Smith's red rock hare

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Smith's Red Rock Hare)
Jump to: navigation, search
Smith's red rock hare
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Pronolagus
Species: P. rupestris
Binomial name
Pronolagus rupestris
(A. Smith, 1834)[2]
Subspecies[3]
  • P. r. curryi Thomas, 1902
  • P. r. nyikae Thomas, 1902
  • P. r. rupestris Smith, 1834
  • P. r. saundersiae Hewitt, 1927
  • P. r. vallicola Kershaw, 1924
Smith's Red Rock Hare area.png
Smith's Red Rock Hare range
Synonyms[3]
  • barretti Roberts, 1949
  • bowkeri Hewitt, 1927
  • australis Roberts, 1933
  • melanuris Ruppel, 1842
  • mulleri Roberts, 1838

Smith's red rock hare (Pronolagus rupestris) is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae, the same family as rabbits and hares, and is the smallest member of the Pronolagus genus. The upperparts and gular collar are reddish brown in color. It has warm, brown, grizzled, thicker hairs at the back of the body, and white to tawny, thinner underfur. It is it is endemic to Africa, found in parts of Kenya (Rift Valley), Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Rhodesia, South Africa (Northern Cape, Free State, and North West), Tanzania, and Zambia. It is a folivore, and usually forages on grasses (such a sprouting grass), shrubs, and herbs. It breeds from September to February, and the female litters one or two children. The young leave the nest at three years of age. In 1996, it was rated as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

Taxonomy[edit]

Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith first described the Smith's red rock hare in the year 1834.[2][4] It was originally described in the genus Lepus, and was formerly included in Natal red rock hare (P. crassicaudatus).[5] In Swahili, its name is sungura mwekundu or kitengule.[6]

The number of accepted subspecies has ranged from zero to eight. One classification from the 1940s accepted the following subspecies:[7]

  • P. r. rupestris (A. Smith, 1834)
  • P. r. melanurus (Rüppell, 1842)
  • P. r. nyikae (Thomas, 1902)[8]
  • P. r. curryi (Thomas, 1902)[8]
  • P. r. saundersiae Hewitt, 1927
  • P. r. australis Roberts, 1933
  • P. r. mulleri Roberts, 1938
  • P. r. whitei Roberts, 1938
  • P. r. barretti Roberts, 1949

Another classification from the 1980s had the following subspecies; differences came from moving whitei to P. randensis, including fitzsimonsi, and treating mulleri as a synonym of australis:[9]

  • P. r. rupestris (A. Smith, 1834)
  • P. r. melanurus (Rüppell, 1842)
  • P. r. curryi (Thomas, 1902)
  • P. r. saundersiae Hewitt, 1927
  • P. r. australis Roberts, 1933
  • P. r. fitzsimonsi Roberts, 1938
  • P. r. barbetti Roberts, 1949

In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, R. S. Hoffman and A. T. Smith listed Smith's red rock hare (Pronolagus rupestris) as a separate species and included five subspecies.[3]

The taxonomic status of the east African Smith's red rock hare is uncertain. It is treated conspecific with the southern African P. rupestris.[5] A paper looking at mitochondral DNA argued that P. r. curryi is the only non-nominate subspecies.[10] Mammals of Africa does not recognize any subspecies and rather that curryi, fitzsimonsi, melanurus, mülleri, nyikae, and vallicola are all just synonyms of P. rupestris.[11]

Description[edit]

The Smith's red rock hare is the smallest member of the Pronolagus genus,[12] measuring 43 to 65 cm (17 to 26 in) in length from head to tail, has a 5 to 11 cm (2.0 to 4.3 in) long bushy, dark to reddish brown tail with a black tip, and weighs 1.3 to 2 kg (2.9 to 4.4 lb).[13] The upperparts and gular collar are reddish brown in color.[14] The ears are gray, measuring 6 to 10 cm (2.4 to 3.9 in) in length, and the hindfeet measure 7.5 to 10 cm (3.0 to 3.9 in) in length.[13] It has a brownish forehead, with greyish buff cheeks.[14] The sides of the face are gray,[15] and the nuchal patch is reddish brown. It has pinkish buff colored underparts, and some white in the mid-line of the abdomen.[14] The hind legs and rump are bright reddish brown.[15] It has warm, brown, grizzled, thicker hairs at the back of the body, and white to tawny, thinner underfur.[13][16] The feet pads are covered by dense, greasy fur.[16] The digits and claws are short and broad, and the limbs are russet,[13] and the frontal bone measures almost the same as the snout.[5] Possibly due to the diet, its flesh is aromatic.[13]

It is similar to the Jameson's red rock hare (P. randensis) which has shorter ears and a longer tail, and the Hewitt's red rock hare (P. saundersidae) which has a shorter snout bone than the frontal bone.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Smith's red rock hare is endemic to Africa, found in parts of Kenya (Rift Valley), Lesotho, Malawi, eastern Rhodesia, South Africa (Northern Cape, Free State, and North West), Tanzania, and Zambia.[4][6][13] It is believed to no longer appear in Namibia. It occurs on rocky slopes and tops of rocky outcrops, in stony countries where grass, rocks, and bush are intermingled. It inhabits ravines with boulders, hillsides, slabs of stones, and rock creaks which provide cover from predators.[4][13]

Behavior and ecology[edit]

The Smith's red rock hare is a nocturnal species, but occasionally comes out during early morning or late afternoon in places where it is not hunted.[6] It is alert at most times, and usually hides much before being seen. It can also exhibit rapid, starling manoeuvres which are depicted when chased by dogs.[13] The Smith's red rock is observed to vocalize a series of loud, startling screams when running away at night,[17] possibly to scare away predators or to warn other members of the species of potential threat.[13] Despite not being restrained or in pain, it is known to produce shrill voices, contrary to most other leporids. The juvenile can produce churring sounds when caught in hand, and the adult can produce a barking sound when disturbed before sunrise.[17]

It is a folivore, and usually forages on grasses (such a sprouting grass), shrubs, and herbs.[13] The Smith's red rock hare breeds from September to February.[14] The female makes the nest out of vegetable debris lined with its fur.[13] The nest is about 15 centimetres (5.9 in) wide, 10 centimetres (3.9 in) deep, and 4 to 8 cm (1.6 to 3.1 in) deep.[14] The female has a gestation period of about one month, and litters one or two children,[13] each weighing 40 to 50 g (1.4 to 1.8 oz).[14] The young are altricial at birth,[5] and leave the nest at three years of age, when they weigh about 180 to 200 g (6.3 to 7.1 oz).[14] Although observed to be secluded, the Smith's red rock hare associate closely with dassies.[13]

Status and conservation[edit]

Since 1996, the Smith's red rock hare was rated as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. This is because it is commonly found in parts of its range in South Africa, has a large range—more than 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi)—and because its population numbers above 10,000 mature individuals in South Africa alone. Even though the state of the overall population is unclear, it is widespread, and characterized as abundant in Kuruman and Springbok. There is no data about the status of its east African range.[4]

Hunting poses a threat to the Smith's red rock hare and, although not considered to be a severe threat, it is also adversely affected from habitat destruction due to the building of houses on rocky outcrops. Since the 1900's, more than 20% habitat loss has occurred, and if future habitat loss continues at the same rate till 2022, its population decline in South Africa is predicted to become greater than 10%. It occurs in provincial parks, national parks, and wildlife refugees in South Africa, and is also protected as a game species by Provincial Nature Conservation agencies, seasonally.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, A. T. & Boyer, A. F. (2008). "Pronolagus rupestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, A. (1834). "An Epitome of African Zoology; or, A Concise Description of the Objects of the Animal Kingdom Inhabiting Africa, its Islands and Seas". South African Quarterly Journal. Second Series. 2 (3): 174–175. 
  3. ^ a b c Hoffman, R.S.; Smith, A.T. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Smith, A.T.; Boyer, A.F. (2008). "Pronolagus rupestris (Smith's Red Rockhare, Smith's Red Rock Hare)". www.iucnredlist.org. Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved 2017-09-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Happold, David C. D. (2013). Mammals of Africa. 3. A&C Black. p. 715. ISBN 9781408189962. 
  6. ^ a b c Foley, Charles; Foley, Lara; Lobora, Alex; Luca, Daniela De; Msuha, Maurus; Davenport, Tim R. B.; Durant (2014). "Hares and Rabbits: Lagomorpha". A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of TanzaniaPaid subscription required. Princeton University Press. p. 90. ISBN 9781400852802. 
  7. ^ Ellerman, J. R.; Morrison-Scott, T. C. S.; Hayman, R. W. (1953). "Pronolagus rupestris A. Smith, 1834". Southern African Mammals 1758 to 1951: A Reclassification. London: Tonbridge. pp. 221–222. 
  8. ^ a b Thomas, Oldfield (1902). "On Two new Hares allied to Oryctolagus crassicaudatus". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 7th ser. 10 (57): 244–246. 
  9. ^ Meester, J. A. J.; Rautenbach, I. L.; Dippenaar, N. J.; Baker, C. M. (1986). "Pronolagus rupestris (A. Smith, 1834)". Classification of Southern African Mammals. Transvaal Museum Monographs. 5. Transvaal Museum. pp. 304–305. ISBN 0907990061. hdl:10520/AJA090799001_112Freely accessible. 
  10. ^ Matthee, Conrad A.; Robinson, Terrence J. (1996). "Mitochondrial DNA differentiation among geographical populations of Pronolagus rupestris, Smith’s red rock rabbit (Mammalia: Lagomorpha)". Heredity. 76: 521. doi:10.1038/hdy.1996.74. 
  11. ^ Happold, D. C. D. (2013). "Pronolagus rupestris Smith's Red Rock-hare". In Happold, David C. D. Rodents, Hares and Rabbits. Mammals of Africa. 3. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 715–716. ISBN 978-1-4081-8992-4. 
  12. ^ Watson, V. (1993). "Glimpses from Gondolin: a faunal analysis of a fossil site near Broederstroom, Transvaal, South Africa". Palaeontologia Africana. 30. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sekine, R. (2000). "Pronolagus rupestris (Smith's red rockhare)". Animal Diversity Web. Archived from the original on 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-09-01. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Skinner, J. D.; Chimimba, Christian T. (2005). The Mammals of the Southern African Sub-region. Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780521844185. 
  15. ^ a b Stuart, Chris; Stuart, Tilde (2001). Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. Struik. p. 84. ISBN 9781868725373. 
  16. ^ a b Kingdon, Jonathan (July 1984). East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, Volume 2, Part B: Hares and Rodents. University of Chicago Press. p. 359. ISBN 9780226437200. 
  17. ^ a b "Pronolagus rupestris - Smith's red rock hare (Species)". wildpro.twycrosszoo.org. Archived from the original on 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2017-09-01.