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Overview

Brief Summary

Description

Black-tailed Jackrabbits are tremendous leapers, able to jump more than 6 m horizontally. They live in some of the hottest and driest regions of the continent, can survive on poor-quality foods, and get most or all of the water they need from their food. Where they can, they eat green vegetation, but they can survive in parts of the Southwest where creosote-bush forms a large part of their diet. They cope with extreme heat by lowering their metabolism and resting in the shade during the day, which conserves water. They get rid of extra salt through their urine, and blood flows close to the skin in their enormous ears, a cooling mechanism. Although mostly nocturnal and solitary, large groups sometimes form near a good food supply. With their typically high reproductive output, Black-tails can be agricultural pests, and there were periods in the 1800s and 1900s when aggressive rabbit drives herded and destroyed 5,000-6,000 animal in a single day. In spite of this, they are quite common and widespread.

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  • Original description: Gray, J.E., 1837.  Description of some new or little known Mammalia, principally in the British Museum Collection, p. 586.  The Magazine of Natural History, and Journal of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, and Meteorology, New Series, 1:577-587.
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Distribution

Lepus californicus is found throughout the southwestern United States into Mexico, as far east as Missouri, north into Washington, Idaho, Colorado and Nebraska, and west to California and Baja California.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Range Description

Lepus californicus is widely distributed across Mexico and the USA (Flinders and Chapman 2003). Its range in Mexico includes the states of Hidalgo, Queretaro, northern Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, eastern Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, eastern Durango, Chihuahua (excluding the southwest region), the extreme northeast region of Jalisco, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, northern Sonora, and the entire Baja peninsula (Flinders and Chapman 2003). In the USA its range includes Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, eastern Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, most of Oklahoma including an isolated population in eastern section of the state, western Missouri, Utah (excluding the northeast), California (excluding part of the central region), most of Oregon (excluding western and central regions), southeast Washington, southern Idaho, and isolated population in Montana, and the extreme western region and southeast portion of Wyoming (Flinders and Chapman 2003). L. californicus was successfully introduced into Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and southern Florida (Flinders and Chapman 2003). It occurs in elevations ranging from - 84 m to 3,750 m (Flinders and Chapman 2003).
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Western North America, from the Pacific Coast east to Missouri and Arkansas, and from Washington, Idaho, southwestern Montana, eastern Wymong, and South Dakota south to Baja California, northern Sonora, southern Queretaro, and Hidalgo, central Mexico (Jones et al. 1983; Hoffmann, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Best 1996). Releases have been made in Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia (see Best 1996).

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Black-tailed jackrabbit is the most widely distributed jackrabbit (Lepus
spp.) in North America [13]. Native black-tailed jackrabbit populations
occur from central Washington east to Missouri and south to Baja
California Sur and Zacatecas [24]. Black-tailed jackrabbit distribution
is currently expanding eastward in the Great Plains at the expense of
white-tailed jackrabbit [31]. Black-tailed jackrabbit has been
successfully introduced in southern Florida and along the coastline in
Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia [13,24].

Distribution of subspecies occurring entirely or partially in the United
States is as follows [42]:

L. c. bennettii - coastal southern California to Baja California Norte
L. c. californicus - coastal Oregon to coastal and Central Valley California
L. c. deserticola - southern Idaho to Sonora
L. c. eremicus - central Arizona to Sonora
L. c. melanotis - South Dakota to Iowa, Missouri, and central Texas
L. c. merriami - south-central and southeastern Texas to Tamaulipas
L. c. richardsonii - central California
L. c. texianus - southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado to Zacatecas
L. c. wallawalla - eastern Washington to northeastern California and
northwestern Nevada
  • 13. Chapman, J. A.; Dixon, K. R.; Lopez-Forment, W.; Wilson, D. E. 1983. The New World jackrabbits and hares (genus Lepus).--1. Taxonomic history and population status. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 49-51. [25011]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 31. Flux, J. E. C. 1983. Introduction to taxonomic problems in hares. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 7-10. [25017]
  • 42. Hall, E. Raymond. 1951. A synopsis of the North American Lagomorpha. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History. 5(10): 119-202. [23640]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains

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Occurrence in North America

AZ AR CA CO FL ID IA KS MD MT MO
NE NV NJ NM OK OR SD TX UT VA WA WY
MEXICO

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Physical Description

Morphology

Black-tailed jackrabbits measure 47-63 cm from nose to rump, the tail is between 50-112 mm and the ears are 10-13 cm long. As they are true hares, black-tailed jackrabbits are lankier and leaner than rabbits, have longer ears and legs, and the leverets are born fully-furred and open-eyed. Black-tailed jackrabbits possess a characteristic black stripe down the center of the back, a black rump patch, and the tail is black dorsally. Both sexes look alike, but the female is the larger of the two sexes.

Range mass: 1.3 to 3.1 kg.

Range length: 47 to 63 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

Average basal metabolic rate: 7.314 W.

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Size

Length: 63 cm

Weight: 3600 grams

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Size in North America

Length:
Range: 465-630 mm

Weight:
Range: 1,300-3,300 g
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Ecology

Habitat

Chihuahuan Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

The dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert is Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Depending on diverse factors such as type of soil, altitude, and degree of slope, L. tridentata can occur in association with other species. More generally, an association between L. tridentata, American Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) and Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa) dominates the northernmost portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The meridional portion is abundant in Yucca and Opuntia, and the southernmost portion is inhabited by Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) and Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus). Herbaceous elements such as Gypsum Grama (Chondrosum ramosa), Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Hairy Grama (Chondrosum hirsuta), among others, become dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Coahuila State, Lecheguilla Agave (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Purple Prickly-pear (Opuntia macrocentra) and Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus) are the dominant vascular plants.

Because of its recent origin, few warm-blooded vertebrates are restricted to the Chihuahuan Desert scrub. However, the Chihuahuan Desert supports a large number of wide-ranging mammals, such as the Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), Robust Cottontail (Sylvilagus robustus EN); Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Grey Fox (Unocyon cineroargentinus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Collared Peccary or Javelina (Pecari tajacu), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys sp.), pocket mice (Perognathus spp.), Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and Deer Mice (Peromyscus spp). With only 24 individuals recorded in the state of Chihuahua Antilocapra americana is one of the most highly endangered taxa that inhabits this desert. The ecoregion also contains a small wild population of the highly endangered American Bison (Bison bison) and scattered populations of the highly endangered Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus), as well as the Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

The Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna typifies this ecoregion.Several lizard species are centered in the Chihuahuan Desert, and include the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum); Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis), often found under rocks in limestone foothills; Reticulate Gecko (C. reticulatus); Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus); several species of spiny lizards (Scelopoprus spp.); and the Western Marbled Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris marmoratus). Two other whiptails, the New Mexico Whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and the Common Checkered Whiptail (C. tesselatus) occur as all-female parthenogenic clone populations in select disturbed habitats.

Representative snakes include the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis), Texas Blackhead Snake (Tantilla atriceps), and Sr (Masticophis taeniatus) and Neotropical Whipsnake (M. flagellum lineatus). Endemic turtles include the Bolsón Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus), Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene coahuila) and several species of softshell turtles. Some reptiles and amphibians restricted to the Madrean sky island habitats include the Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), Northern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), and Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Cnemidophorus burti).

There are thirty anuran species occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chircahuaensis); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans); Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides); Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii); Spotted Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus guttilatus); Tarahumara Barking Frog (Craugastor tarahumaraensis); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis); Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps); and Longfoot Chirping Toad (Eleutherodactylus longipes VU). The sole salamander occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert is the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Common bird species include the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and the rare Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). Geococcyx californianus), Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostra), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum), Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni), and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). In addition, numerous raptors inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and include the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi).

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Black-tailed jackrabbits inhabit desert scrubland, prairies, farmlands, and dunes. They favor arid regions and areas of short grass rangeland from sea level to about 3,800 m. Many different vegetation types are used, including sagebrush-creosote bush, mesquite-snakeweed and juniper-big sagebrush. They also frequent agricultural areas where they can impact fruit and grain crops.

Range elevation: 3800 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
L. californicus is capable of inhabiting many types of habitat (Flinders and Chapman 2003). This species is positively associated, in terms of abundance and distribution, with overgrazing by domestic livestock (Flinders and Chapman 2003). Diet is also variable for this species, dependent upon vegetation availability and location (Flinders and Chapman 2003). Generally, grasses and forbs are selected during the summer, while shrubs are chosen during winter months (Flinders and Chapman 2003). Variability in home range size is due to multiple factors like cover, predators, and competition (Flinders and Chapman 2003). L. californicus exhibits crepuscular feeding behavior (Flinders and Chapman 2003).

The total length of L. californicus is 46.5-63.0 cm (Hall and Kelson 1959). The breeding season is variable, contingent on latitude and environmental factors (Flinders and Chapman 2003). In Idaho the season is restricted to February to May (French et al. 1965). Where distribution occurs at lower latitudes the breeding season extends; in the southwestern USA it may last from early January to September (Griffing and Davis 1976). Gestation is variable but ranges from 40-47 days (Flinders and Chapman 2003). The litter size varies from 3.8-4.4 in the north to three to six in the south, giving a total output per female per year of about 10-14 (Best 1996). Total length at birth is variable dependent upon litter size, but a measurement in Arizona gave a length of 14.0 cm (Vorhies and Taylor 1933). Adult mortality is approximately 57%, while juvenile mean mortality ranges from 59-63% (Flinders and Chapman 2003).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Inhabits open plains, fields and deserts; open country with scattered thickets or patches of shrubs (Caire et al. 1989). Rests by day in shallow depression (form).

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Cover Requirements

More info for the terms: cover, shrubs

Black-tailed jackrabbit require shrubs or small conifers for hiding,
nesting, and thermal cover, and grassy areas for night feeding [24,48].
A shrub-grassland mosaic or widely spaced shrubs interspersed with herbs
provides hiding cover while providing feeding opportunities. Small
shrubs do not provide adequate cover [18,19,48]. On the Snake River
Birds of Prey Study Area of southwestern Idaho, black-tailed jackrabbit
was more frequent on sites dominated by big sagebrush or black
greasewood than on sites dominated by the smaller shrubs winterfat
(Krascheninnikovia lanata) or shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia).
Black-tailed jackrabbit does not habitually use a burrow [60], although
it has occassionally been observed using abandoned burrows for escape
[81] and thermal [24,65] cover.
  • 18. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry L.; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 19. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 48. Johnson, Randal D.; Anderson, Jay E. 1984. Diets of black-tailed jack rabbits in relation to population density and vegetation. Journal of Range Management. 37(1): 79-83. [21837]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 65. Smith, Graham W. 1990. Home range and activity patterns of black-tailed jackrabbits. Great Basin Naturalist. 50(3): 249-256. [25022]
  • 81. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 117 p. [9933]

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Preferred Habitat

More info for the terms: cover, forbs, shrub, shrubs

The black-tailed jackrabbit is a habitat generalist. It can occupy a
wide range of habitats as long as there is diversity in plant species
and structure. It requires mixed grasses, forbs, and shrubs for food,
and shrubs or small trees for cover [48,55,60,36]. It prefers
moderately open areas without dense understory growth and is seldom
found in closed-canopy habitats. For example, Bell and Stadinski [4]
reported that in California, black-tailed jackrabbit was plentiful in
open chamise (Ademostoma fasciculatum)-Ceanothus spp. chaparral
interspersed with grasses, but did not occupy closed-canopy chaparral.
Similarly, black-tailed jackrabbit occupies clearcuts and early seral
coniferous forest, but not closed-canopy coniferous forest [8,39,80].

Black-tailed jackrabbit does not migrate or hibernate during winter
[24,39]; therefore, the same habitat is used year-round. There is
diurnal movement of 2 to 10 miles (3-16 km) from shrub cover in day to
open foraging areas at night [24]. Home range area varies with habitat
and habitat quality [39]. Home ranges of 0.4 to 1.2 square miles (1-3
sq km) have been reported in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and
black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) communities of northern Utah
[65].
  • 4. Bell, M. M.; Studinski, G. H. 1972. Habitat manipulation and its relationship to avian and small rodent populations on the Decanso District of the Cleveland National Forest. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 21 p. [17047]
  • 8. Black, Hugh C.; Dimock, Edward J., II; Evans, James; Rochelle, James A. 1979. Animal damage to coniferous plantations in Oregon and Washington. Part I. A survey, 1963-1975. Res. Bull. 25. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, School of Forestry. 43 p. [13683]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 36. Gates, Robert J.; Eng, Robert L. 1984. Sage grouse, pronghorn, and lagomorph use of a sagebrush-grassland burn site on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. In: Markham, O. Doyle, ed. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory radio ecology and ecology programs: 1983 progress reports. Idaho Falls, ID: U.S. Department of Energy, Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory: 220-235. [1005]
  • 39. Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]
  • 48. Johnson, Randal D.; Anderson, Jay E. 1984. Diets of black-tailed jack rabbits in relation to population density and vegetation. Journal of Range Management. 37(1): 79-83. [21837]
  • 55. MacCracken, James G.; Hansen, Richard M. 1982. Herbaceous vegetation of habitat used by blacktail jackrabbits and Nuttall cottontails in southeastern Idaho. American Midland Naturalist. 107(1): 180-184. [21839]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 65. Smith, Graham W. 1990. Home range and activity patterns of black-tailed jackrabbits. Great Basin Naturalist. 50(3): 249-256. [25022]
  • 80. Verner, Jared; Boss, Allan S., tech. coords. 1980. California wildlife and their habitats: western Sierra Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-37. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 439 p. [10237]

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Associated Plant Communities

More info for the terms: forbs, shrubs

The black-tailed jackrabbit occupies plant communities with a mixture of
shrubs, grasses, and forbs. Shrubland-herb mosaics are preferred over
pure stands of shrubs or herbs [19]. Black-tailed jackrabbit is common
in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) [55,60], creosotebush (Larrea tridentata)
[21,57], and other desert shrublands [22,29,37]; palouse, shortgrass,
and mixed-grass prairies; desert grassland [9,29,62]; open-canopy
chaparral [1,4,80]; oak (Quercus spp.) [3,43] and pinyon-juniper
(Pinus-Juniperus spp.) [16,24] woodlands; and early seral, low- to
mid-elevation coniferous forests [39,80]. It is also common in and near
croplands, especially alfalfa (Medicago sativa) fields [24].
  • 1. Andelt, William F.; Kie, John G.; Knowlton, Frederick F.; Cardwell, Dean. 1987. Variation in coyote diets associated with season and successional changes in vegetation. Journal of Wildlife Management. 51(2): 273-277. [19860]
  • 3. Barrett, Reginald H. 1983. Food habits of coyotes, Canis latrans, in eastern Tehama County, California. California Fish and Game. 69(3): 184-186. [13786]
  • 4. Bell, M. M.; Studinski, G. H. 1972. Habitat manipulation and its relationship to avian and small rodent populations on the Decanso District of the Cleveland National Forest. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 21 p. [17047]
  • 9. Blumstein, Daniel T. 1989. Food habits of red-tailed hawks in Boulder County, Colorado. Journal of Raptor Research. 23(2): 53-55. [22691]
  • 16. Covington, W. Wallace; DeBano, Leonard F; Huntsberger, Thomas G. 1991. Soil nitrogen changes associated with slash pile burning in pinyon-juniper woodlands. Forest Science. 37(1): 347-355. [15465]
  • 19. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 21. DeLoach, C. Jack; Boldt, Paul E.; Cjordo, Hugo A.; [and others]
  • 22. Denyes, H. Arliss. 1956. Natural terrestrial communities of Brewster County, Texas, with special reference to the distribution of the mammals. American Midland Naturalist. 55(2): 289-320. [10862]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 29. Fatehi, Mohammad; Pieper, Rex D.; Beck, Reldon E. 1988. Seasonal food habits of blacktailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) in southern New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist. 33(3): 367-370. [6156]
  • 37. Germano, David Joseph. 1978. Response of selected wildlife to mesquite removal in desert grassland. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 60 p. M.S. thesis. [10532]
  • 39. Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]
  • 43. Hall, Lillian M.; George, Melvin R.; McCreary, Douglas D.; Adams, Theodore E. 1992. Effects of cattle grazing on blue oak seedling damage and survival. Journal of Range Management. 45(5): 503-506. [19615]
  • 55. MacCracken, James G.; Hansen, Richard M. 1982. Herbaceous vegetation of habitat used by blacktail jackrabbits and Nuttall cottontails in southeastern Idaho. American Midland Naturalist. 107(1): 180-184. [21839]
  • 57. Mares, M. A.; Hulse, A. C. 1977. Patterns of some vertebrate communities in creosote bush deserts. In: Mabry, T. J.; Hunziker, J. H.; DiFeo, D. R., Jr., eds. Creosote bush: Biology and chemistry of Larrea in New World deserts. U.S./IBP Synthesis Series 6. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc: 209-226. [7171]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 62. Sexson, Mark L. 1983. Destruction of sandsage prairie in southwest Kansas. In: Proceedings, 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 113-115. [3210]
  • 80. Verner, Jared; Boss, Allan S., tech. coords. 1980. California wildlife and their habitats: western Sierra Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-37. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 439 p. [10237]

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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: association, forb, shrub, vine

101 Bluebunch wheatgrass
102 Idaho fescue
103 Green fescue
104 Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
105 Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
106 Bluegrass scabland
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
201 Blue oak woodland
202 Coast live oak woodland
203 Riparian woodland
204 North coastal shrub
205 Coastal sage shrub
206 Chamise chaparral
207 Scrub oak mixed chaparral
208 Ceanothus mixed chaparral
209 Montane shrubland
210 Bitterbrush
211 Creosotebush scrub
212 Blackbush
214 Coastal prairie
215 Valley grassland
301 Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama
303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass
304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
305 Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass
306 Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass
307 Idaho fescue-threadleaf sedge
309 Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass
310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama
312 Rough fescue-Idaho fescue
314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue
316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue
317 Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
318 Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
319 Bitterbrush-rough fescue
320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue
322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass
323 Shrubby cinquefoil-rough fescue
324 Threetip sagebrush-Idaho fescue
401 Basin big sagebrush
402 Mountain big sagebrush
403 Wyoming big sagebrush
404 Threetip sagebrush
405 Black sagebrush
406 Low sagebrush
407 Stiff sagebrush
408 Other sagebrush types
409 Tall forb
411 Aspen woodland
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
414 Salt desert shrub
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
417 Littleleaf mountain-mahogany
419 Bittercherry
420 Snowbrush
421 Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose
422 Riparian
501 Saltbush-greasewood
502 Grama-galleta
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
505 Grama-tobosa shrub
506 Creosotebush-bursage
507 Palo verde-cactus
508 Creosotebush-tarbush
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association
601 Bluestem prairie
602 Bluestem-prairie sandreed
603 Prairie sandreed-needlegrass
604 Bluestem-grama prairie
605 Sandsage prairie
606 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass
607 Wheatgrass-needlegrass
608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass
609 Wheatgrass-grama
610 Wheatgrass
611 Blue grama-buffalograss
612 Sagebrush-grass
613 Fescue grassland
614 Crested wheatgrass
615 Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama
701 Alkali sacaton-tobosagrass
702 Black grama-alkali sacaton
703 Black grama-sideoats grama
704 Blue grama-western wheatgrass
705 Blue grama-galleta
706 Blue grama-sideoats grama
707 Blue grama-sideoats grama-black grama
708 Bluestem-dropseed
709 Bluestem-grama
710 Bluestem prairie
711 Bluestem-sacahuista prairie
712 Galleta-alkali sacaton
713 Grama-muhly-threeawn
714 Grama-bluestem
715 Grama-buffalograss
716 Grama-feathergrass
717 Little bluestem-Indiangrass-Texas wintergrass
718 Mesquite-grama
719 Mesquite-liveoak-seacoast bluestem
720 Sand bluestem-little bluestem (dunes)
721 Sand bluestem-little bluestem (plains)
722 Sand sagebrush-mixed prairie
724 Sideoats grama-New Mexico feathergrass-winterfat
725 Vine mesquite-alkali sacaton
728 Mesquite-granjeno-acacia
727 Mesquite-buffalograss
729 Mesquite
730 Sand shinnery oak
733 Juniper-oak
734 Mesquite-oak
735 Sideoats grama-sumac-juniper
802 Missouri prairie
803 Missouri glades

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub

K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest
K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K003 Silver fir-Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir-hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K006 Redwood forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest
K009 Pine-cypress forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K025 Alder-ash forest
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K027 Mesquite bosque
K028 Mosaic of K002 and K026
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K031 Oak-juniper woodlands
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K033 Chaparral
K034 Montane chaparral
K035 Coastal sagebrush
K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K039 Blackbrush
K040 Saltbush-greasewood
K041 Creosotebush
K042 Creosotebush-bursage
K043 Paloverde-cactus shrub
K044 Creosotebush-tarbush
K045 Ceniza shrub
K047 Fescue-oatgrass
K048 California steppe
K050 Fescue-wheatgrass
K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass
K053 Grama-galleta steppe
K054 Grama-tobosa prairie
K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe
K057 Galleta-three-awn shrubsteppe
K058 Grama-tobosa shrubsteppe
K059 Trans-Pecos shrub savanna
K060 Mesquite savanna
K061 Mesquite-acacia savanna
K062 Mesquite-live oak savanna
K063 Foothills prairie
K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass
K065 Grama-buffalograss
K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass
K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass
K068 Wheatgrass-grama-buffalograss
K069 Bluestem-grama prairie
K070 Sandsage-bluestem prairie
K071 Shinnery
K074 Bluestem prairie
K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie
K076 Blackland prairie
K077 Bluestem-sacahuista prairie
K081 Oak savanna
K083 Cedar glades
K085 Mesquite-buffalograss
K086 Juniper-oak savanna
K087 Mesquite-oak savanna
K088 Fayette prairie

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES13 Loblolly-shortleaf pine
FRES16 Oak-gum-cypress
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES27 Redwood
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES31 Shinnery
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie
FRES40 Desert grasslands
FRES41 Wet grasslands
FRES42 Annual grasslands

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

66 Ashe juniper-redberry (Pinchot) juniper
67 Mohrs (shin) oak
68 Mesquite
205 Mountain hemlock
207 Red fir
209 Bristlecone pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
221 Red alder
222 Black cottonwood-willow
223 Sitka spruce
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock-Sitka spruce
226 Coastal true fir-hemlock
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
231 Port-Orford-cedar
232 Redwood
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
235 Cottonwood-willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak
242 Mesquite
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
248 Knobcone pine
249 Canyon live oak
250 Blue oak-foothills pine
255 California coast live oak
256 California mixed subalpine

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Grasses and herbaceous matter are the preferred foods of Lepus californicus, but twigs and young bark of woody plants are the staple food when other plants are not available. Sagebrush and cacti are also taken. Jackrabbits eat almost constantly and consume large quantities relative to their size; 15 jackrabbits eat as much as a large grazing cattle in one day. Black-tailed jackrabbits do not require much water and obtain nearly all the water they need from the plant material they consume.

Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; fruit

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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Comments: Forages on grasses, forbs, crops and hay in summer; buds, bark, leaves of woody plants in winter. Obtains water from vegetation. Reingests soft fecal pellets produced while resting.

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Food Habits

More info for the terms: cacti, forb, forbs, selection, shrubs

The black-tailed jackrabbit diet is composed of shrubs, small trees,
grasses, and forbs. Throughout the course of a year, black-tailed
jackrabbit feed on most if not all of the important plant species in a
community [2]. Growth stage and moisture content of plants may
influence selection more than species [46]. Shrubs generally comprise
the bulk of fall and winter diets, while grasses and forbs are used in
spring and early summer. This pattern varies with climate: Herbaceous
plants are grazed during greenup periods while the plants are in
prereproductive to early reproductive stages, and shrubs are utilized
more in dry seasons [2,29,59,82]. Shrubs are browsed throughout the
year, however. Most of a jackrabbit's (Lepus spp.) body water is
replaced by foraging water-rich vegetation [81,85]. Jackrabbit require
a plant's water weight to be at least five times its dry weight in
order to meet daily water intake requirements. Therefore, black-tailed
jackrabbit switch to phreatophyte shrubs when herbaceous vegetation
cures [38,85].

Plant species used by black-tailed jackrabbit are well documented for
desert regions. Forage use in other regions is less well known;
however, it is well established that black-tailed jackrabbit browse
Douglas-fir (Psedotsuga menzeisii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa),
lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)
seedlings, and oak (Quercus spp.) seedlings and sprouts [22,39,43].

Great Basin: Big sagebrush is a primary forage species and is used
throughout the year; in southern Idaho it formed 16 to 21 percent of the
black-tailed jackrabbit summer diet. Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.),
spiny hopsage (Gray spinosa), and black greasewood are also browsed
[2,28]. Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens) is heavily used in
western Nevada [89]. In Butte County, Idaho, winterfat comprised 41
percent of black-tailed jackrabbits' annual diet. Fourteen percent was
composed of grasses, with most grass consumption in March and April
[36]. Russian-thistle (Salsola kali) is an important forb diet item.
Needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata) and Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis
hymenoides) are preferred grasses [2]. Other preferred native grasses
include Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) and bluebunch wheatgrass
(Pseudoroegneria spicata) [56]. Where available, crested wheatgrass
(Agropyron desertorum and A. cristatum) and barley (Horeum vulgare) are
highly preferred. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) use is variable: It
comprised 45 percent of the April diet on two southern Idaho sites [28],
but black-tailed jackrabbit on an eastern Washington site did not use it
[11].

Warm Desert: Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) [29] and creosotebush (Larrea
tridentata) [57,81] are principle browse species. Broom snakeweed
(Gutierrezia sarothrae) and Yucca spp. [49] are also used. In honey
mesquite (P. glandulosa var. glandulosa) communities in New Mexico,
overall black-tailed jackrabbit diet was 47 percent shrubs, 22 percent
grasses, and 31 percent forbs [18]. Black grama, dropseed (Sporobolus
spp), fluffgrass (Erioneuron pulchellum), and threeawns (Aristida spp.)
are the most commonly grazed grasses [18,29,82]. Leather croton (Croton
pottsii), silverleaf nightshade (Solanum alaeagnifolium), desert
marigold (Baileya multiradiata), wooly paperflower (Psilostrophe
tagetina), and globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.) are important forbs,
although many forb species are grazed [82]. Opuntia spp., saguaro
(Carnegiea gigantea), and other cacti are used throughout the year but
are especially important in dry seasons as a source of moisture [70].
  • 2. Anderson, Jay E.; Shumar, Mark L. 1986. Impacts of black-tailed jackrabbits at peak population densities on sagebrush vegetation. Journal of Range Management. 39(2): 152-155. [322]
  • 11. Brandt, C. A.; Rickard, W. H. 1994. Alien taxa in the North American shrub-steppe four decades after cessation of livestock grazing and cultivation agriculture. Biological Conservation. 68(2): 95-105. [23456]
  • 18. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry L.; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 22. Denyes, H. Arliss. 1956. Natural terrestrial communities of Brewster County, Texas, with special reference to the distribution of the mammals. American Midland Naturalist. 55(2): 289-320. [10862]
  • 28. Fagerstone, Kathleen A.; Lavoie, G. Keith; Griffith, Richard E., Jr. 1980. Black-tailed jackrabbit diet and density on rangeland and near agricultural crops. Journal of Range Management. 33(3): 229-233. [21756]
  • 29. Fatehi, Mohammad; Pieper, Rex D.; Beck, Reldon E. 1988. Seasonal food habits of blacktailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) in southern New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist. 33(3): 367-370. [6156]
  • 36. Gates, Robert J.; Eng, Robert L. 1984. Sage grouse, pronghorn, and lagomorph use of a sagebrush-grassland burn site on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. In: Markham, O. Doyle, ed. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory radio ecology and ecology programs: 1983 progress reports. Idaho Falls, ID: U.S. Department of Energy, Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory: 220-235. [1005]
  • 38. Gibbens, R. P.; Havstad, K. M.; Billheimer, D. D.; Herbel, C. H. 1993. Creosotebush vegetation after 50 years of lagomorph exclusion. Oecologia. 94(2): 210-217. [25019]
  • 39. Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]
  • 43. Hall, Lillian M.; George, Melvin R.; McCreary, Douglas D.; Adams, Theodore E. 1992. Effects of cattle grazing on blue oak seedling damage and survival. Journal of Range Management. 45(5): 503-506. [19615]
  • 46. Howard, V. W., Jr.; Cheap, Kathleen M.; Hier, Ross H.; [and others]
  • 49. Kerley, G. I. H.; Tiver, F.; Whitford, W. G. 1993. Herbivory of clonal populations: cattle browsing afftects reproduction and population structure of Yucca elata. Oecologia. 93: 12-17. [21434]
  • 56. MacCracken, James G.; Hansen, Richard M. 1984. Seasonal foods of blacktail jackrabbits and Nuttall cottontails in southeastern Idaho. Journal of Range Management. 37(3): 256-259. [25010]
  • 57. Mares, M. A.; Hulse, A. C. 1977. Patterns of some vertebrate communities in creosote bush deserts. In: Mabry, T. J.; Hunziker, J. H.; DiFeo, D. R., Jr., eds. Creosote bush: Biology and chemistry of Larrea in New World deserts. U.S./IBP Synthesis Series 6. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc: 209-226. [7171]
  • 59. McAdoo, J. Kent; Longland, William S.; Cluff, Greg J.; Klebenow, Donald A. 1987. Use of new rangeland seedings by black-tailed jackrabbits. Journal of Range Management. 40(6): 520-524. [135]
  • 70. Turner, Raymond M.; Alcorn, Stanley M.; Olin, George. 1969. Mortality of transplanted saguaro seedlings. Ecology. 50(5): 835-844. [1803]
  • 81. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 117 p. [9933]
  • 82. Wansi, Tchouassi; Pieper, Rex D.; Beck, Reldon F.; Murray, Leigh W. 1992. Botanical content of black-tailed jackrabbit diets on semidesert rangeland. Great Basin Naturalist. 52(4): 300-308. [20177]
  • 85. Woffinden, Neil D.; Murphy, Joseph R. 1989. Decline of a ferruginous hawk population: a 20-year summary. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(4): 1127-1132. [22297]
  • 89. Young, James A.; Kay, Burgess L.; Evans, Raymond A. 1984. Winter hardiness and jackrabbit preference in a hybrid population of fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens). In: Tiedemann, Arthur R.; McArthur, E. Durant; Stutz, Howard, C.; [and others]

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Associations

Predators

Black-tailed jackrabbit is an important prey species for many raptors
and carnivorous mammals. Nydegger and Smith [60] rated black-tailed
jackrabbit and Townsend's ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendii) as
the two most important prey species on the Snake River Birds of Prey
Study Area. Hawks preying on black-tailed jackrabbit include the
ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) [5,45,47,85], white-tailed hawk (B.
albicaudatus) [66], Swainson's hawk (B. swainsoni), and red-tailed hawk
(B. jamaicensis) [47]. Janes [47] reported black-tailed jackrabbit as
the primary prey of Swainson's, red-tailed, and ferruginous hawks on
Idaho and Utah sites. Other raptors consuming black-tailed jackrabbit
include the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), burrowing owl (Athene
cunicularia), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and bald eagle
(Haliaeetus leucocephalus) [37,90]. Nydegger and Smith [60] reported a
significant correlation between golden eagle production and black-tailed
jackrabbit productivity on the Snake River Birds of Prey Study Area. In
Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, black-tailed jackrabbit constituted 9
percent of nesting bald eagle's diet [51]. Jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) and
cottontails (Sylvilagus spp.) combined formed 9 percent of the diet of
bald eagles wintering on National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico
[41].

Mammalian predators include coyote (Canis latrans), domestic dog (C.
familiaris), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), common gray fox (Urocyon
cinereoargenteus), American badger (Taxidea taxus), mountain lion (Felis
concolor), housecat (F. catus), and bobcat (Lynx rufus) [24,39,68]. In
many areas, black-tailed jackrabbit is the primary item in coyote diets
[1,325,45]. It is locally and regionally important to other mammalian
predators. One study [35] found that jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) made up
45 percent of the bobcat diet in Utah and Nevada. Another Utah-Nevada
study [61] found that jackrabbits were the fourth most commonly consumed
prey of mountain lion.

Rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) and garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) prey
on black-tailed jackrabbit young [54,81]. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and
striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) may also capture young [81].

Humans hunt black-tailed jackrabbit for food and hunt, trap, or poison
it as a pest species [24].
  • 1. Andelt, William F.; Kie, John G.; Knowlton, Frederick F.; Cardwell, Dean. 1987. Variation in coyote diets associated with season and successional changes in vegetation. Journal of Wildlife Management. 51(2): 273-277. [19860]
  • 5. Benson, Patrick C. 1979. Land use and wildlife with emphasis on raptors. [Ogden, UT]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 35. Gashwiler, Jay S.; Robinette, W. Leslie; Morris, Owen W. 1960. Foods of bobcats in Utah and eastern Nevada. Journal of Wildlife Management. 24(2): 226-228. [25006]
  • 37. Germano, David Joseph. 1978. Response of selected wildlife to mesquite removal in desert grassland. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 60 p. M.S. thesis. [10532]
  • 39. Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]
  • 41. Grubb, Teryl G.; Kennedy, Charles E. 1982. Bald eagle winter habitat on southwestern National Forests. Res. Pap. RM-237. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 13 p. [19325]
  • 45. Holechek, Jerry L. 1981. Brush control impacts on rangeland wildlife. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 36(5): 265-269. [1182]
  • 47. Janes, Stewart W. 1985. Habitat selection in raptorial birds. In: Cody, Martin L., ed. Habitat selection in birds. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 51. Kralovec, Mary L.; Knight, Richard L.; Craig, Gerald R.; McLean, Robert G. 1992. Nesting productivity, food habits, and nest sites of bald eagles in Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. Southwestern Naturalist. 37(4): 356-361. [20337]
  • 54. Lechleitner, R. R. 1959. Sex ratio, age classes and reproduction of the black-tailed jack rabbit. Journal of Mammalogy. 40(1): 63-81. [25009]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 61. Robinette, W. Leslie; Gashwiler, Jay S.; Morris, Owen W. 1959. Food habits of the cougar in Utah and Nevada. Journal of Wildlife Management. 23(3): 261-273. [25007]
  • 66. Stevenson, James O.; Meitzen, Logan H. 1946. Behavior and food habits of Sennett's white-tailed hawk in Texas. Wilson Bulletin. 58(4): 198-205. [20006]
  • 68. Tiemeier, Otto W.; Plenert, Marvin L. 1964. A comparison of three methods for determining the age of black-tailed jackrabbits. Journal of Mammalogy. 45(3): 409-416. [25003]
  • 81. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 117 p. [9933]
  • 85. Woffinden, Neil D.; Murphy, Joseph R. 1989. Decline of a ferruginous hawk population: a 20-year summary. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(4): 1127-1132. [22297]
  • 90. Flath, Dennis. 1994. Bunnies by the bunch. Montana Outdoors. 25(3): 8-13. [23637]

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Known predators

Lepus californicus (rabbit carcass (L. californicus)) is prey of:
Aquila chrysaetos
Buteo regalis
Buteo swainsoni
Blaesoxipha plinthopyga
Cochyliomyia macellaria
Musca domestica
Boreocanthon puncticollis
Dermestes marmoratus
Eleodes carbonarius
Eleodes longicollis
Embaphion
Silpha truncata
Necrophorus marginatus
Conomyrma bicolor
Pheidole
Novomessor cockerelli
Crematogaster clara
Iridomyrmex pruinosum
Trox suberosus

Based on studies in:
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
USA: Texas, Franklin Mtns (Carrion substrate)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • K. Schoenly and W. Reid, 1983. Community structure of carrion arthropods in the Chihuahuan Desert. J. Arid Environ. 6:253-263, from pp. 256-58 & unpub. material.
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Known prey organisms

Lepus californicus (rabbit carcass (L. californicus)) preys on:
Bouteloua gracilis
Kochia
Sphaeralcea coccinea
Decapoda
Carex
Sporobolus cryptandrus
Pascopyrum smithii
Vulpia octoflora
Agropyron desertorum
Medicago sativa
Salsola
Mirabilis
Sophora nuttalliana

Triticum aestivum
Avena sativa
Helianthus annuus

Based on studies in:
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
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General Ecology

Populations are known to fluctuate markedly, slowly reaching peak over several years, falling off rapidly in several weeks or months (Larrison and Johnson 1981). Populations increase with overgrazing. Commonly carries tularemia. May travel up to a mile from daytime retreat to night feeding area. May gather in large group to feed. Home range varies from less than 1 sq km to 3 sq km in northern Utah (Smith 1990).

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Habitat-related Fire Effects

More info for the terms: cover, density, fire regime, forb, shrub, shrubs

Patchy fire in big sagebrush and other shrub types can benefit
black-tailed jackrabbit by increasing grass and forb production adjacent
to shrub cover. In Idaho black-tailed jackrabbit density was
significantly (p less than 0.01) higher in big sagebrush plots prescribed burned
than on unburned plots in two of four counts. Density was similar on
burned and control plots on the other two counts. Reducing shrub cover
over large areas, however, can increase mortality from predation due to
cover removal [36]. Patchy fire in coniferous forest types probably
also benefits black-tailed jackrabbit by reducing the overstory and
encouraging growth of herbs, shrubs, and small conifers.

Great Basin: Fire frequencies on some big sagebrush habitats of the
Great Basin have increased from historical ranges of 30 to 70 years to
an average of 5.5 years [10,86,87]. Cheatgrass, an exotic that forms
dense stands and dries out earlier than native grasses, has been
implicated in changing the fire regime. Big sagebrush has declined with
frequent fire [10]. Loss of big sagebrush forage and cover has caused a
steady decline in black-tailed jackrabbit populations in affected areas
[60,84,85]. Some raptor populations are declining as well [60,85].
Wicklow-Howard [84] recommended revegetating these areas with big
sagebrush after fire to increase black-tailed jackrabbit and raptor
populations.
  • 36. Gates, Robert J.; Eng, Robert L. 1984. Sage grouse, pronghorn, and lagomorph use of a sagebrush-grassland burn site on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. In: Markham, O. Doyle, ed. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory radio ecology and ecology programs: 1983 progress reports. Idaho Falls, ID: U.S. Department of Energy, Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory: 220-235. [1005]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 85. Woffinden, Neil D.; Murphy, Joseph R. 1989. Decline of a ferruginous hawk population: a 20-year summary. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(4): 1127-1132. [22297]
  • 10. Boltz, Mike; Jones, Chuck; Green, Galen; Johansen, Jim. 1987. Jarbridge Resource Area: normal year fire rehab plan; greenstripping plan; sagebrush management plan. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office. 179 p. [483]
  • 84. Wicklow-Howard, Marcia. 1989. The occurrence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in burned areas of the Snake River Birds of Prey Area, Idaho. Mycotaxon. 34(1): 253-257. [12312]
  • 86. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. [2620]
  • 87. Wright, Henry A.; Neuenschwander, Leon F.; Britton, Carlton M. 1979. The role and use of fire in sagebrush-grass and pinyon-juniper plant communities: A state-of-the-art review. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-58. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Statio. 48 p. [2625]

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Timing of Major Life History Events

More info for the term: litter

Breeding: Male black-tailed jackrabbit reach sexual maturity at about 7
months of age [54]. Females usually breed in the spring of their second
year, although females born in spring or early summer may breed in their
first year. Ovulation is induced by copulation [24]. The breeding
season is variable depending upon latitude and environmental factors.
In the northern part of its range in Idaho, black-tailed jackrabbit
breeds from February through May [32]. In Utah, Gross and others [40]
reported breeding from January through July, with over 75 percent of
females pregnant by April. The Kansas breeding season extends from
January to August [68]. Breeding in warm climates continues nearly
year-round. Two peak breeding seasons corresponding to rainfall
patterns and vegetation greenup occur in California [54], Arizona [81],
and New Mexico [20]. In Arizona, for example, breeding peaks during
winter (January-March) rains and again during June monsoons [81].

Gestation and Nesting: The gestation period ranges from 41 to 47 days
[40,44]. More litters are born in warm climates: Number of litters
born each year ranged from two per year in Idaho [30] to seven in
Arizona [81]. Litter sizes are largest in the northern portions of
black-tailed jabbit's range, however, and decrease with latitude.
Average litter size has been reported at 4.9 in Idaho [30], 3.8 in Utah
[40], and 2.2 in Arizona [81].

Female black-tailed jackrabbit do not prepare an elaborate nest. They
give birth in shallow excavations called forms that are no more than a
few centimeters deep. Females may line forms with hair prior to
parturition, but some drop litters in existing depressions on the ground
with no further preparation [67,68]. Young are borne fully furred with
eyes open, and are mobile within minutes of birth [24,90]. Females do
not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing [65].
Ages of weaning and dispersal are unclear since the young are well
camouflaged and rarely observed in the field. Captive black-tailed
jackrabbit are fully weaned by 8 weeks [81]. The young apparently stay
together for at least a week after leaving the form [24,65].
  • 20. Davis, Charles A.; Medlin, Joel A.; Griffing, James P. 1975. Abundance of black-tailed jackrabbits, desert cottontail rabbits, and coyotes in southeastern New Mexico. Research Report 293. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexcio State Univeristy, Agricultural Experiment Station. 8 p. [25081]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 30. Feldhamer, George A. 1979. Age, sex ratios and reproductive potential in black-tailed jackrabbits. Mammalia. 43(4): 473-478. [25004]
  • 32. French, Norman R.; McBride, Ray; Detmer, Jack. 1965. Fertility and population density of the black-tailed jackrabbit. Journal of Wildlife Management. 29(1): 14-26. [25018]
  • 40. Gross, Jack E.; Stoddart, L. Charles; Wagner, Frederic H. 1974. Demographic analysis of a northern Utah jackrabbit population. Wildlife Monographs No. 40. Washington, DC: The Wildlife Society. 68 p. [25000]
  • 44. Haskell, Horace S.; Reynolds, Hudson G. 1947. Growth, developmental food requirements, and breeding activity of the California jack rabbit. Journal of Mammalogy. 28(2): 129-136. [25002]
  • 54. Lechleitner, R. R. 1959. Sex ratio, age classes and reproduction of the black-tailed jack rabbit. Journal of Mammalogy. 40(1): 63-81. [25009]
  • 65. Smith, Graham W. 1990. Home range and activity patterns of black-tailed jackrabbits. Great Basin Naturalist. 50(3): 249-256. [25022]
  • 67. Stoddart, L. Charles. 1984. Site fidelity and grouping of neonatal jack rabbits, Lepus californicus. Journal of Mammalogy. 65(1): 136-137. [25023]
  • 68. Tiemeier, Otto W.; Plenert, Marvin L. 1964. A comparison of three methods for determining the age of black-tailed jackrabbits. Journal of Mammalogy. 45(3): 409-416. [25003]
  • 81. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 117 p. [9933]
  • 90. Flath, Dennis. 1994. Bunnies by the bunch. Montana Outdoors. 25(3): 8-13. [23637]

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Cyclicity

Comments: Active throughout the year. Primarily crepuscular and nocturnal.

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Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
6.8 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 11.8 years (captivity) Observations: One wild born specimen was about 11.8 years of age when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Black-tailed jackrabbit males and females leap after, chase, and behave aggressively towards each other during a brief courtship phase before mating.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Breeding season for Lepus californicus extends from December through September in Arizona and from late January to August in California and Kansas. Females produce 3 or 4 litters annually with 1-6 leverets (generally 3 or 4) after a 41-47 day gestation period. The young are precocial; females only nurse their offspring for 2-3 days and are not seen with their young after that time. Lifespan in captivity is 5-6 years, but rabbits in the wild often die much sooner due to predation, disease or problems associated with overpopulation.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 8.

Average number of offspring: 2.26.

Range gestation period: 41 to 47 days.

Average gestation period: 43 days.

Range weaning age: 14 to 21 days.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 84.34 g.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
243 days.

Parental Investment: precocial

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Breeding period may extend from late winter to late summer. Gestation lasts 41-47 days. Females produce 1-4 litters of 1-8 (usually 2-4) precocial young each year (Jones et al. 1983).

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Large ears used to cool off: jackrabbit
 

The large ears of the jack rabbit are used in cooling, radiating heat via an extensive network of blood vessels.

     
  "Many desert animals have large ears, and the jack rabbit is no exception. It has been suggested that large ears, with their network of blood vessels, may serve to radiate heat to the sky while the animal is resting in the shade, so helping to lower its body temperature." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:165)

"Blood flow to the ear pinnae is curtailed at ambient temperatures of between 1.4° and 24.0° C, which minimizes heat loss across the pinnae and allows the surfaces of erect pinnae to approach ambient temperature. The pinnae are warmed by steady or pulsatile vasodilation in some animals when the ambient temperature is between 1° and 9° C below body temperature, a response favoring heat loss. When ambient temperature exceeds body temperature by 4° to 5° C, the pinnae are circulated with blood cooler than ambient temperature; this response favors heat influx." (Hill and Vegth 1976:436)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Foy, Sally; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
  • Mohler FS; Heath JE. 1988. Comparison of IR thermography and thermocouple measurement of heat loss from rabbit pinna. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 254(2): 389-395.
  • Wathen P; Mitchell JW; Porter WP. 1971. Theoretical and experimental studies of energy exchange from jackrabbit ears and cylindrically shaped appendages. Biophysical Journal. 11(12): 1030-1047.
  • Hill RW; Vegthe JH. 1976. Jackrabbit ears: surface temperatures and vascular responses. Science. 194(4263):
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lepus californicus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 137
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Population numbers of black-tailed jackrabbits are sometimes quite high despite attempts at culling their populations by ranchers and farmers. Population densities often reach 470 animals per square km, with densities as high as 1500 animals per square km being recorded. Large herding attempts have netted as much as 6,000 hares at a time. As with many hares, Lepus californicus populations undergo drastic fluctuations, with population numbers peaking every 6 to 10 years. In some years more then 90 per cent of western populations die from tularemia, which may or may not be related to the population cycling phenomenon. Because of their incredible fecundity, black-tailed jackrabbit numbers quickly recover from these kinds of die-offs.

Black-tailed jackrabbit populations are not threatened in general, though extensive habitat destruction may reduce suitable habitat.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

  • Wilson, D., S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Mexican Association for Conservation and Study of Lagomorphs (AMCELA), Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H.

Reviewer/s
Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Lepus californicus is a widespread species, whose range is expanding.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Information on state- and province-level protection status of animals in the
United States and Canada is available at NatureServe, although recent changes
in status may not be included.

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Population

Population
In the Reserva de la Biosfera de Mapimi:
14-37 individuals/km² shrublands
12-44 individuals/km² grassland.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
L. californicus is at risk from hunting for sport and local subsistence, human perturbation and exotic predation. In some places the animal competition (livestock), habitat fragmentation and human-induced fire represent important threats for their populations.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The following conservation measures are recommended for L. californicus, research in monitoring/trends and species-based action regarding harvest management. Long-term research is recommended with regard to ecological relationships and population dynamics and genetics (Flinders and Chapman 2003). There is also a need for more definitive classification of jackrabbit subspecies (Flinders and Chapman 2003). Furthermore, data are needed to determine gaps in distribution and relationship dynamics between L. californicus and other jackrabbits that occur sympatrically (Flinders and Chapman 2003).
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Use of Fire in Population Management

More info for the terms: density, prescribed fire, shrubs

Jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) moved onto a burn in Arizona desert shrubsteppe
immediately after a November precribed fire. Jackrabbits foraged in the
burn through winter and into spring [58].

California chaparral: Closed-canopy chamise chaparral in Lake County
was prescribed burned in May to enhance wildlife habitat. Treatment was
creating small (5-10 acre [2-4 ha]) openings in the dense shrubs and
seeding the burned areas with annual and perennial herbs. Prefire
density of black-tailed jackrabbit was approximately 1 jackrabbit/sq
mile; density at postfire year 1 was approximately 5 to 10 jackrabbits/sq
mile. Burn use was heaviest in summer. Black-tailed jackrabbit grazed
the seeded-in perennials heavily. Most of the annuals were grazed only
lightly; however, cultivated rye (Secale cereale) was preferred. Soft
chess (Bromus hordeaceus) foliage was not grazed, but black-tailed
jackrabbit ate the ripe seeds [7].

Fifty percent removal of the canopy by prescribed fire in
chamise-ceanothus chaparral on the Cleveland National Forest attracted
black-tailed jackrabbit to the burned areas. They did not use unburned
areas with closed canopies [4].
  • 4. Bell, M. M.; Studinski, G. H. 1972. Habitat manipulation and its relationship to avian and small rodent populations on the Decanso District of the Cleveland National Forest. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 21 p. [17047]
  • 7. Biswell, H. H.; Taber, R. D.; Hedrick, D. W.; Schultz, A. M. 1952. Management of chamise brushlands for game in the north coast region of California. California Fish and Game. 38(4): 453-484. [13673]
  • 58. Martin, S. Clark. 1983. Responses of semidesert grasses and shrubs to fall burning. Journal of Range Management. 36(5): 604-610. [1539]

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Management Considerations

More info for the terms: competition, cover, density, shrubs

Black-tailed jackrabbit populations undergo periodic peaks and lows
every 3 to 10 years [18,19,24]. Northern Utah populations, for example,
reached a peak density of 71.4 black-tailed jackrabbits/sq km in 1970,
declined to a low of 47.1 black-tailed jackrabbits/sq km in 1972
(Stoddart in [85]), and peaked to approximate 1970 levels in 1979 [88].
Large populations can overgraze ranges and depradate croplands and
conifer plantations [8,13,24,39,81]. Black-tailed jackrabbit control
methods are reviewed in several publications [26,39,50].

Range: When populations are between peaks, black-tailed jackrabbit
presence may complement livestock grazing. Daniel and others [18,19]
reported that at moderate stocking rates and average black-tailed
jackrabbit numbers, there was little competition for forage between
cattle and black-tailed jackrabbit on a Chihuahua Desert
creosotebush-honey mesquite rangeland. The black-tailed jackrabbit
browsed shrubs such as creosotebush that the cattle found unpalatable.
In addition, the black-tailed jackrabbit consumed native poisonous
plants such as locoweed (Astragulus spp.), desert marigold, and wooly
paperflower, thereby reducing poisonous plant cover. Thirty-six percent
of their total diet was composed of plants poisonous to cattle. Daniel
and others [18] also found that black-tailed jackrabbit densities were
significantly (p less than 0.10) higher on rangeland in fair condition than on
good condition rangelands. They suggested that maintaining rangelands
in good to excellent condition may be the best way to control
black-tailed jackrabbit populations.

Black-tailed jackrabbit populations in some areas of the Great Basin
have been declining for 20 to 25 years. There has been an attendant
population decline of some raptor species including ferruginous hawk
[85] and golden eagle [60]. See HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS for
further details.

Black-tailed jackrabbit browse saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima). It is
apparently the only vertebrate herbivore in the United States to do so
[83].

Seeds of several plant species are dispersed in black-tailed jackrabbit
feces including dropseeds (Sporobolus spp.) [19] and prickly pear
(Opuntia spp.) [69].

Timber: In coniferous forests, management practices that reduce edge
also reduce black-tailed jackrabbit populations. Roads, skid trails,
and patchy canopy cover have been found to increase populations [39].

Lagomorphs can reduce conifer seedling survival. Lagomorph damage to
young conifers can be confirmed by examining injured trees. Because
they clip trees at an angle with sharp incisors, lagomorphs leave
smooth, oblique cuts on branchs and twigs. Lacking sharp incisors, deer
(Odocoileus spp.) and elk (Cervus elaphus) leave jagged tears. Clean
branch cuts and fecal pellets, which jackrabbits and rabbits often drop
at feeding sites, signal lagomorph damage [39].

Human Health: The black-tailed jackrabbit is a reservoir for several
diseases transmittable to humans including tularemia, bubonic plague,
and Lyme disease [24,53,81].
  • 8. Black, Hugh C.; Dimock, Edward J., II; Evans, James; Rochelle, James A. 1979. Animal damage to coniferous plantations in Oregon and Washington. Part I. A survey, 1963-1975. Res. Bull. 25. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, School of Forestry. 43 p. [13683]
  • 13. Chapman, J. A.; Dixon, K. R.; Lopez-Forment, W.; Wilson, D. E. 1983. The New World jackrabbits and hares (genus Lepus).--1. Taxonomic history and population status. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 49-51. [25011]
  • 18. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry L.; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 19. Daniel, Alipayou; Holechek, Jerry; Valdez, Raul; [and others]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 26. Evans, James; Hegdal, Paul L.; Griffith, Richard E., Jr. 1970. Methods of controlling jackrabbits. In: Dana, R. H., ed. Proceedings, 4th vertebrate pest conference; 1970 March 3-5; Davis, CA. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 39. Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]
  • 50. Knight, James E. 1988. Controlling jackrabbits in New Mexico. Guide L-208. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 4 p. [25026]
  • 60. Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152-156. [1787]
  • 81. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 117 p. [9933]
  • 85. Woffinden, Neil D.; Murphy, Joseph R. 1989. Decline of a ferruginous hawk population: a 20-year summary. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(4): 1127-1132. [22297]
  • 88. Wywialowski, Alice P.; Stoddart, L. Charles. 1988. Estimation of jack rabbit density: methodology makes a difference. Journal of Wildlife Management. 52(1): 57-59. [25005]
  • 53. Lane, Robert S.; Regnery, David C. 1989. Lagomorphs as sentinels for surveillance of borreliosis in the far western United States. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 25(2): 189-193. [25021]
  • 69. Timmons, F. L. 1942. The dissemination of prickly pear seed by jack rabbits. Journal of the American Society of Agronomy. 34: 513-520. [5214]
  • 83. Waring, Gwendolyn L. 1990. Developing shoreline communities and potential for natural vegetation in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona-Utah. In: Boyce, Mark S.; Plumb, Glenn E., eds. National Park Service Research Center, 14th annual report. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, National Park Service Research Center: 73-75. [14918]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Due to the removal of natural predators, such as coyote and kit fox, by European settlers, black-tailed jackrabbit populations have undergone incredible population explosions in which crops, orchards, and rangelands have suffered. They do considerable damange to farms, forest plantations, and young trees.

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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As with many other Lepus species, L. californicus has been widely used as food for humans, especially by Native Americans. Their fur is not durable nor valuable, but it has been extensively used in the manufacture of felt and as trimming and lining for garments and gloves.

Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material

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Economic Uses

Comments: Sometimes regarded as a pest in certain areas; may damage rangeland, hayfields, and cultivated crops in years of abundance.

Hunted for sport and food. When very abundant, may be herded and killed; meat has been used for dog food (Caire et al. 1989).

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Wikipedia

Black-tailed jackrabbit

The black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), also known as the American desert hare, is a common hare of the western United States and Mexico, where it is found at elevations from sea level to up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Reaching a length of about 2 feet (61 cm), and a weight from 3 to 6 pounds (1.4 to 2.7 kg), the black-tailed jackrabbit is the third largest North American hare, after the antelope jackrabbit and the white-tailed jackrabbit. The black-tailed jackrabbits occupy mixed shrub-grassland terrains. Their breeding depends on the location; it typically peaks in spring, but may continue all year round in warm climates. Young are born fully furred with eyes open; they are well camouflaged and are mobile within minutes of birth, thus females do not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing. The average litter size is around four, but may be as low as two and as high as seven in warm regions.

The black-tailed jackrabbit does not migrate or hibernate during winter and uses the same habitat of 0.4 to 1.2 square miles (1–3 km2) year-round. Its diet is composed of various shrubs, small trees, grasses and forbs. Shrubs generally comprise the bulk of fall and winter diets, while grasses and forbs are used in spring and early summer, but the pattern and plant species vary with climate. Black-tailed jackrabbit is an important prey species for raptors and carnivorous mammals, such as eagles, hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, and wild cats. The rabbits host many ectoparasites including fleas, ticks, lice, and mites; for this reason, hunters often avoid collecting them.

Description[edit]

Like other jackrabbits, the blacktail has distinctive long ears, and the long, powerful rear legs characteristic of hares. Reaching a length of about 2 feet (61 cm), and a weight from 3 to 6 pounds (1.4 to 2.7 kg), the black-tailed jackrabbit is the third largest North American hare, after the antelope jackrabbit and the white-tailed jackrabbit. The black-tailed jackrabbit's dorsal fur is agouti (dark buff peppered with black), and its undersides and the insides of its legs are creamy white. The ears are black-tipped on the outer surface, and unpigmented inside. The ventral surface of the tail is grey to white, and the black dorsal surface of the tail continues up the spine for a few inches to form a short, black stripe.[3] The females are larger than males, with no other significant differences.[4]

Taxonomy and distribution[edit]

Although seventeen subspecies are recognized, this number may be excessive.[5] Using cluster analysis of anatomical characters, Dixon and others found that black-tailed jackrabbit subspecies separated into two distinct groups that are geographically separated west and east of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River. They suggested only two infrataxa are warranted: the western subspecies L. c. californicus and the eastern subspecies L. c. texianus.[6]

Black-tailed jackrabbit is the most widely distributed jackrabbit (Lepus spp.) in North America. Native black-tailed jackrabbit populations occur from central Washington east to Missouri and south to Baja California Sur and Zacatecas. Black-tailed jackrabbit distribution is currently expanding eastward in the Great Plains at the expense of white-tailed jackrabbit.[5] Black-tailed jackrabbit has been successfully introduced in southern Florida and along the coastline in Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.[7][8]

Distribution of subspecies occurring entirely or partially in the United States is as follows:[8][9]

  • Lepus californicus altamirae (Nelson)
  • L. c. asellus (G. S. Miller)
  • L. c. bennettii (Gray) – coastal southern California to Baja California Norte
  • L. c. californicus (Gray) – coastal Oregon to coastal and Central Valley California
  • L. c. curti (E. R. Hall)
  • L. c. deserticola (Mearns) – southern Idaho to Sonora
  • L. c. ememicus (J. A. Allen) – central Arizona to Sonora
  • L. c. festinus (Nelson)
  • L. c. magdalenae (Nelson)
  • L. c. martirensis (J. M. Stowell)
  • L. c. melanotis (Mearns) – South Dakota to Iowa, Missouri, and central Texas
  • L. c. merriamai (Mearns) – south-central and southeastern Texas to Tamaulipas
  • L. c. richardsonii (Bachman) – central California
  • L. c. sheldoni (W. H. Burt)
  • L. c. texianus (Waterhouse) – southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado to Zacatecas
  • L. c. wallawalla (Merriam) – eastern Washington to northeastern California and northwestern Nevada
  • L. c. xanti (Thomas)

Plant communities[edit]

The black-tailed jackrabbit occupies plant communities with a mixture of shrubs, grasses, and forbs. Shrubland-herb mosaics are preferred over pure stands of shrubs or herbs. Black-tailed jackrabbit is common in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.),[10] creosotebush (Larrea tridentata),[11] and other desert shrublands; palouse, shortgrass, and mixed-grass prairies; desert grassland; open-canopy chaparral; oak (Quercus spp.)[12] and pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.)[8] woodlands; and early seral (succeeding each other), low- to mid-elevation coniferous forests.[13] It is also common in and near croplands, especially alfalfa (Medicago sativa) fields.[8]

Major life events[edit]

Male black-tailed jackrabbit reach sexual maturity at about 7 months of age.[14] Females usually breed in the spring of their second year, although females born in spring or early summer may breed in their first year. Ovulation is induced by copulation.[8] The breeding season is variable depending upon latitude and environmental factors. In the northern part of its range in Idaho, black-tailed jackrabbit breeds from February through May. In Utah, black-tailed jackrabbit breed from January through July,[15] with over 75% of females pregnant by April. The Kansas breeding season extends from January to August.[16] Breeding in warm climates continues nearly year-round. Two peak breeding seasons corresponding to rainfall patterns and growth of young vegetation occur in California,[14] Arizona,[17] and New Mexico. In Arizona, for example, breeding peaks during winter (January–March) rains and again during June monsoons.[17]

The gestation period ranges from 41 to 47 days.[15] More litters are born in warm climates: the number of litters born each year ranges from two per year in Idaho to seven in Arizona.[17] Litter sizes are largest in the northern portions of black-tailed jackrabbit's range and decrease toward the south. Average litter size has been reported at 4.9 in Idaho, 3.8 in Utah,[15] and 2.2 in Arizona.[17]

Female black-tailed jackrabbit do not prepare an elaborate nest. They give birth in shallow excavations called forms that are no more than a few centimeters deep. Females may line forms with hair prior to giving birth, but some drop litters in existing depressions on the ground with no further preparation.[16] Young are borne fully furred with eyes open, and are mobile within minutes of birth.[8] Females do not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing.[18] Ages of weaning and dispersal are unclear since the young are well camouflaged and rarely observed in the field. Captive black-tailed jackrabbit are fully weaned by 8 weeks.[17] The young stay together for at least a week after leaving the form.[8][18]

Preferred habitat[edit]

The black-tailed jackrabbit can occupy a wide range of habitats as long as there is diversity in plant species. It requires mixed grasses, forbs, and shrubs for food, and shrubs or small trees for cover.[19] It prefers moderately open areas without dense understory growth and is seldom found in closed-canopy habitats. For example, in California, black-tailed jackrabbit is plentiful in open chamise (Ademostoma fasciculatum Ceanothus spp.) chaparral interspersed with grasses, but does not occupy closed-canopy chaparral.[20] Similarly, black-tailed jackrabbit occupies clearcuts and early seral coniferous forest, but not closed-canopy coniferous forest.[13]

Black-tailed jackrabbit does not migrate or hibernate during winter;[8][13] the same habitat is used year-round. There is diurnal movement of 2 to 10 miles (3–16 km) from shrub cover in day to open foraging areas at night.[8] Home range area varies with habitat and habitat quality.[13] Home ranges of 0.4 to 1.2 square miles (1–3 km2) have been reported in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) communities of northern Utah.[18]

Black-tailed Jackrabbit camouflage.

Black-tailed jackrabbit require shrubs or small conifers for hiding, nesting, and thermal cover, and grassy areas for night feeding.[8][19] A shrub-grassland mosaic or widely spaced shrubs interspersed with herbs provides hiding cover while providing feeding opportunities. Small shrubs do not provide adequate cover.[19][21] In the Snake River Birds of Prey Study Area in southwestern Idaho, black-tailed jackrabbit was more frequent on sites dominated by big sagebrush or black greasewood than on sites dominated by the smaller shrubs winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) or shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia). Black-tailed jackrabbit does not habitually use a burrow,[10] although it has occasionally been observed using abandoned burrows for escape and thermal cover.[8][17][18]

Food habits[edit]

The black-tailed jackrabbit diet is composed of shrubs, small trees, grasses, and forbs. Throughout the course of a year, black-tailed jackrabbit feed on most if not all of the important plant species in a community.[22] Growth stage and moisture content of plants may influence selection more than species. Shrubs generally comprise the bulk of fall and winter diets, while grasses and forbs are used in spring and early summer. This pattern varies with climate: herbaceous plants are grazed during greenup periods while the plants are in prereproductive to early reproductive stages, and shrubs are utilized more in dry seasons.[22][23] Shrubs are browsed throughout the year, however. Most of a jackrabbit's (Lepus spp.) body water is replaced by foraging water-rich vegetation.[17][24] Jackrabbit require a plant's water weight to be at least five times its dry weight in order to meet daily water intake requirements. Therefore, black-tailed jackrabbits switch to phreatophyte (deep-rooted) shrubs when herbaceous vegetation is recovering from their foraging.[24]

Plant species used by black-tailed jackrabbit are well documented for desert regions. Forage use in other regions is less well known. However, black-tailed jackrabbit browse Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) seedlings, and oak (Quercus spp.) seedlings and sprouts.[12][13]

Great Basin[edit]

In Great Basin, big sagebrush is a primary forage species and is used throughout the year; in southern Idaho it forms 16–21% of the black-tailed jackrabbit summer diet. Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), spiny hopsage (Gray spinosa), and black greasewood are also browsed.[22][25] Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens) is heavily used in western Nevada. In Butte County, Idaho, winterfat comprises 41% of black-tailed jackrabbits' annual diet. Grasses comprise 14% of the diet, with most grass consumption in March and April. Russian thistle (Salsola kali) is an important forb diet item. Needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata) and Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) are preferred grasses. Other preferred native grasses include Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) and bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata). Where available, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum and Agropyron cristatum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) are highly preferred. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) use is variable: it comprises 45% of the April diet on two southern Idaho sites,[25] but black-tailed jackrabbit on an eastern Washington site do not use it.[26]

Warm desert[edit]

In warm desert, mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) are principle browse species.[11][17] Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) and Yucca spp. are also used. In honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa) communities in New Mexico, overall black-tailed jackrabbit diet was 47% shrubs, 22% grasses, and 31% forbs.[21] Black grama (Bouteloua spp.), dropseed (Sporobolus spp.), fluffgrass (Erioneuron pulchellum), and threeawns (Aristida spp.) are the most commonly grazed grasses.[21][23] Leather croton (Croton pottsii), silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium), desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), wooly paperflower (Psilostrophe tagetina), and globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.) are important forbs, although many forb species are grazed.[23] Opuntia spp., saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), and other cacti are used throughout the year but are especially important in dry seasons as a source of moisture.[27]

Predators[edit]

Black-tailed jackrabbit is an important prey species for many raptors and carnivorous mammals. The black-tailed jackrabbit and Townsend's ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendii) are the two most important prey species on the Snake River Birds of Prey Study Area.[10] Hawks preying on black-tailed jackrabbit include the ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), white-tailed hawk (Buteo albicaudatus), Swainson's hawk (B. swainsoni), and red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis).[28] The black-tailed jackrabbit is the primary prey of Swainson's, red-tailed, and ferruginous hawks on Idaho and Utah sites. Other raptors consuming black-tailed jackrabbit include the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo). There is a significant correlation between golden eagle and black-tailed jackrabbit reproduction patterns.[10] In Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, black-tailed jackrabbit constitute 9% of nesting bald eagles' diet. Jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) and cottontails (Sylvilagus spp.) combined form 9% of the diet of bald eagles wintering on National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico.[29]

Mammalian predators include coyote (Canis latrans), bobcat (Lynx rufus), lynx (Lynx canadensis), domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), domestic cat (Felis catus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), common gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), American badger (Taxidea taxus), wolf (Canis lupus), and mountain lion (Felis concolor).[8][13][16] In many areas, black-tailed jackrabbit is the primary item in coyote diets. It is locally and regionally important to other mammalian predators. One study found that jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) made up 45% of the bobcat diet in Utah and Nevada.[30] Another Utah–Nevada study found that jackrabbits were the fourth most commonly consumed prey of mountain lion.[31]

Rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) and garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) prey on black-tailed jackrabbit young.[14][17] Raccoons (Procyon lotor) and striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) may also capture young.[17]

Parasites and disease[edit]

The black-tailed jackrabbit plays host to many ectoparasites including fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, and many endoparasites including trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, and botfly (Cuterebra) larvae. Diseases affecting the black-tailed jackrabbit in the West are tularemia, equine encephalitis, brucellosis, Q fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks are vectors for tularemia, and infected ticks have been found on jackrabbits in the West. Jackrabbits infected with tularemia die very quickly.[3]

The high prevalence of disease and parasites in wild jackrabbits affects human predation. Many hunters will not collect the jackrabbits they shoot, and those who do are well advised to wear gloves while handling carcasses and to cook the meat thoroughly to avoid contracting tularemia. Most hunting of jackrabbits is done for pest control or sport.[8]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document "Lepus californicus".

  1. ^ Hoffman, R. S.; Smith, A. T. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Mexican Association for Conservation and Study of Lagomorphs (AMCELA), Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H. (2008). "Lepus californicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Whitaker, John O., Jr.; Hamilton, William J., Jr.. 1998. Mammals of the Eastern United States. Cornell University Press. 189-92. ISBN 0-8014-3475-0
  4. ^ Big Bend National Park Black-tailed Jackrabbit, US National Park Service
  5. ^ a b Flux, J. E. C. (1983). "Introduction to taxonomic problems in hares". Acta Zoologica Fennica 174: 7–10. 
  6. ^ Dixon, K. R. et al.. (1983). "The New World jackrabbits and hares (genus Lepus).--2. Numerical taxonomic analysis". Acta Zoologica Fennica 174: 53–56. 
  7. ^ Chapman, J. A.; Dixon, K. R.; Lopez-Forment, W.; Wilson, D. E. (1983). "The New World jackrabbits and hares (genus Lepus).--1. Taxonomic history and population status". Acta Zoologica Fennica 174: 49–51. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press ISBN 0-8018-2353-6
  9. ^ Hall, E. Raymond. (1951). "A synopsis of the North American Lagomorpha". University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 5 (10): 119–202. 
  10. ^ a b c d Nydegger, Nicholas C.; Smith, Graham W. 1986. Prey populations in relation to Artemisia vegetation types in southwestern Idaho. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings—symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9–13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 152–156
  11. ^ a b Mares, M. A.; Hulse, A. C. 1977. Patterns of some vertebrate communities in creosote bush deserts. In: Mabry, T. J.; Hunziker, J. H.; DiFeo, D. R., Jr., eds. Creosote bush: Biology and chemistry of Larrea in New World deserts. U.S./IBP Synthesis Series 6. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc: 209–226
  12. ^ a b Hall, Lillian M.; George, Melvin R.; McCreary, Douglas D.; Adams, Theodore E. (1992). "Effects of cattle grazing on blue oak seedling damage and survival". Journal of Range Management 45 (5): 503–506. doi:10.2307/4002912. JSTOR 4002912. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Giusti, Gregory A.; Schmidt, Robert H.; Timm, Robert M.; [and others]. 1992. The lagomorphs: rabbits, hares, and pika. In: Silvicultural approaches to animal damage management in Pacific Northwest forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-287. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 289–307
  14. ^ a b c Lechleitner, R. R. (1959). "Sex ratio, age classes and reproduction of the black-tailed jack rabbit". Journal of Mammalogy 40 (1): 63–81. doi:10.2307/1376117. JSTOR 1376117. 
  15. ^ a b c Gross, Jack E.; Stoddart, L. Charles; Wagner, Frederic H. (1974). "Demographic analysis of a northern Utah jackrabbit population". Wildlife Monographs No. 40. Washington, DC: the Wildlife Society. JSTOR 4002912. 
  16. ^ a b c Tiemeier, Otto W.; Plenert, Marvin L. (1964). "A comparison of three methods for determining the age of black-tailed jackrabbits". Journal of Mammalogy 45 (3): 409–416. doi:10.2307/1377413. JSTOR 1377413. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1933. The life histories and ecology of jack rabbits, Lepus alleni and Lepus californicus ssp., in relation to grazing in Arizona. Technical Bulletin No. 49. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station
  18. ^ a b c d Smith, Graham W. (1990). "Home range and activity patterns of black-tailed jackrabbits". Great Basin Naturalist 50 (3): 249–256.  PDF copy
  19. ^ a b c Johnson, Randal D.; Anderson, Jay E. (1984). "Diets of black-tailed jack rabbits in relation to population density and vegetation". Journal of Range Management 37 (1): 79–83. doi:10.2307/3898830. JSTOR 3898830. 
  20. ^ Bell, M. M.; Studinski, G. H. 1972. Habitat manipulation and its relationship to avian and small rodent populations on the Decanso District of the Cleveland National Forest. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT
  21. ^ a b c Daniel, Alipayou et al.. (1993). "Range condition influences on Chihuahuan Desert cattle and jackrabbit diets". Journal of Range Management 46 (4): 296–301. doi:10.2307/4002461. JSTOR 4002461. 
  22. ^ a b c Anderson, Jay E.; Shumar, Mark L. (1986). "Impacts of black-tailed jackrabbits at peak population densities on sagebrush vegetation". Journal of Range Management 39 (2): 152–155. doi:10.2307/3899289. JSTOR 3899289. 
  23. ^ a b c Wansi, Tchouassi; Pieper, Rex D.; Beck, Reldon F.; Murray, Leigh W. (1992). "Botanical content of black-tailed jackrabbit diets on semidesert rangeland". Great Basin Naturalist 52 (4): 300–308. 
  24. ^ a b Woffinden, Neil D.; Murphy, Joseph R. (1989). "Decline of a ferruginous hawk population: a 20-year summary". Journal of Wildlife Management 53 (4): 1127–1132. doi:10.2307/3809619. JSTOR 3809619. 
  25. ^ a b Fagerstone, Kathleen A.; Lavoie, G. Keith; Griffith, Richard E., Jr. (1980). "Black-tailed jackrabbit diet and density on rangeland and near agricultural crops". Journal of Range Management 33 (3): 229–233. doi:10.2307/3898292. JSTOR 3898292. 
  26. ^ Brandt, C; Rickard, W (1994). "Alien taxa in the North American shrub-steppe four decades after cessation of livestock grazing and cultivation agriculture". Biological Conservation 68: 95. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(94)90339-5. 
  27. ^ Turner, Raymond M; Alcorn, Stanley M; Olin, George (1969). "Mortality of Transplanted Saguaro Seedlings". Ecology 50 (5): 835–844. doi:10.2307/1933697. JSTOR 1933697. 
  28. ^ Janes, Stewart W. 1985. Habitat selection in raptorial birds. In: Cody, Martin L., ed. Habitat selection in birds. Academic Press Inc: 159–188
  29. ^ Grubb, Teryl G.; Kennedy, Charles E. 1982. Bald eagle winter habitat on southwestern National Forests. Res. Pap. RM-M237. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
  30. ^ Gashwiler, Jay S.; Robinette, W. Leslie; Morris, Owen W. (1960). "Foods of bobcats in Utah and eastern Nevada". Journal of Wildlife Management 24 (2): 226–228. doi:10.2307/3796754. JSTOR 3796754. 
  31. ^ Robinette, W. Leslie; Gashwiler, Jay S.; Morris, Owen W. (1959). "Food habits of the cougar in Utah and Nevada". Journal of Wildlife Management 23 (3): 261–273. doi:10.2307/3796884. JSTOR 3796884. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The currently accepted scientific name of black-tailed jackrabbit is
Lepus californicus Gray (Leporidae) [13,15,23,24,42]. Seventeen
subspecies are recognized:

L. c. altamirae Nelson [13,42]
L. c. asellus Miller [13,42]
L. c. bennettii Gray* [42]
L. c. californicus Gray* [13,24,42]
L. c. curti Hall [42]
L. c. deserticola Mearns* [13,24,42]
L. c. ememicus J. A. Allen* [24,42]
L. c. festinus Nelson [13,42]
L. c. magdalenae Nelson [13,42]
L. c. martirensis Stowell [42]
L. c. melanotis Mearns* [13,24,42]
L. c. merriamai Mearns* [13,42]
L. c. richardsonii Bachman* [13,24,42]
L. c. sheldoni Burt [13,42]
L. c. texianus Waterhouse* [13,24,42]
L. c. wallawalla Merriam* [13,24,42]
L. c. xanti Thomas [13,42]

*occurs north of Mexico [24]

Flux [31] noted that the number of black-tailed jackrabbit subspecies
recognized may be excessive. Using cluster analysis of anatomical
characters, Dixon and others [23] found that black-tailed jackrabbit
subspecies separated into two distinct groups that are geographically
separated west and east of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Colorado
River. They suggested only two infrataxa are warranted: the western
subspecies L. c. californicus and the eastern subspecies L. c.
texianus.

Black-tailed jackrabbit and white-tailed jackrabbit (L. townsendii)
produce hybrid offspring in Utah [31].
  • 13. Chapman, J. A.; Dixon, K. R.; Lopez-Forment, W.; Wilson, D. E. 1983. The New World jackrabbits and hares (genus Lepus).--1. Taxonomic history and population status. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 49-51. [25011]
  • 24. Dunn, John P.; Chapman, Joseph A.; Marsh, Rex E. 1982. Jackrabbits: Lepus californicus and allies. In: Chapman, J. A.; Feldhamer, G. A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management and economics. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press: 124-145. [25016]
  • 31. Flux, J. E. C. 1983. Introduction to taxonomic problems in hares. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 7-10. [25017]
  • 42. Hall, E. Raymond. 1951. A synopsis of the North American Lagomorpha. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History. 5(10): 119-202. [23640]
  • 15. Corbet, G. B. 1983. A review of classification in the family Leporidae. Acta Zoologica Fennica. 174: 11-15. [25025]
  • 23. Dixon, K. R.; Chapman, J. A.; Willner, G. R.; [and others]

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Common Names

black-tailed jackrabbit

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