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Lepus flavigularis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA LAGOMORPHA LEPORIDAE

Scientific Name: Lepus flavigularis
Species Authority: Wagner, 1844
Common Name(s):
English Tehuantepec Jackrabbit, Tropical Hare, Tehuantepec Jack Rabbit, Tehuantepec Hare
Spanish Liebre De Tehuantepec, Liebre Tehuana
Taxonomic Notes: No subspecies are recognized (Hall 1981, Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2b+3c; B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,v); C1; D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Cervantes, F.A., Lorenzo, C., Farías, V. & Vargas, J.
Reviewer(s): Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
Justification:
There has been a population reduction of greater than 50% where the causes are a decline in extent of occurrence and habitat quality; the causes of reduction have not ceased. Extent of occurrence is perhaps only 520 km² and area of occupancy is less than 100 km² (possibly only 67 km²). There are only four separated and small populations of Tehuantepec jackrabbit. Ongoing decline in the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, area and quality of habitat, and number of mature individuals of Tehuantepec jackrabbit threatens this species. Total population size is estimated as less than 1000 individuals.
History:
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: According to Chapman et al. (1983) this species existed only from Salina Cruz, Oaxaca to the extreme west of the State of Chiapas, Mexico. Recently, Tehuantepec hares have not been found in Chiapas (Retana and Lorenzo 2002). The area occupied in the past was apparently 150 km², but increasing clearance for agriculture is destroying most of its habitat. The former distribution of the Tehuantepec jackrabbit is not documented in detail, but Nelson (1909) estimated the leporid's historic range along the Mexican Pacific Coast on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Salina Cruz in Oaxaca to Tonalá in Chiapas, as an area of perhaps only 5,000 km². Four populations of Tehuantepec hare persist, and the extent of occurrence is perhaps only 520 km². This hare inhabits altitudes at no more than 500 m.
Countries:
Native:
Mexico (Oaxaca)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population size is estimated as less than 1,000 individuals. The four populations are rare and all are isolated from each other.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: At present, this jackrabbit is restricted to grasslands with open shrub and tree cover, and coastal grassy dunes which never exceed a 4-5 km wide strip along the shores of salt water lagoons on the north side of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. It co-exists with the eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus and is crepuscular and nocturnal. Tropical dry savannas of native grasses with an over story of sparse bushes (Byrsonima crassifolia, Opuntia decumbens, Opuntia tehuantepecana), and scattered trees (Crescentia spp.) are the vegetation communities selected by Tehuantepec jackrabbits. Tehuantepec jackrabbits are also found in coastal grassy dunes with Sabal mexicana. Grasses in savannas and coastal dunes are dominated by Paspalum and Bouteloua. Annual home range and core area sizes averaged 55.5 ha (range 27.6-99.7 ha) and 8.5 ha (range 2.1-13.3 ha) for adult jackrabbits of both sexes (n=10) using the 95% and 50% fixed kernal isopleths, respectively. Similar home range size between sexes and home range overlap with more than one individual suggest that Tehuantepec hares have a polygamous mating system and a non-territorial social organization. The length of the breeding season may extend from February to December, with a peak in reproduction during the rainy season (from May to October). Mean litter size is two, with a range of one to four embryos (Farías pers. comm.). Data are from museum specimens of Tehuantepec jackrabbits at the Colección Nacional de Mamíferos from the Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México of females that were pregnant (Farías pers. comm.). The total length is 59.5 cm (Hall and Kelson 1959). This species reaches maturity at six to seven months for both sexes (Farías 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted locally for subsistence and very occasionally taken as a pet.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species' habitat is threatened by encroaching agriculture as the local human population expands. In addition, the species is shot by numerous parties of hunters coming from cities up to 200 km away to shoot deer by spotlighting at night. The extent of occurrence of Tehuantepec jackrabbits is jeopardized by habitat alteration and degradation by introduction of exotic grasses, human-induced fires, agriculture, cattle-raising activities, and human settlements in savannas. Predation was the major cause of mortality for radio-marked jackrabbits and accounted for 94% of juvenile deaths and 67% of adult deaths during a 29 month study. Human-induced fires in the savanna accounted for 20% of adult deaths. Poaching accounted for 13% of adult deaths, and for 6% of juvenile deaths. There is also low genetic variation. Habitat reduction has been estimated at 8-29% over the last 24 years (Cuáron and de Grammont pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is listed as critically endangered in the Mexican Official Norm NOM-059-ECOL-2001. Conservation laws are not enforced by local authorities in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Citation: Cervantes, F.A., Lorenzo, C., Farías, V. & Vargas, J. 2008. Lepus flavigularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 July 2014.
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