Sylvilagus dicei 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Leporidae

Scientific Name: Sylvilagus dicei Harris, 1932
Common Name(s):
English Dice's Cottontail
Taxonomic Notes: There are no recognized subspecies for this species. Formerly, Sylvilagus dicei was included in S. brasiliensis (Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-21
Assessor(s): Mora, J.M. & Ruedas, L. and Smith, A.T.
Reviewer(s): Battistoni, A.
Contributor(s): Boyer, A.F.
Sylvilagus dicei is not a well-known species, yet evidence suggests that in some portions of its range there are numerous potential threats. Thus, this species is possibly threatened due to its restricted range and invasive predators. It qualifies for Vulnerable B1 based on its extent of occurrence (EOO = 6,271 km²), few locations, and inferred continuing decline in quality of habitat.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Sylvilagus dicei occurs in a limited range only in the Cordillera de Talamanca of Costa Rica and in western Panama (Reid 1997) at high elevations (above 1,640 m in Cervantes, Costa Rica, to 3,800 m in Cerro Chirropo, Costa Rica). It occurs to 1,180 m at Rancho de Rio Jimenez in Panama (Diersing 1981).
Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica; Panama
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):1180
Upper elevation limit (metres):3800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Very little is known about population status of Sylvilagus dicei.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Very little is known about the ecology of Sylvilagus dicei, but it is presumed to be similar to S. brasiliensis, of which S. dicei was formerly a subspecies (Reid 1997). This species is most abundant in the paramo grasslands (such as those in the Chirropo massif) but also occurs in the shrublands and oak cloud forests surrounding and associated with these high elevation ecosystems (Schipper pers. comm).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Sylvilagus dicei was hunted until 2012, when this activity was outlawed in Costa Rica, however the species may still be hunted for game or subsistence in rural areas.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats that currently affect Sylvilagus dicei are poorly known (Chapman and Ceballos 1990) as few people have studied it. During several camera-trap studies in the paramo, high elevation grasslands and cloud forests of the Chirropo massif, the species was found to be relatively abundant throughout the region based on photographic evidence and scats (Schipper pers. comm.). However, interviews with locals in the area suggest that the species was previously more common than it is today, and likely had a larger distribution that extended down to lower elevations (which have since been converted to cattle pasture and other agriculture). The following are potential threats for S. dicei in the Talamanca mountain region of Costa Rica (Schipper pers. comm.):

1. Coyotes - a non-native carnivore (natural range expansion south following cattle) and is likely the greatest consumer of S. dicei in the Talamancans. Probably less of a threat in forested areas, but in paramo and grassland their bones are in nearly every scat found.

2. Fire - lower elevations of Talamanca are burned annually for range control, but the paramos burn periodically and completely over large areas (also human caused - accidental and intentional). This likely has a short term effect by removing forage and a longer term effect by removing hiding places.

3. Habitat loss - coupled with fire is the reduction of forest habitat along the lower reaches of the species' range. This has the effect of range contraction, as it is already limited entirely to the Montane forest areas, which are being logged and cleared for pasture right up to the park border.

4. Mesocarnivore population explosions - along the contact zone with S. dicei and humans there is intensive hunting of large mammal fauna, which has the indirect effect of increasing the number of mesocarnivores (coyotes, tayra, and other rabbit predators).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A status survey is needed for Sylvilagus dicei. Owing to a lack of knowledge about the species it is recommended that research be conducted on population, biology/ecology, threats, and use.

Citation: Mora, J.M. & Ruedas, L. and Smith, A.T. 2016. Sylvilagus dicei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T21209A45180947. . Downloaded on 23 May 2018.
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