The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families: the Leporidae (hares and rabbits) and the Ochotonidae (pikas). The name of the order is derived from the Ancient Greek lagos (λαγώς, "hare") + morphē (μορφή, "form"). There are about eighty-seven extant species of lagomorph, including about twenty-nine species of pika, twenty-eight species of rabbit and cottontail, and thirty species of hare.
The nearest living relatives of lagomorphs are the rodents, together with which they form the clade Glires (Latin: "dormice"). Early lagomorphs arose perhaps in Asia and spread across the northern hemisphere. Later, rodents came to dominate more environmental niches, and lagomorphs seem to have been in decline.
Temporal range: Late Paleocene–recent
|European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)|
|Range of Lagomorpha|
Other names used for this order, now considered synonymous, include: Duplicidentata - Illiger, 1811; Leporida - Averianov, 1999; Neolagomorpha - Averianov, 1999; Ochotonida - Averianov, 1999; and Palarodentia - Haeckel, 1895.
The extinct family Prolagidae is represented by a single species, the Sardinian pika Prolagus sardus, fossils of which are known from Sardinia, Corsica, and nearby small islands. It may have survived until about 1774.
The evolutionary history of the lagomorphs is still not well understood. Until recently, it was generally agreed that Eurymylus, which lived in eastern Asia and dates back to the late Paleocene or early Eocene, was an ancestor of the lagomorphs. More recent examination of the fossil evidence suggests that the lagomorphs may have instead descended from Anagaloidea, also known as "mimotonids", while Eurymylus was more closely related to rodents (although not a direct ancestor). The leporids first appeared in the late Eocene and rapidly spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere; they show a trend towards increasingly long hind limbs as the modern leaping gait developed. The pikas appeared somewhat later in the Oligocene of eastern Asia.
Lagomorphs were certainly more diverse in the past than in the present, with around 75 genera and over 230 species represented in the fossil record and many more species in a single biome. This is evidence that lagomorph lineages are declining.
Lagomorphs are similar to other mammals in that they all have hair, four limbs (i.e., they are tetrapods), and mammary glands and are endotherms. They differ in that they have a mixture of "primitive" and "advanced" physical traits.
Although lagomorphs are more closely related to rodents than any other mammals, the two orders still have some major differences. Lagomorphs differ from rodents in that the former have four incisors in the upper jaw (not two, as in the Rodentia). Also, lagomorphs are almost strictly herbivorous, unlike rodents, many of which will eat both meat and vegetable matter. They resemble rodents, in that their incisor teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, thus necessitating constant chewing on fibrous food to prevent the teeth from growing too long.
Rabbits and hares move by jumping, pushing off with their strong hind legs and using their forelimbs to soften the impact on landing. Pikas lack certain skeletal modifications present in leporids, such as a highly arched skull, an upright posture of the head, strong hind limbs and pelvic girdle, and long limbs. Also, pikas have a short nasal region and entirely lack a supraorbital foramen, while leporids have prominent supraorbital foramina and nasal regions.
Pikas, also known as conies, are entirely represented by the family Ochotonidae and are small mammals native to mountainous regions of western North America, and Central Asia. They are mostly about 15 cm (6 in) long and have greyish-brown, silky fur, small rounded ears, and almost no tail. Their four legs are nearly equal in length. Some species live in scree, making their homes in the crevices between broken rocks, while others construct burrows in upland areas. The rock-dwelling species are typically long-lived and solitary, have one or two litters of a small number of young each year and have stable populations. The burrowing species, in contrast, are short-lived, gregarious and have multiple large litters during the year. These species tend to have large swings in population size. The gestation period of the pika is around one month long, and the newborns are altricial– they require parental care. The social behaviour of the two groups also differs: the rock dwellers aggressively maintain scent-marked territories, while the burrowers live in family groups, interact vocally with each other and defend a mutual territory. Pikas are diurnal and are active early and late in the day during hot weather. They feed on all sorts of plant material. As they do not hibernate, they make "haypiles" of dried vegetation which they collect and carry back to their homes to store for use during winter.
Hares, members of genus Lepus of family Leporidae, are medium size mammals native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. North American jackrabbits are actually hares. Species vary in size from 40 to 70 cm (16 to 28 in) in length and have long powerful back legs, and ears up to 20 cm (8 in) in length. Although usually greyish-brown, some species turn white in winter. They are solitary animals and several litters of young are born during the year in a form, a hollow in the ground amongst dense vegetation. The young are born fully furred and active. They are preyed upon by large mammalian carnivores and birds of prey.
Rabbits, members of family Leporidae outside Lepus, are generally much smaller than hares and include the rock hares and the hispid hare. They are native to Europe, parts of Africa, Central and Southern Asia, North America and much of South America. They inhabit both grassland and arid regions. They vary in size from 20 to 50 cm (8 to 20 in) and have long, powerful hind legs, shorter forelegs and a tiny tail. The colour is some shade of brown, buff or grey and there is one black species and two striped ones. Domesticated rabbits come in a wider variety of colours. Newborn rabbits are less developed than hares and require parental care. Although most species live and breed in burrows, the cottontails and hispid hares have forms (nests). Most of the burrowing species are colonial, and may feed together in small groups. Rabbits play an important part in the terrestrial food chain, eating a wide range of forbs, grasses, and herbs, and being part of the staple diet of many carnivorous species.
Lagomorphs are widespread around the world and inhabit every continent except Antarctica. However, they are not found in most of the southern cone of South America, in the West Indies, Indonesia or Madagascar, nor on many islands. Although they are not native to Australia, humans have introduced them there and they have successfully colonized many parts of the country and caused disruption to native species.
Like other herbivores, lagomorphs have to deal with a bulky diet in which the cell walls are composed of cellulose, a substance which mammalian digestive enzymes are unable to break down. Despite this, lagomorphs have developed a way of extracting maximum nourishment from their diet. First they bite off and shred plant tissues with their incisors and then they grind the material with their molars. Digestion continues in the stomach and small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. After that, certain food remains get diverted into the caecum, a blind-ended pouch. Here, they are mixed with bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms that are able to digest cellulose and turn it into sugar, a process known as hindgut fermentation. Other faecal matter passes along the colon and is excreted in the normal way as small, dry pellets. About four to eight hours after the meal, the contents of the caecum pass into the colon and are eliminated as soft, moist pellets known as cecotropes. These are immediately eaten by the lagomorph, which can thus extract all the remaining nutrients in the food.
Many lagomorphs breed several times a year and produce large litters. This is particularly the case in species that breed in underground, protective environments such as burrows. The altricial young of rabbits, called kittens, are born naked and helpless after a short gestation period and the mother can become pregnant again almost immediately after giving birth. The mothers are able to leave these young safely and go off to feed, returning at intervals to feed them with their unusually rich milk. In some species, the mother only visits and feeds the litter once a day but the young grow rapidly and are usually weaned within a month. Hares live above ground and their litters, containing leverets, are born in "forms" concealed among tussocks and scrub. They have a strategy to prevent predators from tracking down their litter by following the adults' scent. They approach and depart from the nesting site in a series of immense bounds, sometimes moving at right angles to their previous direction. The young are precocial and a small number are born after a longer gestation period, already clad in short fur and able to move around.
Many species of lagomorphs, particularly the rabbits and the pikas, are gregarious and live in colonies, whereas hares are generally solitary species. The rabbits and pikas rely on their holes as places of safety when danger threatens, but hares rely on their long legs, great speed and jinking gait to escape from predators. Despite these defensive devices, lagomorphs form an important part of the diet of carnivorous mammals, birds of prey and owls.
The antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni), found in Southern Arizona and Northwestern Mexico, is a species of North American hare. Within this range, it occupies dry desert areas. This species is placed in family Leporidae, which is within order Lagomorpha. Male and female antelope jackrabbits are identical in appearance. This species is large in size with long, pointed ears and a distinct coat coloration. The antelope jackrabbit has a white belly, light grey sides, a back peppered with black, and orange coloration on the neck and chest. It is similar to species like the black-tailed jackrabbit and white-sided jackrabbit. It is most active during twilight (crepuscular) and during the night (nocturnal), but can be active during the day when conditions are favorable (heavy cloud coverage). It feeds on cacti, mesquite leaves, and other vegetation.Cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbits are among the 20 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas. Most cottontails closely resemble the wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Most Sylvilagus species have stub tails with white undersides that show when they retreat, giving them their characteristic name. However, this feature is not present in all cottontails nor is it unique to the genus. For example, the European rabbit also has a white tail, and the underside of the brush rabbit's tail is blue.
The genus is widely distributed across North America, Central America and northern and central South America, though most species are confined to particular regions. Most (though not all) species live in nests called forms, and all have altricial young. An adult female averages three litters per year, which can occur in any season; occurrence, and litter size depend on several factors including time of the year, weather, and location. The average litter size is four but can range from as few as two to as many as eight, most of whom do not go on to survive to adulthood.
Cottontail rabbits show a greater resistance to myxomatosis than European rabbits.Daurian pika
The Daurian pika (Ochotona dauurica) is a small relative of rabbits and hares in the order Lagomorpha. It is well known for its “barking” alarm call, and for its peculiar habit of making hay to help survive the winter. There are 4 recognized subspecies, Ochotona dauurica annectens, O.d. bedfordi, O.d. dauurica, and O.d. mursavi. Daurian pikas, like other lagomorphs, are characterized by a secondary set of incisor teeth. They are sexually monomorphic, with thick reddish coats. Pikas have no external tail, and their ears are large and rounded. The auditory bullae, a feature of the skull of daurian pikas are small in comparison to many other pikas. This is thought to be related to their fairly low altitude habitat preference. They are considered keystone species within their habitat.Euarchontoglires
Euarchontoglires (synonymous with Supraprimates) is a clade and a superorder of mammals, the living members of which belong to one of the five following groups: rodents, lagomorphs, treeshrews, colugos and primates.Glires
Glires (Latin glīrēs, dormice) is a clade (sometimes ranked as a grandorder) consisting of rodents and lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas). The hypothesis that these form a monophyletic group has been long debated based on morphological evidence. Two morphological studies, published in 2001 and 2003, strongly support the monophyly of Glires. In particular, the 2003 study, reported the discovery of fossil material of basal members of Glires, particularly the genera Mimotona, Gomphos, Heomys, Matutinia, Rhombomylus, and Sinomylus. Their description, in 2005, helped to bridge the gap between more typical rodents and lagomorphs. Data published in 2001, based on nuclear DNA, supported Glires as a sister of Euarchonta to form Euarchontoglires, but some genetic data from both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA have been less supportive. A study, published in 2007, investigating retrotransposon presence/absence data unambiguously supports the Glires hypothesis. Studies published in 2011 and 2015 place Scandentia as a sister clade of the Glires, invalidating Euarchonta as a clade.Hewitt's red rock hare
The Hewitt's red rock hare (Pronolagus saundersiae) is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It had previously been classified as a subspecies of Pronolagus rupestris, but is now regarded as its own species due to differences in morphology and genetic differences in cytochrome b, and 12S rRNA.Hypolagus
Hypolagus is an extinct genus of Lagomorpha, first recorded in the Hemingfordian (early to middle Miocene) of North America. It entered Asia during the early Turolian and spread to Europe not much later, where it survived until the Middle Pleistocene. Though unknown in the Iberian Peninsula, fossils of this genus have been found in the Balearic Islands, suggesting an eastern migration during the dry period in the Mediterranean region known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis.Indian hare
The Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis), also known as the black-naped hare, is a common species of hare found in the Indian Subcontinent and in Java. Introduced to Madagascar, Comoro Islands, Andaman Islands, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Mayotte, Mauritius and RéunionLeporidae
Leporidae is the family of rabbits and hares, containing over 60 species of extant mammals in all. The Latin word Leporidae means "those that resemble lepus" (hare). Together with the pikas, the Leporidae constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporidae differ from pikas in that they have short, furry tails and elongated ears and hind legs.
The common name "rabbit" usually applies to all genera in the family except Lepus, while members of Lepus (almost half the species) usually are called hares. Like most common names however, the distinction does not match current taxonomy completely; jackrabbits are members of Lepus, and members of the genera Pronolagus and Caprolagus sometimes are called hares.
Various countries across all continents except Antarctica and Australia have indigenous species of Leporidae. Furthermore, rabbits, most significantly the European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, also have been introduced to most of Oceania and to many other islands, where they pose serious ecological and commercial threats.List of herbivorous animals
This is a list of herbivorous animals. Herbivores are animals that eat plants. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which a heterotrophic organism consumes other organisms, principally autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in general are known as 1st level consumers.List of lagomorphs
This list contains the species in the order Lagomorpha.Pallas's pika
Pallas's pika (Ochotona pallasi), also known as the Mongolian pika, is a species of small mammals in the pika family, Ochotonidae. It is found mainly in the mountains of western Mongolia.Pika
A pika ( PY-kə; archaically spelled pica) is a small mountain-dwelling mammal found in Asia and North America. With short limbs, very round body, and even coat of fur, and no external tail, they resemble their close cousin the rabbit, but with short rounded ears. The large-eared pika of the Himalayas and nearby mountains is found at heights of more than 6,000 metres (20,000 ft), among the highest of any mammal.
Pikas prefer rocky slopes and graze on a range of plants, mostly grasses, flowers and young stems. In the autumn, they pull hay, soft twigs and other stores of food into their burrows to eat during the long cold winter. The pika is also known as the "whistling hare" for its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow.
The name "pika" appears to be derived from the Tungus piika, and the scientific name Ochotona is from the Mongolian word ogdoi which means pika. It is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs which includes the Leporidae (rabbits and hares). Only one genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, covering 30 species.
The two species found in North America are the American pika, found primarily in the mountains of the western United States and far southwestern Canada, and the collared pika of northern British Columbia, the Yukon, western Northwest Territories, and Alaska.Prolagus
Prolagidae is an extinct family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae (rabbits and hares). One genus, Prolagus, is recognised within the family, which was previously considered a subfamily of Ochotonidae, as Prolaginae.Prolagus first appeared in the Early Miocene in Europe, where it survived until historical times. In Africa and Asia, the genus is known from the Miocene and Pliocene. The scientific name may mean "before hares" or "primitive hares" (pro- meaning "before" and lagos meaning "hare").Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit species, among them the 7 types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, a companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.Red rock hare
The red rock hares are the four species in the genus Pronolagus. They are African lagomorphs of the family Leporidae.
This genus contains the following species:
Natal red rock hare, Pronolagus crassicaudatus I. Geoffroy, 1832
Jameson's red rock hare, Pronolagus randensis Jameson, 1907
Smith's red rock hare, Pronolagus rupestris A. Smith, 1834
Hewitt's red rock hare, Pronolagus saundersiae Hewitt, 1927 (used to be included in Pronolagus rupestris).
Extant mammal orders
Extant Lagomorpha species