Lepus oiostolus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Lepus oiostolus
Species Authority: Hodgson, 1840
Common Name(s):
English Woolly Hare
Taxonomic Notes: There are four recognized subspecies: Lepus oiostolus hypsibius, L. o. oiostolus, L. o. pallipes, and L. o. przewalskii (Hoffmann and Smith 2005). L. o. przewalskii was formerly included with L. capensis (Hoffmann and Smith 2005). Molecular phylogenetics indicates that L. comus and oiostolus are sister taxa (Wu et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Indian CAMP Workshop & Johnston, C.H.
Reviewer(s): Smith, A.T. & Boyer, A.F. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
Lepus oiostolus is a widespread species that occurs in protected areas. There are no available data on population status, which should be addressed. The status of L. oiostolus in India has been assessed as Endangered (B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii)) due to restricted distribution, fragmentation and decline in habitat area and quality (Chakraborty et al. 2005). However, L. oiostolus was assessed as Least Concern in Nepal and China (Chakraborty et al. 2005, Smith and Xie 2008), which constitutes the bulk of the distribution range for L. oiostolus.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The geographic distribution of Lepus oiostolus includes western and central China, northern regions of Nepal and India (Smith and Xie 2008). Lepus oiostolus can be found at elevations between 3,000-5,300 m (Smith and Xie 2008).
China (Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet [or Xizang], Xinjiang, Yunnan); India (Jammu-Kashmir, Sikkim); Nepal
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no available data regarding population for Lepus oiostolus. Flux and Angermann (1990) speculated that numbers were "very low except in a few favored areas."
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Lepus oiostolus can be found occupying montane subtropical grasslands (Chakraborty et al. 2005). It also inhabits, "upland grasslands of various types, montane meadows, shrub meadows, and alpine cold desert" (Smith and Xie 2008). Diet is predominantly grasses and herbaceous plants (Smith and Xie 2008). This species only molts once a year (Flux and Angermann 1990; Smith and Xie 2008). L. oiostolus is primarily nocturnal, but can be observed during the day (Smith and Xie 2008). Breeding season for L. oiostolus begins in April (Smith and Xie 2008). This species produces two litters annually with four to six young per litter (Smith and Xie 2008). Total length is 40.0-58.0 cm (Smith and Xie 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested for local subsistence and fur trade (Chakraborty et al. 2005).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There has been an overall decrease in quality and total area of habitat available to Lepus oiostolus resulting from destruction and fuelwood harvesting (Chakraborty et al. 2005). This decline is estimated to be less than 20% since 1995 and is expected to continue at a similar rate until 2015 (Chakraborty et al. 2005). In India, habitat destruction has resulted in population fragmentation and the inability to migrate (Chakraborty et al. 2005). Subsistence harvesting by locals also poses a threat (Chakraborty et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in protected areas in Nepal (Annapurna, Makalu Barun, Sagarmatha, and Shey Phuskondo) (Chakraborty et al. 2005). In China, it occurs in Qinghaihuniaodao, Wolong, Zhumulangmafeng, Meihualutiebu (CSIS 2008), and Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserves (Liu et al. 2005). The status of Lepus oiostolus in India has been assessed as Endangered B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii), due to restricted distribution, fragmentation and decline in habitat area and quality (Chakraborty et al. 2005). However, L. oiostolus was regionally assessed as Least Concern in Nepal (Chakraborty et al. 2005) and China (Wang and Xie 2004).

Bibliography [top]

Chakraborty, S., Bhattacharyya, T. P. and Srinivasulu, C. 2005. Lepus oiostolus Hodgson, 1840. In: S. Molur, C. Srinivasulu, B. Srinivasulu, S. Walker, P. O. Nameer and L. Ravikumar (eds), Status of South Asian Non-volant Small Mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) Workshop Report, pp. 618 pp.. Coimbatore, India.

China Species Information Service. 2008. Lepus oiostolus. Available at:; (Accessed: May 28).

Flux, J. E. C. and Angermann, R. 1990. Chapter 4: The Hares and Jackrabbits. In: J. A. Chapman and J. E. C. Flux (eds), Rabbits, Hares and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, pp. 61-94. The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland.

Hoffmann, R. S. and Smith, A. T. 2005. Order Lagomorpha. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 185-211. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Liu, S., Sun, Z., Ran, J., Liu, Y., Fu, J., Cai, Y. and Lei, K. 2005. Mammalian survey of Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province. Acta Theriologica Sinica 25(3): 273-281.

Smith, A.T. and Xie, Y. (eds). 2008. A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Wang, S. and Xie, Y. 2004. China Species Red List. Vol. 1 Red List. Higher Education Press, Beijing, China.

Wu, C. H., Wu, J. P., Bunch, T. D., Li, Q. W., Wang, Y. X. and Zhang, Y. P. 2005. Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of Lepus in Eastern Asia based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37(1): 45-61.

Citation: Indian CAMP Workshop & Johnston, C.H. 2008. Lepus oiostolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
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