Volcano rabbit

Romerolagus diazi

TAXONOMY

Romerolagus diazi (Ferrari-Perez, 1893), San Martin Texmelusan, Mexico.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Zacatuche; French: Lapin des volcans; German: Vulkankaninchen; Spanish: Conejo zacatuche, teporingo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

One of the smallest leporids; body length 10-14 in (27-36 cm), weight 14-18 oz (400-500 g). The ears are short and the hair is dark brown, and it lacks a visible external tail.

DISTRIBUTION

They occur only on the slopes of the Mexican volcanoes, Ajusco and Ixtacihuatl; Popocateptl at 9,190-13,120 ft (2,800-4,000 m).

HABITAT

Open pine forests with a unique grass habitat, zacaton. BEHAVIOR

Vocalizations resemble those of pikas. Mainly active during the days.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeding on the typical zacaton grasses.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Assumed promiscuous. Average litters size one to three. Breeding season December-July.

H Romerolagus diazi H Oryctolagus cuniculus H Sylvilagus audubonii

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Endangered by the IUCN an U.S. Endangered Species Act. Also listed on CITES Appendix I. A very restricted distribution close to Mexico City.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Threatened by habitat destruction, forest fires, agriculture, and property developments. Hunting is now illegal. ♦

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