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

Lepus flavigularis - Tehuantepec jackrabbit (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)

  • Tehuantepec hare. (W2.Apr08.w17)
  • Tehuantepec jack rabbit. (W2.Apr08.w17)
  • Tropical hare. (J469.423.w1)
  • Lepus callotis flavigularis (J469.423.w1)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

  • Leveret. (B285.w5b)

Names for males

Names for females

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General Appearance

Adult:

General Information

  • All hares have well-furred feet. (B147)
  • "The upper parts of the body are usually brown or grayish brown, and the underparts are paler or white." (B147)
  • Some species of hare have black tips to their ears, and some have black fur on the upper side of their tail. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Large species with long ears. (B605.4.w4)
  • A bright ochrous buff hare with entirely buff ears (no black tips) and with a striped nape - median buff stripe flanked by a black stripe on either side running posteriorly from the base of each ear. Rump iron grey, underparts white with a yellow throat. (J469.423.w1)
  • "The yellow ears and the stripes on the nape are strongly diagnostic." (J469.423.w1)

Newborn:

General Information

  • Lepus spp. leverets are furred at birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

Similar Species

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

Sexual Dimorphism

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References

Species Authors & Referees

Author: Kathryn Pintus BSc MSc MSc (V.w115); Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

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

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

LENGTH
Adult:

General Lepus Information

  • 400-700 mm. (B147)
  • Males are usually smaller than females. (B147)
  • 40-76 cm. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Total length (three specimens) 565 - 610 mm. (J469.423.w1)

Newborns:

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Crown-rump length of two fully-developed embryos 175 and 178 mm. (J469.423.w1)

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

WEIGHT
Adult:

General Lepus Information

  • 1,350-7,000 g. (B147)
  • 1.2-5 kg. (B285.w5c)
  • "Hares are classic species in following Bergmann's Rule; weights in the far north reach 5 kg, most in temperate regions average 3 kg, and those at the equator are about 2 kg or less." It should be noted that there are exceptions to this rule within the genus. (B605.4.w4)

Newborns: --

GROWTH RATE --

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Head and Neck

Notes

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

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:

  • All lagomorphs have large ears relative to their body size. (B285.w5a)
  • Almost all Lepus species have long ears. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Ear length (three specimens, dry skins) 107 - 119 mm. (J469.423.w1)

Newborn: --

DENTITION:
Adult:

General Information

  • Rabbits and hares have a total of 28 teeth. (B285.w5a)
  • 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 straight cutting edge. (B147)
  • The peg teeth lack a cutting edge. (B147)

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)

Newborn:

General Information 

  • Leverets are born with their eyes open. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

General Information
  • All hares have well-furred feet. (B147)
  • Almost all Lepus species have large hind feet. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Hind foot length (three specimens) 115 - 134 mm. (J469.423.w1)

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Tail

Notes

General Lepus Information:

  • Leporids have a short tail. (B147)
  • 35-100 mm. (B147)
  • Average: 58 mm. (B430.w2)
  • Range: 48-76 mm. (B430.w2)
  • 3.5-12 cm. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Length (three specimens) 65 - 96 mm. (J469.423.w1)

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Adult:

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • "The upper parts are bright ochraceous buff strongly washed with black, the flanks, chin and underparts are white. The haunch and legs are very pale grey. The ears are uniform buff, with pale whitish tips, and the nape has a black stripe extending back from the base of each ear." (B605.4.w4)
  • A bright ochrous buff hare with entirely buff ears (no black tips) and with a striped nape - median buff stripe flanked by a black stripe on either side running posteriorly from the base of each ear, tapering to a point (may just be a black patch behind each ear when the pelage is well worn). Rump and backs of hind legs iron grey, with a black line along the middle of the rump and the upper surface of the tail; tail underside is grey. Throat yellowish ("rich ochrous buffy"), underparts and flanks white. (J469.423.w1)

Adult Colour variations:

General Information 

  • Some Lepus species moult into a white winter pelage (B147, B605.4.w4), the timing of which depends upon the number of daylight hours. (B147)
  • "All species that turn white in winter undergo two molts per year. Some species that molt twice, however, do not have a white winter pelage." In these species, the winter pelage is grey, whereas the summer fur is brown. (B147)

Newborn / Juvenile:

  • Lepus spp. leverets are furred at birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

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

Notes

The details below are from general lagomorph, leporid and Lepus information.

Skull
  • Leporids have an arched skull with a slight constriction between the orbits. (B147)
  • Lepus species have a skull that is lighter than the skull of rabbit species. (B605.4.w4)
Female reproductive tract
  • Female Lepus spp. have three to five pairs of mammary glands, with an extensive mass of mammary tissue. (B147, B287)
Male reproductive tract
  • Males lack a baculum (B147)
  • Testes are in the scrotum located in front of the penis (B147)
Digestive system
  • The largest part of the digestive tract is the caecum; this has a capacity up to ten times that of the stomach. (B147)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

Notes

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Very little information has been recorded for this species regarding reproduction. (B605.4.w4)

BREEDING SEASON:

General Information

  • The majority of Lepus species have a long breeding season. (B147)
  • Southern Lepus species breed throughout the year. (B285.w5c)
OESTRUS / OVULATION:

General Information

GESTATION / PREGNANCY:

General Information

  • 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)
  • Gestation for Lepus species varies, but can be up to 50 days. (B147,B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • "Two adult females collected on 7 February 1981 were pregnant, one with two embryos fully developed with CR lengths of 175 and 178mm." (B605.4.w4)
PARTURITION / BIRTH:

General Information

  • Leverets are precocial and are born into surface-depression forms. (B285.w5b)
  • Females give birth to their young in open areas, or in a shallow depression in the ground. (B147)
  • Leverets remain hidden within dense vegetation, and the female visits them in order to nurse them. (B147)
Neonatal / Development:

General Information

  • Leverets are precocial; they are born fully furred, with open eyes, and are able to move about soon after birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)
  • Young are only suckled briefly once every 24 hours. (B285.w5b)
  • Approximately three days after birth, leverets disperse to separate hiding locations. Leveret litter-mates will regroup for a brief suckling bout at a particular location at precisely defined intervals. Such regrouping often takes place around sunset. (B285.w5b)
LITTER SIZE:

General 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)
  • Litter sizes in Lepus species range from one to nine offspring. (B285.w5c)
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)
  • A female can produce up to three or four litters per year. (B430.w2)
LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION:

General 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)
  • Lepus young do not usually breed in their first year of life. (B147)
MALE SEASONAL VARIATION:

General Information

  • Testes are intra-abdominal outside the breeding season, descending into the scrotum during the breeding season. (B147)
LONGEVITY / MORTALITY:

General 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)
  • "Only a minority of hares survive their first year in the wild, though survivors can reach 5 years; in captivity, hares can live to 6 or 7 years." (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Low juvenile survival. (B623.w2)
  • Annual survival for adult females 0.51, males 0.36. (B623.w2)
  • Human-started fires responsible for 20% of adult mortalities. (B623.w2)
  • Poaching responsible for 13% of adult, 6% of juvenile mortality. (B623.w2)
  • Predation responsible for 94% of juvenile and 67% of adult mortality. (B623.w2)

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Natural Diet

Notes

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

NATURAL DIET:

General Lepus Information

  • Hares mainly eat grasses and herbaceous plants, but do also feed on twigs, buds and bark. (B147)

  • Isolated cases have been reported of hares capturing and eating voles and young lagomorphs. (B147)

QUANTITY EATEN: --

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

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

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): --

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION): --

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE): --

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY):

General 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 faecal 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 faecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: 

  • All the Lepus species have 48 chromosomes. (B605.4.w4)

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM: --

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS:

General Information

  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chin 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. (B285.w5b, B430.w2)
  • The North American leporids have large ears with highly-developed hearing, an adaptation which allows them to detect predators when foraging in open habitats. (B430.w2)
  • Hares communicate with each other by drumming their feet. (B147)
  • Deep grumbling has been reported in Lepus species, and shrill calls are emitted when the animal is in pain. (B285.w5c)
  • "When seeking the young for nursing, females call the young and are answered." (B147)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Notes

Note: There is very little data specific to this species so the details below are from general lagomorph information.
General Information
  • Lagomorphs are well adapted for obtaining the greatest possible value from their food. They produce two types of faecal 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 to have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry faecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

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Parental Behaviour

Notes

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

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

Notes

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR:

General Information

  • Most North American leporid species are solitary, but congregations of these animals often occur in favoured feeding grounds. (B430.w2)
  • Hares are generally solitary animals. (B430.w2)
  • With the exception of the mating season (B147), most Lepus species are solitary. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • Hares communicate with each other by drumming their feet. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Very little information has been recorded for this species regarding behaviour. (B605.4.w4)

PREDATION: 

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Predation is the main cause of death; coyotes and grey foxes are probably the main predators. (B623.w2)

PREDATOR AVOIDANCE: 

General Information

  • Hares will run out into open areas and use their speed in order to avoid predators. (B285.w5b, B605.4.w4)
  • Speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph) have been reported for hares. (B285.w5b)
  • "Instead of seeking cover, hares rely on their well-developed running ability to escape from danger: also on camouflage, by flattening on vegetation." (B285.w5c)
  • Jackrabbits can avoid predators by crouching against the ground in any available cover. (B147)
  • Jackrabbits can avoid predators by crouching against the ground in any available cover. (B147)
    • Jackrabbits remain well hidden when crouching down in dense cover, but are often highly conspicuous when sitting up being vigilant or when running. (B147)
  • Jackrabbits are capable of running for greater distances than true rabbits (Sylvilagus sp.). (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Juveniles are less able to outrun predators than are adults, and rely on concealment to avoid being detected. (B623.w2)
    • Vegetation to conceal these animals may be lacking following human-induced fires; they may be more vulnerable to predation after fires. (B623.w2)

POPULATION DENSITIES:

General Lepus Information

  • Drastic, cyclic population density fluctuations occur in northern Lepus species. (B147)
  • Predator population cycles follow Lepus cycles; once predator populations have crashed, and vegetation has had the chance to regenerate, hare population numbers are able to start increasing once more. (B147)
HOME RANGES AND DISTANCES TRAVELLED:

General Lepus Information

  • "Habitat type has a marked effect on home-range size within each species, but differences also occur between species." (B285.w5c)
  • Lepus species vary greatly in their home range sizes, with some species having home ranges of only 4-20 hectares, and others exceeding 300 hectares. (B285.w5c)
  • Areas within a couple of metres of forms may be defended, but home ranges often overlap, often with common feeding grounds. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

Seasonal and annual home ranges have been measured at 58 hectares for females, 66 hectares for males, with core areas of none and 10 hectares respectively. (B623.w2)

TERRITORIALITY:

General 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)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Ranges have been shown to overlap with those of one to ten other hares; there is significantly less overlap in ranges between males than between females. (B623.w2)

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Sexual Behaviour

Notes

General Information
  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chin 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)
  • Male Lepus become bolder during the mating season, and engage in fights with other males, and pursue females. (B147)
  • Male Lepus fight by using boxing motions with their forefeet and kicking with their hind feet. (B147)
  • Males often bite and kick the females, often leading to serious injury. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Very little information has been recorded for this species regarding reproduction. (B605.4.w4)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

ACTIVITY PATTERNS:

General Information

  • All the lagomorphs are terrestrial. (B147)

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:

General Information

  • Hares and rabbits are generally at their most active at dusk or at night. (B430.w2)
  • Hares are, on the whole, nocturnal species, although some are known to be more active at twilight, and others are most active during the cooler parts of the day. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Exclusively nocturnal. (B285.w5c, B605.4.w4, J469.423.w1)
  • Rest during the day in a form. Active from dusk to dawn, foraging throughout the night. (B623.w2)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT:

General Information

  • The North American leporids are able to escape predators by taking instant flight at high speed. (B430.w2)
  • Leporids can run at speeds of up to 80 km/hr. (B147)
  • Jack rabbits " run rapidly and for greater distances than the true rabbits (Sylvilagus) that occupy much the same range. Unlike the latter, jack rabbits make rather long, high leaps." (B147)

NAVIGATION: --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Notes

General Information
  • Most Lepus species live in open grassy habitats. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • Jackrabbits tend to be found in areas of sparse vegetation. (B147)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Entirely tropical. (B623.w2, J469.423.w1)
  • "At present this jackrabbit is restricted to riparian vegetation, sand dune and shrub forest, which never exceeds a 4-5km wide strip along the shores of salt water lagoons on the north side of the Gulf of Tehuantepec." (B605.4.w4)
  • in Oaxaca, sand dunes and shrub forest in a 4 - 5 km strip along the shores of salt water lagoons found on the northern rim of the Gulf of Tehuantpec. (J469.423.w1)
  • Found up to 666 m. (J469.423.w1)
  • Found in "well-conserved grassy plains and coastal dunes." Grassy habitats with woody cover (open shrubbery, trees) is preferred; grassland without woody cover is underused and hare in these areas appear to have a higher risk of predation. (B623.w2)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

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

  • Hares tend to reside in caves or crevices in rocks. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus species do not usually dig burrows or live in them, favouring fleeing rather than hiding as a mode of escape. (B147)
  • The majority of hares rest underneath vegetation, generally lying within shallow dips in the ground (soil, snow or grass) known as 'forms'. (B147)
  • The majority of Lepus species live on the surface, but some do dig burrows or use tunnels and holes made by other animals. (B285.w5c)
  • Uses 'shelter forms' (small depressions within the ground or vegetation) to rest in during the day. Or may simply rest next to a plant. (B430.w2)

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Rest during the day in a form; nanche (Byrsonima crassifolia) shrubbery is preferred as a daytime resting place. (B623.w2)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information
  • Southern Mexico, very limited distribution. In the 1980s considered to have a range only from Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca, to the extreme west of the State of Chiapas. (B605.4.w4, J469.423.w1)
  • Note: "The area occupied in the past was apparently 150km2  but increasing clearance for agriculture is destroying most of its habitat." (B605.4.w4)
  • Southern Mexico. It is "...restricted to a narrow strip of sand dune shrub forest.". (B147)
  • Oaxaca, Southern Mexico. (B51)
  • "Restricted to sand-dune forest on shores of saltwater lagoons on N rim of Gulf of Tehuantepec (S Mexico)." (B285.w5c)
  • "Coastal plains and bordering foothills on south end of Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, Mexico), along Pacific coast to Chiapas (Mexico); now restricted to small area between Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, and extreme W Chiapas." (B607.w20)
  • Closely related to the Lepus callotis - White-sided jackrabbit. These two species have an isolated allopatric distribution. (B607.w20)

Geographic Sympatry

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information
  • This species has been regarded as "...a distinct species related to the white-sided jackrabbit L.callotis [Lepus callotis - White-sided jackrabbit] but separated geographically from all other Lepus species." (B605.4.w4)
  • Closely related to the White-sided jackrabbit (Lepus callotis). These two species have an isolated allopatric distribution. (B607.w20, J469.423.w1)

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Conservation Status

Notes

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE:

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Considered to be the most endangered Lepus species at present. (B605.4.w4)

GENERAL LEGISLATION: --

CITES LISTING: --

RED-DATA LIST STATUS:

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • IUCN - Endangered. (W2.Apr08.w17)
  • "...likely to be reclassified as IUCN - Critically Endangered." (B607.w20)

THREATS:

Specific Lepus flavigularis Information

  • Encroachment of agriculture upon its habitat. (B147, B605.4.w4, J469.423.w1)
  • Burning of vegetation. (J469.423.w1)
  • Hunting; hunting parties. (B147, B605.4.w4, J469.423.w1)

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: --

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: --

TRADE AND USE: --

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