Southern Pacific Dry Forests Habitat
This taxon is found in the Southern Pacific dry forests ecoregion, which is situated along the southeastern versant of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains including the Pacific Ocean coastal plain. These forests are a key locus of endemism for butterflies, and has the greatest diversity of scorpions and spiders in the entirety of Mexico. This ecoregion is classified in the Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests biome. The Southern Pacific dry forests exhibit a moderate to high faunal species richness; for example, there are a total of 744 vertebrate taxa recorded in the ecoregion, with a particularly large number of endemic reptiles.
The ecoregion elevation ranges from sea level to 1400 metres. The climate is tropical and dry, with precipitation levels of 800 millimetres (mm) per annum. There is an extended arid season, which factor drives the prevalence of deciduous vegetation. The forests grow chiefly on shallow, well-drained soils derived from limestone. Closer to the base of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains, the soils are more rocky, and are derived from igneous rocks.
The dominant plant species include Mauto (Lysiloma divaricatum), Bursera excelsa and Fragrant Bursera (B. fagaroides), which are typically found in association with Pochote (Ceiba aesculifolia), Comocladia engleriana, and Trichilia americana. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, the macro plant species more generally in evidence are Ficus insipida, F. pertusa, Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum), Licania arborea, Sideroxylon capiri and Elephant Ear (Enterolobium cyclocarpum).
There are a number of anuran species present in the ecoregion, including: Blunt-toed Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus modestus VU); Cloud Forest Stream Frog (Ptychohyla euthysanota NT), found from southeast Oaxaca to Guatemala and eastern El Salvador; Matuda's Spikethumb Frog (Plectrohyla matudai VU). A special status caecilian found in the ecoregion is the Mexican Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus VU), a fossorial species that can attain lengths up to sixty centimetres. A special status salamander found in the ecoregion is the Sierra Juarez Salamander (Pseudoeurycea juarezi CR), a near-endemic known only between Cerro Pelón and Vista Hermosa in the Sierra de Juarez, north-central Oaxaca. The White-lipped Peeping Frog (Eleutherodactylus albolabris CR), a near-endemic known chiefly from Agua del Obispo, central Guerrero.
The Southern Pacific dry forests contain numerous reptilian taxa, including the following endemics: Bocourt's Anole (Norops baccatus); Taylor's Anole (Norops taylori), known only to Puerto Marquez area, in northern Acapulco, Guerrero; Simmons' Anole (Anolis simmonsi), restricted to the vicinity of Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca; Stegneger's Blackcollar Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus stejnegeri), restricted to the Pacific versant in the state of Guerrero, Mexico; Red Earth Snake (Geophis russatus), found in a very narrow range outside of Putla, Oaxaca; Sierra Mije Earth Snake (Geophis anocularis), known only from around Totontepec on the Atlantic versant of the Sierra Mixe, Oaxaca; Ramirez`s Hooknose Snake (Ficimia ramirezi), restricted to the Pacific versant of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Niltepec, Oaxaca; Halberg's Cloud Forest Snake (Cryophis hallbergi), found only in northern Oaxaca, at Sierra de Juarez and Sierra Mazateca; Isthmian Earth Snake (Geophis isthmicus), known only from the vicinity of Tehuantepec, Mexico; the endemic Macdougall's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus macdougalli).
Characteristic mammalian fauna include the endemic Oaxacan Pocket Gopher (Orthogeomys cuniculus), restricted to several sites on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. Other mammals seen in the ecoregion include the: Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae VU), Tropical Hare (Lepus flavigularis EN), restricted to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca to the extreme west of Chiapas; Greater Bulldog Bat (Noctilio leporinus), Coati (Nasua narica), Buller’s Pocket Gopher (Pappogeomys bulleri), Javelina (Tayassu tajacu), and Mexican Long-tongued Bat (Choeronycteris mexicana NT).
Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lepus flavigularis
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Endangered(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1994Endangered(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
The Tehuantepec jackrabbit (Lepus flavigularis) is easily distinguished from other species of jackrabbits by two black stripes that run from the base of the ears to the nape, and by its white flanks. Underparts are white, upperparts are bright-brown washed with black, rump is gray, and the tail is black. This leporid is one of the largest jackrabbits and has large ears and legs. Adults weigh about 3500 to 4000 grams.
The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is a rare endemic of Oaxaca, México, and is only found along savannas and grassy dunes on the shores of a salt water lagoon connected to the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Three small populations persist isolated from each other.
The former distribution of the Tehuantepec jackrabbit is not documented in detail, but it is estimated that the leporid's historic geographic range along the Mexican Pacific Coast on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Salina Cruz in Oaxaca to Tonalá in Chiapas, an area of perhaps only 5000 km sq.
Habitat and Ecology
Tropical dry savannas dominated by native grasses (Bouteloua, Paspalum) with an overstory of sparse bushes of nanche (Byrsonima crassifolia), and scattered trees of morro (Crescentia) are selected by the Tehuantepec jackrabbit. The Tehuantepec Jackrabbit is also found in coastal grassy dunes with Opuntia decumbens, Opuntia tehuantepecana, and Sabal mexicana.
Home ranges overlap with one or more individuals regardless of sex and age, and home range size is about 50 ha with core areas of 9 ha for adult jackrabbits. The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is nocturnal and crepuscular, and during the diurnal hours it rests in forms under bushes or grasses.
Native mammals that coexist with the Tehuantepec jackrabbit are the Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), the Hooded and Western Hog-nosed Skunks (Mephitis macroura, Conepatus mesoleucus), the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), the Gray Mouse Opossum (Tlacuatzin canescens), the Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), the Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor), and the Coyote (Canis latrans). Of these, the Gray Fox and the Coyote are native predators of the Tehuantepec Jackrabbit.
The length of the breeding season may extend from February to December, with a peak in reproduction during the rainy season (from May to October). Litter size is one to four embryos, but the number of litters produced per female per year remains to be investigated.
The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is listed as critically endangered in the Mexican Official Norm NOM-059-ECOL-2001, and as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is jeopardized by habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, small population size, and genetic isolation. Introduction of exotic grasses, frequent and induced fires, agricultural and cattle-raising activities, and human settlements are deteriorating the floristic diversity and native vegetation structure in savannas inhabited by Tehuantepec jackrabbits. Locally, the Tehuantepec jackrabbit is taken occasionally as subsistence hunting, and very occasionally as pets in rural communities. Predation by the Gray Fox and the Coyote is the major cause of mortality of the Tehuantepec Jackrabbit. However, poachers may come from nearby cities and decimate populations in a few nights of hunting.
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