.5 cm. (B147, B285.w5c)
      • 41 - 45 mm. (B605.11.w11)
      • Males 40 - 50 mm, average 44 mm. (J469.782.w1)
      • Females 42 - 49 mm, average 45 mm. (J469.782.w1)

Newborn:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Ears still closed at two days old. (J469.782.w1)
  • Head 40 mm long, ear 15 mm long at four days old. (J469.782.w1)

DENTITION:

General lagomorph Information

  • The lower tooth rows are closer together than the upper tooth rows. (B147)
  • Lagomorphs differ from rodents by having two pairs of upper incisors rather than just the one pair. The additional set of incisors are called peg teeth and are found directly behind the long pair in the upper jaw. (B147, B285.w5a, B605.1.w1)
  • At birth, lagomorphs actually have three pairs of upper incisors, but they quickly lose the outer incisor on each side. (B147)
  • The incisors are covered completely by enamel. (B147)
  • The upper incisors' roots are found in the skull's premaxillary bones. However, the length of the lower incisors' roots varies. (B147)
    • [Note: lagomorphs have teeth which grow throughout their lives. For this reason the portion of the teeth which is not exposed (not above the gum line) is strictly speaking not a "root"; however, it is sometimes convenient to describe it as a root.]
  • The first upper incisors have a cutting edge which is V-shaped. (B147)
  • The peg teeth lack a cutting edge. (B147)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Has symmetrical grooves in the third lower premolar. (B147)
  • The dental formula is i 2/1, c 0/0, pm 3/2, m 2/3 x 2 = 26, slightly different from the usual for rabbits and hares of i 2/1, c 0/0, pm 3/2, m 3/3 x 2 = 28. (B147, B285.w5a)
    • i 2/1, c 0/0, pm 3/2, m 2-3/3 x 2 = 26 to 28. The third upper molar is sometimes absent. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Neonate (two days old) already had visible incisors. (J511.38.w1)

EYES:
Adult:

General Information

  • Lagomorph eyes are positioned such that they allow for good broad-field vision. (B285.w5a)
  • Hares and rabbits have large eyes which are adapted to both their crepuscular and nocturnal activity patterns. (B285.w5b)
  • Leporids have "large eyes to increase visual acuity in dim light." (B430.w2)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • This species has relatively small eyes. (B285.w5c, B605.11.w11, J469.782.w1)

Newborn:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • At two days, the eyes and ears were still closed. (J469.782.w1, J511.38.w1)

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • Short limbs. (B605.11.w11)
  • Hind foot length: 
    • 85 - 92 mm (without nails). (B605.11.w11)
      • Males 80 - 92 mm, average 86 mm. (J469.782.w1)
      • Females 83 - 92 mm, average 89 mm. (J469.782.w1)
  • Claws are heavy and curved. (B147, B623.w3)
  • This species has unusually long claws, between 1 and 2 cm long. (B147, B285.w5c, B623.w3)
  • Neonate: hindlimb 30 mm long, forelimb 15 mm long, at four days old. (J469.782.w1)

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Tail

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • Short. (J469.782.w1)
  • Length:
    • 11 - 35 mm. (B605.11.w11)
    • Males 20 - 35 mm, average 27 mm. (J469.782.w1)
    • Females 25 - 33 mm, average 30 mm. (J469.782.w1)
    • Neonate: 5 mm long at four days old. (J469.782.w1)

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Adult:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Has a thick and woolly coat. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • Dark fur. (B605.11.w11)
  • Upperparts are dark brown, whereas the underparts are more reddish. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • Dorsally dark brown, becoming more reddish on the sideas and paller reddish-brown underparts. (J469.782.w1)
  • Sides are reddish brown, and the underparts a light reddish brown. (B147)

Adult Colour variations: --

Newborn / Juvenile:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • At two days, there was short brown hair on the body. (J469.782.w1, J511.38.w1)

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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • This species is thought to have the "...greatest number of apparently primitive characters in the Leporidae [Leporidae - Rabbits and Hares (Family)]." (B147)
  • This species has:
    • Very broad transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae.
    • Long bony palate.
    • Narrow anterior palatal foramina.
    • Small orbits.
    • Small auditory bullae.

    (B147)

  • Vertebral formula 7 C, 12 T, 7 L, 4 S, 10 - 11 Ca (total 40 - 41). (J469.782.w1) Radius and ulna short and heavy, with radius distinctly shorter than ulna. Tarsal bones relatively wide, metatarsals short and heavy. Broad transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)

Female reproductive tract

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Three pairs of mammarry glands (one pectoral, one abdominal, one inguinal). (J469.782.w1)
Male reproductive tract
General Information
  • Males lack a baculum (B147)
  • Testes are in the scrotum located in front of the penis (B147)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Scrotum 21.8 - 29.5 mm long (average 26.5 mm long), 9.4 - 14.8 mm wide (average 12.8 mm). (J469.782.w1)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

Notes

BREEDING SEASON:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • This species has two breeding seasons. (B285.w5c)
  • Mating usually occurs in November and December. (B147, B605.11.w11)
  • A captive pair produced litters in late March to May and in September to December. (J469.782.w1)

OESTRUS / OVULATION:

General Leporid Information

GESTATION / PREGNANCY:

General Leporid Information

  • The gestation period for rabbits is usually between 27-30 days. (B285.w5b)
  • Under adverse conditions (such as during climatic or social stress), female lagomorphs are able to resorb embryos. (B285.w5a)
  • It is thought that some lagomorph species are able to conceive a second litter even before the last young is born; this is known as superfetation. (B285.w5a)

PARTURITION / BIRTH:

General Information

  • Newborn rabbits are born with very little or no fur, and their eyes do not open until 4-10 days after birth. (B285.w5b)
  • Rabbits produce altricial kittens (B285.w5b, B430.w2) which are born into fur-lined nests built either under dense cover or within underground chambers. (B285.w5b)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • The young are born in a short tunnel. (B147, B285.w5c)

Neonatal / Development:

General Leporid Information

  • Young are only suckled briefly once every 24 hours. (B285.w5b)
  • Rabbit kittens remain together within their breeding chambers. (B285.w5)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Young are born naked. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • The young are blind at birth. (B147)
  • At two days, the eyes and ears were still closed, there was short brown hair on the body, the incisors had erupted, and the nails were present. (J469.782.w1)
  • Young are first seen above ground in April or May. (B147, B605.11.w11)
  • The youngster stays in the chamber during daylight. (J469.782.w1)
  • Young driven away by the female at 3 - 4 moths. (J469.782.w1)

LITTER SIZE:

General Leporid Information

  • The size of litters produced by leporids at northern latitudes tends to be greater than those produced by leporids at southern latitudes. (B430.w2)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • One to three young per litter. (B285.w5c)
  • Two or three young per litter. (B147)
  • Mean litter size of one in litters from a pair at Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo. (J469.782.w1)

TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR:

General Information

  • The inter-birth interval in lagomorphs is reduced by the phenomenon of induced ovulation, and post-partum oestrus, which allows females to conceive immediately after she has given birth. (B285.w5a)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Several litters per year. (B147)

LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION:

General Leporid Information

  • Leporids only release milk once in every 24 hour period. (B285.w5b)
  • Leporid milk has a very high fat and protein content, and as such is highly nutritious. Although the lactation period is brief, the milk is pumped into the young at a high speed. (B285.w5b)
  • The lactation period has a duration of between 17 and 23 days. (B285.w5b)

SEXUAL MATURITY:

General Information

  • Most species of lagomorph reach sexual maturity relatively early. (B285.w5a)

MALE SEASONAL VARIATION: --

LONGEVITY / MORTALITY:

General Leporid Information

  • Rabbits and hares in the wild live for less than a year on average; a maximum age of 12 years has been recorded in a couple of species. (B285.w5b)

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Natural Diet

Notes

NATURAL DIET:

General Information

  • Lagomorphs only eat vegetation, mainly grasses and other herbaceous plants. Bark from young trees and small shrub stems may be eaten when food supplies are scarce. (B147, B285.w5c, B430.w2)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Feeds on a wide variety of plants, more than 29 species including herbaceous plants and shrubs. . (J469.782.w1)

  • The most important foods for this species are:

    • Summer: pampas grass (Miscanthus sinensis). (B147, B605.11.w11)

    • Winter: acorns (B147, B605.11.w11) of Castanopsis sieboldii. (B605.11.w11)

  • The diet of this species also includes the following:

    • Bamboo shoots. (B147)

    • Berries. (B147)

    • Leaves and stems of sweet potatoes. (B147)

  • This species is thought to feed on the following:

    • Leaves of Japanese pampas grass (Miscanthus sinensis).
    • Runners of the Japanese sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas).
    • Bamboo sprouts.
    • Acorns of the pasania tree (Castanopsis sieboldii).
    • The bark of forest trees.
    • Ficus erecta (Moraceae).
    • Podocarpus macrophyllus (Podocarpaceae).
    • Psychotria serpens.
    • Mussaenda parviflora.
    • Gardenia jasminoides (Rubiaceae).
    • Clerodendron trichotomum (Verbenaceae).
    • Mallotus japonicus (Euphorbiaceae).

    (B605.11.w11)

    • At least 12 herbaceous plant species and 17 shrub species are eaten. Fallen acorns of Castanopsis seiboldi are eaten. (B623.w3)

QUANTITY EATEN:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • In captivity: The raw amount of food per day eaten by a rabbit was measures as 360 g for runners of sweet potato Ipomoea batatus, 120 f for sprouts and young leaves of the Japanese pampas grass Miscanthus sinensis, 210 g for leaves and twigs of the fig tree Ficus erecta, and 140 g for leaves of the sugar cane Saccharum officinarum." (J469.782.w1)

STUDY METHODS: --

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Hibernation / Aestivation

Notes --

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Haematology / Biochemistry

Notes

HAEMATOLOGY: --

BIOCHEMISTRY: --

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in WILDPro)

Notes

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): --

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION): --

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE): --

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY):

General Lagomorph Information

  • Lagomorphs have digestive systems which are adapted for processing large quantities of vegetation. (B285.w5a)
  • Lagomorphs are well adapted for obtaining the greatest possible value from their food. They produce two types of fecal material: moist pellets and dry pellets. The moist pellets are expelled and then eaten (a behaviour known as coprophagy (B285.w5a)); this is done with little or no chewing, and as a result the majority of the food passes through the digestive tract twice (this is thought to have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry fecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Facal pellets discoid, with the central area swollen, 7.5 - 15.5 mm diameter (mode 11 mm). When fresh, shiny and smooth. Brown when the rabbit has been eating Japanese pampas grass, black when leaves and bark of trees and ferns have been eaten. (J469.782.w1)
  • Estimated 28.7 +/- 21.1 (SD) pellets deposited at one time, with 7 - 12 dungings per day occuring 1500 - 0600 hours, peak 1900 - 0400 hours, with 20 - 30 pellets deposited over a 10 - 30 minute period and (captive data) 62 - 221 average 147 pellets daily. Found along runways on the sides of streams etc. (J469.782.w1)
  • For captive rabbits weighing about 2.1-2.2 kg, about 50 -54 g pellets produced per day in about 175 - 205 pellets. (J469.782.w1)
  • Caecotrophy reported in captivity. (J511.38.w1)

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: --

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM: --

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS:

General Leporid Information

  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chins and in the groin, and are believed to play a key role in sexual communication, as well as in signalling social status in some gregarious species. (B285.w5b)
  • Whereas pikas tend to be more vocal, rabbits and hares rely strongly on scent rather than sound as a means of communication. (B285.w5b)
  • High-pitched distress squeals are emitted by leporids when captured by a predator, and specific alarm calls are produced in five rabbit species. (B285.w5b, B430.w2)
  • Some rabbit species thump the ground with their hind feet when faced with danger (B285.w5b, B430.w2); this reaction is thought to be a warning to nestlings underground. (B285.w5b)
  • The conspicuous white underside present on the tails of some rabbit species can act as a visual warning to other individuals when fleeing from a predator. These species tend to be found in more open habitats. (B285.w5b)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • When communicating with each other, this species makes clicking sounds. (B605.11.w11)
  • Vocalisation similar to that of pikas. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Beats ground with hind limbs. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Vocalisations and beating the ground are used to warn other rabbits when a human enters the area. (B623.w3)
  • When humans enter the area, a series of three or four "puyi" calls are made. (J469.782.w1)
  • Calls are made when these rabbits are captured, described as puyi", "puy" and "pi", also from the males, "qwa", "gwa", "qui", "qwau", "wwiq" and "quyic" and from females "kii" and "quyi". (J469.782.w1)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Notes

General Lagomorph Information
  • Lagomorphs are well adapted for obtaining the greatest possible value from their food. They produce two types of fecal material: moist pellets and dry pellets. The moist pellets are expelled and then eaten; this is done with little or no chewing, and as a result the majority of the food passes through the digestive tract twice (this is thought toe have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry fecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Clip and eat stems and twigs less than 10 mm diameter. Ear the bark of stems and twigs more than 7 mm in diameter. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Choose mainly the sprouts and young parts of plants, also nuts. (J469.782.w1)

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Parental Behaviour

Notes

General Leporid Information
  • Male leporids are not generally involved in care of the young. However, if adult females attack young leporids, males will intervene, a behaviour known as 'policing'. (B285.w5b)
  • Even maternal care of the young is not particularly prominent in leporids, hence this reproductive strategy is known as 'absentee parentism'. (B285.w5a)
  • Leporids demonstrate an unusual system of nursing; the young are suckled only briefly (often less than five minutes) just once every 24 hours. (B285.w5b)
  • It is thought that the lack of social contact between the mother and her young is a strategy which diminishes the chances of attracting the attention of predators. (B285.w5b)
  • The entrances to breeding tunnels are carefully re-sealed following each bout of suckling (B285.w5b)

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • A female will dig a tunnel approximately one metre long in which to give birth. (B147)
  • Digs a tunnel about 150 cm deep, with a 15 cm diameter entrance and a 30 cm diameter chamber for parturition/nursing. The chamber is filled with leaves. (J469.782.w1)
  • The female visits the nursing burrow in the evening (after 2000 - 2100 hours), removing the soil over the entrance and recovering it with soil, twigs and leaves when she departs (this takes about 30 s). When the young are 3 - 4 months old, she drives them away from the nursing burrow and from her own burrow. (J469.782.w1)

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

Notes

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR:

General Leporid Information

  • Rabbits are solitary to gregarious. (B430.w2)
Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • When communicating with each other, this species makes clicking sounds. (B605.11.w11)

PREDATION:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • The most important predators of this species are thought to be feral dogs and cats. (B147, B605.11.w11)
  • The introduced small Indian mongoose Herpestes javanicus (Herpestes sp.) is an important predator on Amami rabbits on Amami-Oshima island. (B623.w3)

PREDATOR AVOIDANCE:

General Leporid Information

  • Rabbits use dense cover to hide from predators. (B285.w5b)

POPULATION DENSITIES:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • A study conducted on Amani Oshima (with 693.78 kmē of suitable habitat) in 1977 carried out pellet counts over two days on three kilometres of forest roads. On average, 72.25 pellets/km/day were found and the population was estimated from this to be 6,000 total. A similar study in the same season a decade later resulted in counts of 38.5 pellets/km/day on 50.25 km of forest roads over 78 days; from this, the population estimate was revised to 3,750. (B605.11.w11)
  • By extrapolation, if the population density were similar on Tokuno-shima (forested area 111 kmē) there might be 500 rabbits on that island. However, since the rabbits do not appear to be found in areas close to human settlements, and more of the forest on the smaller island is near settlement, it is probable that the average population density is lower than on Amami Oshiman. (B605.11.w11)
  • Studies 1992-1994 estimated populations of 2,500 - 6,100 on Amami-Ohshima Island, 120 - 300 on Tokuno-Shima Island.  (J469.782.w1)

HOME RANGES AND DISTANCES TRAVELLED:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • Average home ranges for four males, 1.3 hectares and for three females, 1.0 hectares (based on radiotransmitter loactions). (J469.782.w1)

TERRITORIALITY:

General Leporid Information

  • The majority of hares and rabbits are non-territorial; some hares occupy home ranges of up to 300 ha (740 acres). Ranges of individuals may overlap in favoured feeding grounds. (B285.w5b)

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Sexual Behaviour

Notes

Note: There is very little data specific to this species so the details below are from general lagomorph information.

General Lagomorph Information

  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chins and in the groin, and are believed to play a key role in sexual communication, as well as in signalling social status in some gregarious species. (B285.w5b)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

ACTIVITY PATTERNS:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

  • At night, move away from their burrows, feeding and defecating in open areas (e.g. forest roads) 100 - 200 m from the burrow. (J469.782.w1)
  • Use runways to climb up and down steep slopes from burrows in valleys. Climb through undergrowth and mountain streams to reach open areas. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Able to climb logs at an angle of 70 degrees by using its long claws. (J469.782.w1)
  • Seen swimming in a stream and coming ashore. (J469.782.w1)

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information 

  • Nocturnal. (B147, B285.w5c, B605.11.w11)
  • Mainly nocturnal. Burrows are left at about 1700 hours (70% leave their burrows at 1500 - 1800 h), returning at 0600 h. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT: --

NAVIGATION: --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • Dense forest. (B285.w5c)
  • This species is thought to live "...mainly in old-growth forests but also utilizes the dense understory of secondary forests." (B147)
  • "The area of suitable forest habitat on Tokuno-shima is 111.2km2, while the forest area on Amami Oshima is 693.78km2." (B605.11.w11)
  • This species appears to be absent from areas located close to human settlements. (B605.11.w11)
  • Rabbit signs are not found in cultivated or residential areas. They are, however, found in forests of all successional stages. (B605.11.w11)
  • Originally lived in dense primary forests, now also in cut-over areas and forest edges covered by Miscanthus sinensis - Japanese pampas grass. (B605.11.w11, J469.782.w1)
  • "Early investigators postulated that these rabbits live in primary forest, probably because the islands were originally covered by dense natural forests." (B605.11.w11)
  • In winter, this species frequently uses the boundaries between young forests and primary forests. (B605.11.w11)
  • Droppings are found most frequently along forest roads which run through young secondary forests. (B605.11.w11)
  • Mountainous areas with 44% or 86% forest cover (different on two islands). Found "in coastal scarp rocks with cycads and in mountain forest with oaks." (J469.782.w1)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • Digs burrows. (B285.w5c)
  • Use burrows for nests and dens. (B605.11.w11)
  • "They frequently use passages through the undergrowth or climb up and down on steep slopes along forest roads." (B605.11.w11)
  • Burrows are mainly in valleys covered by dense forests and are round, with horizontal or slightly oblique entrances, 10 - 20 cm high, 12 - 25 cm wide and following a straight line for 30 - 200 cm; some are L-shaped and then bend up at a right angle followed by another straight 60 -185 cm to reach a 20 cm diameter chamber with a 6 cm deep layer of leaves. (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Tree bases, bases of rocks and the insides of fallen trees are used also, e.g. in the base of a tree, 15 cm high, 20 cm wide entrance slightly oblique downward, hollowed by a gentle 80 cm horizontal curve. (J469.782.w1)
  • Maximum temperature inside the nest (1.5 m inside) 18 - 26 °C, 5 - 9 °C lower than the external temperature (27 - 31 °C), with a lower differential temperature for maximum to minimum temperature within a day (1.5 - 2 °C, versus 8 - 11 °C). (B623.w3, J469.782.w1)
  • Young are born in short tunnels. (B147, B285.w5c, )
    • The female builds a tunnel approximately 1 metre long prior to giving birth. (B147)
  • A female will dig a tunnel approximately one metre long in which to give birth. (B147)
  • Digs a tunnel about 150 cm deep, with a 15 cm diameter entrance and a 30 cm diameter chamber for parturition/nursing. The chamber is filled with leaves. (J469.782.w1)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • Ryukyu Islands. (B51, B147)
  • Found on two of Japan's Amami Islands (B285.w5c, B607.w20): Amami-Oshima and Tokuno-shima. (B147, B605.11.w11, B607.w20)
  • Amami-Oshima has an area of 819.89 km2 and Tokuno-shima is smaller with an area of 248.43 km2. (B605.11.w11)
  • "The area of suitable forest habitat on Tokuno-shima is 111.2km2, while the forest area on Amami Oshima is 693.78km2." (B605.11.w11)
  • Range size estimated by pellet counts in 1992-1994: 334.7 kmē on Amami-Ohshima Island (47% of the island) and 33.0 kmē on Tokuno-Shima Island (13% of the island). (J469.782.w1)
    • It was noted that the range size on on Amami-Ohshima Island was 20 - 40% smaller than that previously estimated (1974, 1977). (J469.782.w1)
  • Range size estimated by pellet counts in 2002 - 2003, 301.4 kmē on Amami-Ohshima Island (42% of the island). (J469.782.w1)

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information
  • This is one of the most primitive lagomorphs. (B605.11.w11)
    • "Scientists recognize the rabbit as one of the living fossils, because its morphological traits are similar to fossil species found in the Miocene stratum." (B605.11.w11)

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Conservation Status

Notes

Specific Pentalagus furnessi Information

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE:

  • "By the early twentieth century the Ryukyu rabbit had been greatly reduced in numbers because of intensive hunting for food and its reputed medicinal value." (B147)
  • One population estimate approximated the total number of individuals in the population to be about 5,000. (B147)
  • A separate and more recent study found approximately 3,750 rabbits occupying an area of suitable habitat on Amami Oshiman (B147, B605.11.w11) measuring 694 sq km (B147). This same study indicated that fewer than 500 rabbits occupied a smaller area of 111 sq km on Tokuno-shima. (B147, B605.11.w11)
  • Even the more recent study approximating a population size of 3,750 individuals may be an overestimate due to the high frequency of rabbit tracks in the area on average compared to other forest sites. (B605.11.w11)
  • "A population estimate based on field observations was made only once on Amami Oshima, giving a total popuation of 6,000 on the island. However, this estimate was based on a small number of observations and the study area was located in the part of the island where density of rabbits was high compared to other areas." (B605.11.w11)
    • A study conducted in 1977 on Amami Oshima carried out pellet counts over two days on three kilometres of forest roads. On average, 72.25 pellets/km/day were found. A similar study in the same season a decade later resulted in counts of 38.5 pellets/km/day on 50.25 km of forest roads over 78 days. (B605.11.w11)
  • No estimates have been made for the population size on Tokuno-shima. (B605.11.w11)
  • In 1996, the IUCN estimated that the total population numbers fewer than 2,500 individuals. (B147)
  • "...its existence is not widely known among the people of Japan." (B605.11.w11)
  • Studies 1992-1994 estimated populations of 2,500 - 6,100 on Amami-Ohshima Island, 120 - 300 on Tokuno-Shima Island, giving a total of 2,600 - 6,400. A study based on pellet counts in 2002 - 2003 estimated 2,000 - 4,800: 20% lower than in 1994. (J469.782.w1)

GENERAL LEGISLATION:

  • U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) - Endangered. (B607.w20)
  • USDI - Endangered. (B147)
  • The population is protected from hunting. (B605.11.w11)
  • "In 1921 the species was officially designated a national monument and given complete legal protection by Japan." (B147)

CITES LISTING: --

RED-DATA LIST STATUS:

  • IUCN - Endangered. (W2.Apr08.w68)

THREATS:

  • Past threats included hunting of this species for food, as well as for its supposed medicinal uses. (B147)
  • Predation by stray dogs and cats. (B147)
  • Habitat loss due to deforestation, particularly of old-growth forest. (B147)
  • "...little attention has been paid to the management of its habitat." (B605.11.w11)

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: --

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: --

TRADE AND USE:

  • Hunted for food. (B147)
  • Thought to have medicinal value. (B147)

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