Leporidae
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Leporidae is the
family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would off ...
of
rabbit Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small s in the (along with the ) of the (along with the ). ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' includes the species and its descendants, the world's of . ''Sylvilagus'' includes 13 wild rabbit ...

rabbit
s and
hare Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classificat ...

hare
s, containing over 60 species of extant
mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...
s in all. The Latin word ''Leporidae'' means "those that resemble ''lepus''" (hare). Together with the
pika A pika ( ; archaically spelled pica) is a small, mountain-dwelling mammal found in Asia and North America. With short limbs, very round body, an even coat of fur, and no external tail, they resemble their close relative, the rabbit, but with sho ...

pika
s, the Leporidae constitute the
mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...
ian
order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, and the habit of achieving a ...
Lagomorpha The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from g ...

Lagomorpha
. Leporidae differ from pikas in that they have short, furry tails and elongated ears and hind legs. The
common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as ...
"rabbit" usually applies to all genera in the family except ''
Lepus Hares and jackrabbits are Leporidae, leporids belonging to the genus ''Lepus''. Hares are classified in the same Family (biology), family as rabbits. They have similar herbivorous diets, but are generally larger in size than rabbits, have proporti ...

Lepus
'', while members of ''Lepus'' (almost half the species) usually are called hares. Like most common names however, the distinction does not match current taxonomy completely;
jackrabbit Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classificat ...

jackrabbit
s are members of ''Lepus'', and members of the genera ''
Pronolagus The red rock hares are the four species in the genus ''Pronolagus''. They are African lagomorphs of the family Leporidae. Taxonomic history Species in this genus had previously been classified in the genus ''Lepus'', as done by J. E. Gray, or in ...
'' and ''Caprolagus'' sometimes are called hares. Various countries across all continents except Antarctica, Zealandia and Australia have indigenous species of Leporidae. Furthermore, rabbits, most significantly the European rabbit, ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'', also have been introduced to most of Oceania and to many other islands, where they pose serious ecological and commercial threats.


Characteristics

Leporids are small to moderately sized mammals, adapted for rapid movement. They have long hind legs, with four toes on each foot, and shorter fore legs, with five toes each. The soles of their feet are hairy, to improve grip while running, and they have strong claws on all of their toes. Leporids also have distinctive, elongated and mobile ears, and they have an excellent sense of hearing. Their eyes are large, and their night vision is good, reflecting their primarily nocturnal or crepuscular mode of living. Leporids range in size from the pygmy rabbit (''Brachylagus idahoensis''), with a head and body length of 25–29 cm, and a weight of around 300 grams, to the European hare (''Lepus europaeus''), which is 50–76 cm in head-body length, and weighs from 2.5 to 5 kilograms. Female leporids are almost always larger than males, which is unusual among terrestrial mammals, in which males are usually the larger sex. Both rabbits and hares are almost exclusively herbivore, herbivorous (with exceptions among the members of ''Lepus''), feeding primarily on grasses and herbs, although they also eat leaves, fruit, and seeds of various kinds. They are Coprophagia, coprophagous, as they pass food through their digestive systems twice, first expelling it as soft green feces, called cecotropes, which they then reingest, eventually producing hard, dark fecal pellets. Like rodents, they have powerful front incisor teeth, but they also have a smaller second pair of incisors to either side of the main teeth in the upper jaw, and the structure is different from that of rodent incisors. Also like rodents, leporids lack any canine (tooth), canine teeth, but they do have more cheek teeth than rodents do. Their jaws also contain a large Diastema (dentistry), diastema. The dentition, dental formula of most, though not all, leporids is: They have adapted to a remarkable range of habitats, from desert to tundra, forests, mountains, and swampland. Rabbits generally dig permanent burrows for shelter, the exact form of which varies between species. In contrast, hares rarely dig shelters of any kind, and their bodies are more suited to fast running than to burrowing. The gestation period in leporids varies from around 28 to 50 days, and is generally longer in the hares. This is in part because young hares, or leverets, are born fully developed, with fur and open eyes, while rabbit kits are naked and blind at birth, having the security of the burrow to protect them. Leporids can have several litters a year, which can cause their population to expand dramatically in a short time when resources are plentiful.


Reproduction

Leporids are typically Polygynandry, polygynandrous, and have highly developed social systems. Their social hierarchies determine which males mate when the females go into estrus, which happens throughout the year. Gestation periods are variable, but in general, higher latitudes correspond to shorter gestation periods. Moreover, the gestation time and litter size correspond to predation rates as well. Species nesting below ground tend to have lower predation rates and have larger litters.


Evolution

The oldest known leporid species date from the late Eocene, by which time the family was already present in both North America and Asia. Over the course of their evolution, this group has become increasingly adapted to lives of fast running and leaping. For example, ''Palaeolagus'', an extinct rabbit from the Oligocene of North America, had shorter hind legs than modern forms (indicating it ran rather than hopped) though it was in most other respects quite rabbit-like. Two as yet unnamed fossil finds—dated ~48 Ma (from China) and ~53 Ma (India)—while primitive, display the characteristic leporid ankle, thus pushing the divergence of Ochotonidae and Leporidae yet further into the past. The cladogram is from Matthee et al., 2004, based on nuclear and mitochondrial gene analysis.


Classification

Family Leporidae:
rabbit Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small s in the (along with the ) of the (along with the ). ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' includes the species and its descendants, the world's of . ''Sylvilagus'' includes 13 wild rabbit ...

rabbit
s and
hare Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classificat ...

hare
s * Genus ''Pentalagus'' ** Amami Rabbit, Amami rabbit/Ryūkyū rabbit, ''Pentalagus furnessi'' * Genus ''Bunolagus'' ** Riverine rabbit, ''Bunolagus monticularis'' * Genus ''Nesolagus'' ** Sumatran striped rabbit, ''Nesolagus netscheri'' ** Annamite striped rabbit, ''Nesolagus timminsi'' * Genus ''Romerolagus'' ** Volcano rabbit, ''Romerolagus diazi'' * Genus ''Brachylagus'' ** Pygmy rabbit, ''Brachylagus idahoensis'' * Genus ''Sylvilagus'' ** Subgenus ''Tapeti'' *** Swamp rabbit, ''Sylvilagus aquaticus'' ***Andean tapetí, ''Sylvilagus andinus'' ***Bogota tapetí, ''Sylvilagus apollinaris'' ***Ecuadorian tapetí, ''Sylvilagus daulensis'' *** Common tapetí, ''Sylvilagus brasiliensis'' ***Fulvous tapetí, ''Sylvilagus fulvescens'' *** Dice's cottontail, ''Sylvilagus dicei'' ***Central American tapetí, ''Sylvilagus gabbi'' ***Northern tapetí, ''Sylvilagus incitatus'' *** Omilteme cottontail, ''Sylvilagus insonus'' ***Nicefor's tapetí, ''Sylvilagus nicefori'' ***Marsh rabbit, ''Sylvilagus palustris'' ***Suriname tapetí, ''Sylvilagus parentum'' ***Colombian tapetí, ''Sylvilagus salentus'' ***Santa Marta tapetí, ''Sylvilagus sanctaemartae'' ***Western tapetí, ''Sylvilagus surdaster'' ***Coastal tapetí, ''Sylvilagus tapetillus'' ***Venezuelan lowland rabbit, ''Sylvilagus varynaensis'' ** Subgenus ''Sylvilagus'' *** Desert cottontail, ''Sylvilagus audubonii'' *** Mexican cottontail, ''Sylvilagus cunicularis'' *** Eastern cottontail, ''Sylvilagus floridanus'' *** Tres Marias cottontail, ''Sylvilagus graysoni'' ***Robust cottontail, ''Sylvilagus holzneri'' *** Mountain cottontail, ''Sylvilagus nuttallii'' *** Appalachian cottontail, ''Sylvilagus obscurus'' *** New England cottontail, ''Sylvilagus transitionalis'' ** Subgenus ''Microlagus'' *** Brush rabbit, ''Sylvilagus bachmani'' * Genus ''Oryctolagus'' ** European rabbit, ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' * Genus ''Poelagus'' ** Bunyoro rabbit, ''Poelagus marjorita'' * Genus ''
Pronolagus The red rock hares are the four species in the genus ''Pronolagus''. They are African lagomorphs of the family Leporidae. Taxonomic history Species in this genus had previously been classified in the genus ''Lepus'', as done by J. E. Gray, or in ...
'' ** Natal red rock hare, ''Pronolagus crassicaudatus'' ** Jameson's red rock hare, ''Pronolagus randensis'' ** Smith's red rock hare, ''Pronolagus rupestris'' ** Hewitt's red rock hare, ''Pronolagus saundersiae'' * Genus ''Caprolagus'' ** Hispid hare, ''Caprolagus hispidus'' * Genus ''
Lepus Hares and jackrabbits are Leporidae, leporids belonging to the genus ''Lepus''. Hares are classified in the same Family (biology), family as rabbits. They have similar herbivorous diets, but are generally larger in size than rabbits, have proporti ...

Lepus
'' ** Subgenus ''Macrotolagus'' *** Antelope jackrabbit, ''Lepus alleni'' ** Subgenus ''Poecilolagus'' *** Snowshoe hare, ''Lepus americanus'' ** Subgenus ''Lepus'' *** Arctic hare, ''Lepus arcticus'' *** Alaskan hare, ''Lepus othus'' *** Mountain hare, ''Lepus timidus'' ** Subgenus ''Proeulagus'' *** Tamaulipas jackrabbit, ''Lepus altamirae'' ***Black-tailed jackrabbit, ''Lepus californicus'' *** White-sided jackrabbit, ''Lepus callotis'' *** Cape hare, ''Lepus capensis'' *** Tehuantepec jackrabbit, ''Lepus flavigularis'' *** Black jackrabbit, ''Lepus insularis'' *** Scrub hare, ''Lepus saxatilis'' *** Desert hare, ''Lepus tibetanus'' *** Tolai hare, ''Lepus tolai'' ** Subgenus ''Eulagos'' *** Broom hare, ''Lepus castrovieoi'' *** Yunnan hare, ''Lepus comus'' *** Korean hare, ''Lepus coreanus'' *** Corsican hare, ''Lepus corsicanus'' *** European hare, ''Lepus europaeus'' *** Granada hare, ''Lepus granatensis'' *** Manchurian hare, ''Lepus mandschuricus'' *** Woolly hare, ''Lepus oiostolus'' *** Ethiopian highland hare, ''Lepus starcki'' *** White-tailed jackrabbit, ''Lepus townsendii'' ** Subgenus ''Sabanalagus'' *** Ethiopian hare, ''Lepus fagani'' *** African savanna hare, ''Lepus microtis'' ** Subgenus ''Indolagus'' *** Hainan hare, ''Lepus hainanus'' *** Indian hare, ''Lepus nigricollis'' *** Burmese hare, ''Lepus peguensis'' ** Subgenus ''Sinolagus'' *** Chinese hare, ''Lepus sinensis'' ** Subgenus ''Tarimolagus'' *** Yarkand hare, ''Lepus yarkandensis'' ** Subgenus ''incertae sedis'' *** Japanese hare, ''Lepus brachyurus'' *** Abyssinian hare, ''Lepus habessinicus'' *Genus †''Serengetilagus'' *** †''Serengetilagus praecapensis'' *Genus †''Aztlanolagus'' *** †''Aztlanolagus agilis''


Predation

Predators of rabbits and hares include raccoons, snakes, eagles, Canidae, canids, Felidae, cats, Mustelidae, mustelids, owls and hawks. Animals that eat roadkill rabbits include vultures and buzzards.


See also

* Cecotrope * Mara (mammal) * Viscacha


References

{{authority control Rabbits and hares Mammal families Extant Ypresian first appearances Taxa named by Gotthelf Fischer von Waldheim