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

Lepus mandshuricus - Manchurian hare (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)

  • Lepus melainus. (black form only). (B605.4.w4, B607.w20)
  • Lepus melanonotus. (B607.w20)

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 mandshuricus Information

  • Has long, thick, soft fur. "The back is blackish brown or rust brown with light yellow banded hairs, the breast, flanks and legs pinkish cinnamon, ears cinnamon buff, the neck dull rust-brown, belly whitish and tail grey with blackish-brown on top." The fur is much paler during the winter, and the underparts are white. Some individuals have what has been described as an 'ash-grey tinge' to their coat. (B605.4.w4)
  • A darker form also exists. (B605.4.w4)

Newborn:

General Information

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

Similar Species

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information
  • Of the four species of hares in Manchuria, this is the smallest. (B605.4.w4)

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:

General Lepus Information

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

Newborns: --

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

WEIGHT
Adult:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • This species weighs an average of 1.8 kg (range: 1.4-2.6 kg). (B605.4.w4)
  • The black form of this species (previously known as Lepus melainus) was thought to be smaller than the nominate form. However, more recent evidence has shown that this is not the case, with measurements from five black individuals ranging from 1.7-2.05 kg, with an average of 1.84 kg. (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)

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:

  • 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: 

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

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

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

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Tail

Notes

  • Leporids have a short tail. (B147)

General Lepus Information:

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

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Adult:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • The fur is long, soft and thick. (B605.4.w4)
  • "The back is blackish brown or rust brown with light yellow banded hairs, the breast, flanks and legs pinkish cinnamon, ears cinnamon buff, the neck dull rust-brown, belly whitish and tail grey with blackish-brown on top." (B605.4.w4)
  • The following has been used to describe the colouration of the black form of this species: "The back and flanks are shiny black with a slight brown tinge, the throat and chest cinnamon-buff, the belly white, the ears are black with a rusty fringe and the tail dark grey with black on the top. Some very long pale straw-colored hairs contrast with the dark back and flanks. There is a small white spot on the head." (B605.4.w4)

Adult Colour variations:

  • 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)

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • The fur is much paler during the winter, and the underparts are white. Some individuals have what has been described as an 'ash-grey tinge' to their coat. (B605.4.w4)

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

BREEDING SEASON:

General Information

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

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • The breeding season begins in mid-February. (B605.4.w4)

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)
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)

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • Litter size is usually one or two, though may be a big as four or five. (B605.4.w4)
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)

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • The number of litters per year is unknown for this species. (B605.4.w4)
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)

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Natural Diet

Notes

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)

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • Little information is available on the ecology of this species, but it is thought to feed upon twigs of birch, elm, linden, maple, wild apple and willow, as well as fallen fruit and a variety of shrubs and herbs. (B605.4.w4)

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):

  • 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:

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • Thought to be a solitary species. (B605.4.w4)
  • Has been described as a "shy" species. (B605.4.w4)
  • In areas of preferred habitat, "wide beaten tracks" are found, thus suggesting the passage of many individuals. (B605.4.w4)

PREDATION: --

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)

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • The black form is thought to be a possible adaptation to dark forests, in order to effectively conceal itself. (B605.4.w4)

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)

TERRITORIALITY:

  • 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 and Lepus  information.
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)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

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

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)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT:

General Information

  • Leporids can run at speeds of up to 80 km/hr. (B147)

NAVIGATION: --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Notes

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information
  • Mixed forests (B51, B605.4.w4, B607.w20) on ridges and southern slopes. (B605.4.w4)
  • Tends to favour areas where "tall Mongolian oak with an undergrowth of Manchurian hazelnut is dominant...and creepers and vines make the forest impenetrable." (B605.4.w4)
  • Tends to prefer hilly areas at altitudes of between 300 and 900 metres, with rock outcrops and cliffs. (B605.4.w4)
  • Tends not to reside in pure conifer forests, and is not usually found in open valleys or grassland. (B605.4.w4)
  • "...never approaches human habitation." (B605.4.w4)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information
  • This species tends to use holes in tree trunks as lairs. These tree trunks are open on one side. (B605.4.w4)
  • The black form is thought to conceal itself in hollow trees and burrows. (B605.4.w4)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information
  • This species is widely distributed in northern Manchuria, and is found as far north as the Bureya Mountains (approximately 50oN). Its range may also extend into Korea. (B605.4.w4)
  • Found in the Ussuri region of Russia, northeastern China and extreme northeastern Korea. (B607.w20)
  • "...lower Amur region of extreme southeastern Siberia, Manchuria, North Korea." (B147)
  • Manchuria. (B51)
  • "Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang (NE China), for NE Korea, Ussuri region (E Siberia, Russia)." (B285.w5c)
  • The black form is rarely found in the Ussuri Territory. Futher south in the Kirin Province, it is common. (B605.4.w4)

Geographic Sympatry

  • "...mandshuricus is sympatric with another forest species, timidus [Lepus timidus - Mountain hare], and with the plains species, tolai [Lepus tolai - Tolai hare]." (B607.w20)
  • "L.mandshuricus, L.timidus and L.tolai all occur in the area occupied by the taxon melainus; four species of sympatric hares, three of them forest-dwellers, is unprecedented in hare ecology, and supports the view that melainus is not a distinct species." (B607.w20)
  • In northeastern Korea and southeastern Heilungjiang, the Manchurian hare is parapatric in distribution with the Lepus coreanus - Korean hare. They occupy different habitats. (B607.w20)

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information
  • This species was moved to the genus Caprolagus, followed by Allolagus, before being shifted back to Lepus. (B605.4.w4)
  • Thought to be most closely related to the Lepus brachyurus - Japanese hare. (B605.4.w4)
  • Was once placed in Caprolagus brachyurus. (B607.w20)
  • "Melanic individuals...have been given the specific designation melainus...the range of this taxon is entirely within that of mandshurius, and we provisionally retain them in that species." (B607.w20)
  • The black form of this species has sometimes been considered to be a separate species (Lepus melainus), however it is presently considered to be merely a black form, as its habitat and ecology are thought to be the same, it is not geographically isolated and has a low density. (B605.4.w4)
  • Pure black hares have also been reported in Manchuria; these may be melanics of the Manchurian hare. (B605.4.w4)
  • The following has been said about the black form: "The taxonomic status of this species requires verification by biochemical methods and investigation of its life history and ecology. The widespread success of a melanic form which is not isolated on an island is unusual." (B605.4.w4)

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Conservation Status

Notes

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • Range decreasing. (B285.w5c)

GENERAL LEGISLATION: --

CITES LISTING: --

RED-DATA LIST STATUS:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information

  • IUCN - Lower Risk (least concern). (W2.Apr08.w22)

THREATS:

Specific Lepus mandshuricus Information 

  • Loss of habitat through deforestation. With the loss of forests, the tolai hare (Lepus capensis tolai) [Lepus tolai - Tolai hare] replaces the Manchurian hare. This has already occurred in eastern Manchuria. (B605.4.w4)
    • "Because the land is then occupied by the tolai hare L. capensis tolai [Lepus tolai - Tolai hare] any subsequent regrowth of forest may not be accessible and plantation forestry is likely to be too lacking in understorey plants." (B605.4.w4)
  • The black form, which is thought to be an adaptation to living in dark forests, will also suffer from deforestation. (B605.4.w4)

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: --

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: --

TRADE AND USE: --

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