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The family Ochotonidae comprises the pikas, including one extant genus Ochotona and 30 currently recognized species (Hoffman and Smith, 2005). There are more than 30 extinct genera that have been identified as far back as the Eocene, one of which, Prolagus, went extinct in the late 18th century (Dawson, 1969; Ge et al., 2012). Today, Ochotonidae represents approximately 1/3 of lagomorph diversity (Smith, 2008). Their range is primarily in Asia although there are two North American species, American pikas and collared pikas (Smith et al., 1990). They range in weight from 70 to 300 g and are usually less than 285 mm in length (Smith, 2008). There is no known sexual dimorphism (Vaughan et al., 2011). The main differences from leporids are their (i) small size, (ii) small, rounded ears, (iii) concealed tails, (iv) lack of supraorbital processes, and (v) 2, rather than 3, upper molars (Smith, 2008). There are two main ecotypes, one of which is associated with rocky habitats and the other with meadow, steppe, forest, and shrub habitats. Each ecotype is associated with specific life history traits as well as behavior. Most species fall within one of these ecotypes, although there are some species which exhibit intermediate characteristics (Smith, 2008).


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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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