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Lepus callotis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA LAGOMORPHA LEPORIDAE

Scientific Name: Lepus callotis
Species Authority: Wagler, 1830
Common Name(s):
English White-sided Jackrabbit
Spanish Liebre Torda
Taxonomic Notes: There are currently two recognized subspecies, Lepus callotis callotis and L. c. gaillardi (Hall 1981, Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Mexican Association for Conservation and Study of Lagomorphs (AMCELA), Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H.
Reviewer(s): Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
Justification:
Lepus callotis is a widespread species. There is a general lack of data regarding current population status in Mexico, the bulk of its distribution. There are reports of declines for the isolated population in New Mexico and in Durango, Mexico (Flux and Angermann 1990, Best and Henry 1993). L. callotis was listed as threatened by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in 1975 and remains at that threat status (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 2006). Furthermore, habitat changes preferred by L. californicus have led to the exclusion of L. callotis in several areas (Bednarz and Cook 1984; Best and Henry 1993). It is inferred that this will only exacerbate the issue of population decline. Therefore, efforts to determine population decline should be implemented, as this species may qualify for listing as Vulnerable under criteria A2abce or A3bce.
History:
1994 Indeterminate (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Lepus callotis is nearly endemic to Mexico, distributed from southwestern New Mexico (USA) to northern Oaxaca (Mexico) (Hall 1981, Best and Henry 1993, Villa-Ramirez and Cervantes 2003). L. callotis has been observed at an elevation of 2,550 m in Puebla and 750 m in Morelos (Best and Henry 1993). L. c. gaillardi has a discontinuous distribution that extends from southwestern New Mexico, USA to north-central Durango, Mexico (Best and Henry 1993). In Mexico, there are two isolated populations, one in central Chihuahua and the other extending from south-central Chihuahua into Durango (Martinez-Villeda 2006). Its distribution in southwestern New Mexico is restricted to two locations in Hidalgo County at elevations between 1,500-1,600 m (Flux and Angermann 1990). In 1950, there was a potential sighting of two L. c. gaillardi on the west side of the Huachuca Mountains in Arizona (Hoffmeister1986). The total range in the USA is estimated to be 120 km² (Bednarz and Cook 1984). L. c. callotis is distributed from the central part of east Durango toward the plains of the central part of Mexico, along the axis Neovolcanic to northern Guerrero and Oaxaca (Best and Henry 1993, Villa-Ramirez and Cervantes 2003).
Countries:
Native:
Mexico (Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México Distrito Federal - Possibly Extinct, México State, Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Zacatecas); United States (New Mexico)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In 1976, the density of L. callotis was estimated at 1/31.6 ha in New Mexico, producing a maximum population of 340 hares (Bednarz 1977). Between 1976 and 1981, the restricted population in New Mexico has experienced a nearly 50% decline due to habitat change (Flux and Angermann 1990). This decline has been accompanied by an increase in the presence of L. californicus and Sylvilagus audubonii (Best and Henry 1993).

Population information for Mexico is scarce (Flux and Angermann 1990). There has been an observed decline in population numbers for Durango (Best and Henry 1993). A survey conducted from 1998-1999 on the semi-desert and plains grasslands habitats in Chihuahua, Mexico determined L. callotis densities of 0.01/ha and 0.06/ha, respectively (Desmond 2004).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: L. callotis is restricted to high grasslands in New Mexico (Flux and Angermann 1990). In the area surrounding the valleys inhabited by this species, overgrazing has caused the presence of shrub to increase, resulting in the increase of Lepus californicus and exclusion of L. callotis (Bednarz and Cook 1984). This problem has been identified in parts of Mexico, as well (Best and Henry 1993). In Zacatecas (Mexico) it lives in plains of open grasslands. In Queretaro (Mexico) it is associated with cultivated areas and corrals (potreros).

Breeding season varies from the middle of April to August and the average litter size is 2.2 (range 1-4) (Anderson 1972; Bogan and Jones 1975; Bednarz 1977). L. callotis is capable of producing at least three litters per year during the breeding season (Bednarz 1977). It is common to observe individuals in pairs, particularly in the breeding season. L. callotis is strictly nocturnal (Flux and Angermann 1990). An average total length for this species is 55.0 cm (Best and Henry 1993). Their diet is almost exclusively grasses, but may consist of roots during dry seasons (Bednarz 1977).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Changes in habitat due to overgrazing negatively impact L. callotis resulting in L. californicus encroachment (Flux and Angermann 1990, Desmond 2004). In some places, there is competition with L. californicus. Additional threats are hunting for sport and local subsistence, human perturbation and exotic predation. In some places the animal competition (livestock), habitat fragmentation and human-induced fires represent important threats for their populations. A model generated for climate conditions in 2050 indicated a 60% range reduction from the current potential range for this species (Martinez-Villeda 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research should be concentrated on determining population numbers and range, as well as efforts to establish trends and monitoring. Population decline in New Mexico prompted the listing of L. callotis as threatened in 1975 by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 2006). Efforts have been made to monitor population status and trends in New Mexico, as well as, encouraging shrub control and non-detrimental grazing practices by local landowners within L. callotis habitat (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 2006). Range reduction, indicated by climate change models, is expected to be more severe in the northern portion of this species' range. Is it suggested that assessments be made of the population density of L. c. gaillardi and habitat transformation, to determine that impact future changes will have on its survival (Martinez-Villeda 2006).

Citation: Mexican Association for Conservation and Study of Lagomorphs (AMCELA), Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H. 2008. Lepus callotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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