Red rock hare

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Scientific classification

Type species
Lepus crassicaudatus

The red rock hares are the four species in the genus Pronolagus.[3][4] They are African lagomorphs of the family Leporidae.

This genus contains the following species:

Taxonomic history[edit]

Species in this genus had previously been classified in the genus Lepus, as done by J. E. Gray,[7] or in Oryctolagus, as done by Charles Immanuel Forsyth Major.[8]

The genus Pronolagus was proposed by Marcus Ward Lyon, Jr. in 1904, based on a skeleton that had been labeled Lepus crassicaudatus I. Geoffroy, 1832.[2] Lyon later acknowledged the work of Oldfield Thomas and Harold Schwann, which argued that particular specimen belonged to a species they named Pronolagus ruddi Thomas and Schwann 1905;[9] he wrote that the type species "should stand as Pronolagus crassicaudatus Lyon (not Geoffroy) = Pronolagus ruddi Thomas and Schwann".[10]

P. ruddi is no longer regarded as its own species, but rather a subspecies of P. crassicaudatus.[11][1]

In the 1950s, John Ellerman and Terence Morrison-Scott classified Poelagus as a subgenus of Pronolagus.[12][11] B. G. Lundholm regarded P. randensis as a synonym of P. crassicaudatus.[13] Neither of these classifications received much support.[5]

Previously proposed species in this genus include:

  • P. melanurus (Rüppell, 1834)[14] (Now a synonym of P. rupestris[4])
  • P. ruddi Thomas & Schwann, 1905[9] (Now a synonym[4] or subspecies[3][1] of P. crassicaudatus)
  • P. intermedius Jameson, 1909[15]
  • P. whitei Roberts, 1938[16] (Now a synonym[4] or subspecies[3][1] of P. randensis)
  • P. caucinus Thomas, 1929[17] (Now a synonym[4] or subspecies[3][1] of P. randensis)
  • P. barretti Roberts, 1949[18] (Now a synonym of P. saundersiae[4][3])


Some characteristics of animals in this genus include: the lack of an interparietal bone in adults, a mesopterygoid space which is narrower than the minimal length of the hard palate, short ears (63–106 mm, 2.5–4.2 in), and the lack of a stripe along its jaw.[19]


A fossil skull of an animal in this genus was found in South Africa; Henry Lyster Jameson named the species Pronolagus intermedius[a] as it was described as being intermediate between P. crassiacaudatus and P. ruddi.[15]


All species in this genus have 21 pairs of chromosomes (2n = 42).[19][4] The karotype for P. rupestris has been published.[20][21] The Pronolagus chromosomes have undergone four fusions and one fission from the Lagomorpha ancestral state (2n=48), which resembled the karotype of Lepus.[22]


  1. ^ Jameson's paper spelled the name of the new species as Ronolagus intermedius, but elsewhere described it as being in the genus Pronolagus.


  1. ^ a b c d e Hoffman, R.S.; Smith, A.T. (2005). "Genus Pronolagus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Lyon, Jr., Marcus Ward (1903) [1904]. "Classification of the Hares and their Allies". Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 45 (1456): 416–420.
  3. ^ a b c d e Collins, K. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Skinner, John D.; Chimimba, Christian T. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 73. doi:10.1017/CBO9781107340992.013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Happold, D. C. D. (2013). "Genus Pronolagus Hewitt's Red Rock-hare". In Happold, David C. D. Rodents, Hares and Rabbits. Mammals of Africa. 3. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 712–717. ISBN 978-1-4081-8992-4.
  5. ^ a b Meester, J. A. J.; Rautenbach, I. L.; Dippenaar, N. J.; Baker, C. M. (1986). "Order Lagomorpha". Classification of Southern African Mammals. Transvaal Museum Monographs. 5. Transvaal Museum. pp. 298–307. hdl:10520/AJA090799001_112. ISBN 0907990061.
  6. ^ Duthie, A. G.; Robinson, T. J. (1990). "The African Rabbits". In Chapman, Joseph A.; Flux, John E. C. Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. pp. 121–127. ISBN 2-8317-0019-1.
  7. ^ Gray, J. E. (1867). "Notes on the Skulls of Hares (Leporidæ) and Picas (Lagomyidæ) in the British Museum". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 3rd ser. 20 (117): 223. doi:10.1080/00222936708694118.
  8. ^ Forsyth Major, C. I. (1899). "On Fossil and Recent Lagomorpha". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. 2nd Series: Zoology. 7 (9): 514. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1899.tb002021.x.
  9. ^ a b Thomas, Oldfield; Schwann, Harold (1905). "The Rudd Exploration of South Africa.——III. List of the Mammals obtained by Mr. Grant in Zululand". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1): 272–275.
  10. ^ Lyon, Jr., Marcus W. (1906). "Type of the Genus Pronolagus". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 19: 95.
  11. ^ a b Ellerman, J. R.; Morrison-Scott, T. C. S.; Hayman, R. W. (1953). "Lagomorpha — Leporidae". Southern African Mammals 1758 to 1951: A Reclassification. London: Tonbridge. pp. 219–222.
  12. ^ Ellerman, J. R.; Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1951). "Family Leporidae". Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. London. pp. 420, 424–425.
  13. ^ Lundholm, B. G. (1954). "Descriptions of New Mammals". Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 22 (3): 293–294. hdl:10520/AJA00411752_408.
  14. ^ Rüppell, Eduard (1845). "Beschreibung mehrerer neuer Säugethiere, in der zoologischen Sammlung der Senckenbergischen naturforschenden Gesellschaft befindlich". Musem Senckenbergianum: Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der beschreibenden Naturgeschichte. 3: 137.
  15. ^ a b Jameson, Lyster (1909). "On a Sub-fossil Hare from a Cave Deposit at Godwan River". Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 1 (3): 195–196.
  16. ^ Roberts, Austin (1938). "Descriptions of new forms of mammals". Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 19 (2): 244. hdl:10520/AJA00411752_502.
  17. ^ Thomas, Oldfield (1929). "On Mammals from the Kaoko-Veld, South-West Africa, obtained during Captain Shortridge's fifth Percy Sladen and Kaffrarian Museum Expedition". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 99 (2): 109–110. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1929.tb07691.x.
  18. ^ Roberts, Austen (1949). "A New Pronolagus from Natal". Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 21 (1): 179–180. hdl:10520/AJA00411752_472.
  19. ^ a b Robinson, T.J. (1982). "Key to the South African Leporidae (Mammalia: Lagomorpha)". South African Journal of Zoology. 17 (4): 220–222. doi:10.1080/02541858.1982.11447806.
  20. ^ Robinson, T. J. (1980). "Comparative chromosome studies in the family Leporidae (Lagomorpha, Mammalia)". Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics. 28 (1–2): 64–70. doi:10.1159/000131513.
  21. ^ Robinson, Terence J. (2006). "Order Lagomorpha". In O'Brien, Stephen J.; Menninger, Joan C.; Nash, William G. Atlas of Mammalian Chromosomes. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Liss. pp. 342–355. doi:10.1002/0471779059. ISBN 9780471779056.
  22. ^ Robinson, T. J.; Yang, F.; Harrison, W. R. (2002). "Chromosome painting refines the history of genome evolution in hares and rabbits (order Lagomorpha)". Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 96: 223–227. doi:10.1159/000063034.

Further reading[edit]