Lepus habessinicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Leporidae

Scientific Name: Lepus habessinicus
Species Authority: Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1832
Common Name(s):
English Abyssinian Hare
Taxonomic Notes: There is some taxonomic confusion regarding species status for Lepus habessinicus. Some postulate that it deserves true species status based on sympatric distribution with Lepus capensis (Hoffmann and Smith 2005). Others claim it should be classified as subspecific to L. capensis (Angermann 1983, Azzaroli-Puccetti 1987, Boitani et al. 1999). It is suggested that biochemical analyses are required to determine the form's true taxonomic status (Azzaroli-Puccetti 1987).

There are no recognized subspecies for L. habessinicus (Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H.
Reviewer(s): Boyer, A.F. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
Lepus habessinicus is described as a widespread and abundant species (Flux and Angermann 1990). Its distribution may be increasing due to the effects of habitat change produced by overgrazing (Flux and Angermann 1990).
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The geographic distribution of Lepus habessinicus includes Somalia (excluding the southern region, eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and minor distribution in Sudan and possible distribution in the extreme north of Kenya (Yalden et al. 1986). It is suspected that this species' distribution is expanding into areas where overgrazing occurs (Flux and Angermann 1990). This species can be found at elevations that range from sea level up to 2,000 m (potentially as high as 2,500 m) (Yalden et al. 1996).
Countries occurrence:
Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Somalia; Sudan
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Lepus habessinicus is considered an abundant species (Flux and Angermann 1990).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Lepus habessinicus occupies a variety of habitats from open grassland, steppe, and savanna, to desert regions, where some shrub is required for cover (Flux and Angermann 1990). In these habitats, L. habessinicus replaces L. capensis (Flux and Angermann 1990). Other Lepus species occupy areas where shrub cover is denser (Flux and Angermann 1990). It is suspected that L. habessinicus is nocturnal, like the Cape hare (Flux and Angermann 1990). HB length of this species is 40.0-55.0 cm (Happold pers. comm.).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species are not known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in Awash National Park, Mago National Park, and possibly Yangudi-Rassa National Park (Yalden et al. 1996). It has been suggested that the range of Lepus habessinicus may be expanding into areas where overgrazing occurs (Flux and Angermann 1990). Research to determine its true geographic distribution should be conducted.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Marginal  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

Bibliography [top]

Angermann, R. 1983. The taxonomy of Old World Lepus. Acta Zoologica Fennica 174: 17-21.

Azzaroli-Puccetti, M. L. 1987. The Systematic relationships of hares genus Lepus of the horn of Africa. Cimbebasia Series 9(1): 1-22.

Boitani, L., Corsi, F., De Biase, A., D'Inzillo Caranza, I., Ravagli, M., Reggiani, G., Sinibaldi, I. and Trapanese, P. 1999. A Databank for the Conservation and Management of the African Mammals. Istituto di Ecologia Applicata, Rome, Italy.

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.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Yalden, D. W., Largen, M. J. and Kock, D. 1986. Catalogue of the mammals of Ethiopia. 6. Perissodactyla, Proboscidea, Hyracoidea, Lagomorpha, Tubulidentata, Sirenia and Cetacea. Monitore zoologico italiano/Italian Journal of Zoology, N.S. Supplemento 21(4): 31-103.

Yalden, D.W., Largen, M.J., Kock, D. and Hillman, J.C. 1996. Catalogue of the Mammals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 7. Revised checklist, zoogeography and conservation. Tropical Zoology 9(1): 73-164.

Citation: Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. 2008. Lepus habessinicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41289A10414356. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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