Animal Info - Omilteme Rabbit

(Other Name: Conejo de Omilteme, Omilteme Cottontail, Omiltemi Rabbit)

Sylvilagus insonus

Status: Critically Endangered


Contents

1. Profile
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Habitat, Behavior)
5. References


Profile

The Omiltemi rabbit, or cottontail, is found in pine and pine-oak forests between 2300 m and 5280 m (7540 - 17,300'). Cottontails are terrestrial. They protect themselves by remaining motionless for as long as 15 minutes when closely approached.

The Omiltemi rabbit is a large cottontail rabbit only known from a possible recent sighting and from specimens collected in the 1800's from forests in the Sierra Madre del Sur, of southern Mexico. Clearing for forestry and cattle grazing left fragments of forests, but it is not known whether the rabbit is extinct or what caused its problems. (Caughley & Gunn 1996)


Tidbits

*** Very little is known about the Omiltemi rabbit's biology and ecology.

*** Rabbits (belonging to many different genera) vs. Hares (all in the genus Lepus): The major differences between rabbits and hares include: 1.) their methods in avoiding predators (rabbits hide in dense vegetation or burrows; hares have longer legs and try to outrun predators), and 2.) the characteristics of their young at birth (newborn rabbits ("kittens") are born naked and with their eyes closed; newborn hares ("leverets") are better developed - their eyes are open and they can move around with some degree of coordination) (Macdonald 2001).


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Omiltemi Rabbit Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Mexico (may be extinct) (IUCN 2004).

History of Distribution:

The Omiltemi rabbit occurs only in the Sierra Madre del Sur, in the vicinity of Omiltemi, Guerrero, Mexico. Its known range is less than 500 sq km (190 sq mi).

Distribution Map #1 (13 Kb) (InfoNatura) 
Distribution Map #2
(32 Kb GIF) (AMCELA)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

Habitat loss (especially due to logging and cattle grazing) and hunting likely are major threats.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Habitat:

Pine and pine-oak forests in the mountains of the Sierra Madre del Sur between 2300 m and 5280 m (7540 - 17,300').

The Omiltemi rabbit is one of the species that live in the Mesoamerica Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.)

Behavior:

All cottontails are terrestrial. They protect themselves by remaining motionless for as long as 15 minutes when closely approached.


References

AMCELA, Caughley & Gunn 1996, Chapman & Flux 1990, Cons. Intl., InfoNatura, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Macdonald 1984, Macdonald 2001, Nowak 1999, Nowak & Paradiso 1983


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Last modified: January 2, 2005;

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