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SPECIES Lepus (Proeulagus) tibetanus

Author:Waterhouse, 1841.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. London, Part IX.(" A letter from G. T. Vigne…was read…a species of Hare from Little Thibet…."): 7.
Common Name:Desert Hare.
Type Locality:"Little Thibet." Fixed as Baltistan, Kashmir, by Ellerman and Morrison-Scott (1955)
Distribution:Afghanistan and Baluchistan eastward through N Pakistan and Kashmir to the E Pamir, NW Xinjiang and the Altai Mountains, thence eastward across S Mongolia to Gansu and Ningxia (China). The distribution of tibetanus relative to tolai is allo-to parapatric, but in the Tien Shan mountains they may be sympatric.
Status:Not Evaluated; widespread, but population levels not studied.
Comments:Subgenus Proeulagus (Gromov, 1964). Until the 1930’s tibetanus was considered a distinct species. The first major revision (Heptner, 1934) united europaeus, tolai and tibetanus in a single species, but Ognev (1966:154) rejected this concept, stating that "...there is much evidence against considering the common hare, the Tolai and desert hares as one species...". Next, Ellerman (in Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1955) placed tibetanus as a subspecies of capensis, along with tolai; he was supported by Petter (1959, 1961a). Then Harrison (1972) added arabicus to capensis; see also Corbet (1978), and comments under tolai. Some, however, continued to follow Ognev. Bannikov (1954), Sokolov and Orlov (1980), and Shou (1962) provided details of distribution in Mongolia and China respectively. Luo (1981) performed a cluster analysis that he interpreted as supporting Ellerman, et al., but was strongly criticized by Zhao et al. (1983) for his methodology. Qui (1989) then re-analyzed the data, and found that three races of tibetanus were clearly separated from four races of tolai (although Qui continued to employ capensis as the species name). L. tibetanus shares certain characteristics with L. oiostolus (but not capensis or tolai) of the adjacent Tibetan Plateau, most notably the relatively long premaxillary and short nasal bones, combined with greater procumbency of the incisors, as well as other cranial and pelage characters described by Ognev (1966). Evaluation of these characters across the zones of potential contact between the ten taxon pairs comprising L. capensis sensu lato, is necessary before the taxonomy of these hares can be resolved (Hoffmann, 1998).


SUBSPECIES tibetanus

SUBSPECIES centrasiaticus

SUBSPECIES craspedotis

SUBSPECIES pamirensis

SUBSPECIES stoliczkanus


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