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Reproduction parameters of the Iberian hare Lepus granatensis at the edge of its range

AuthorsFernández, Alfonso; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Castién, Enrique; Carro, Francisco
Issue Date2008
PublisherNordic Council for Wildlife Research
CitationWildlife Biology 14: 434- 443 (2008)
AbstractIn order to provide a basis for the sustainable exploitation of the heavily hunted Iberian hare Lepus granatensis, we compared its reproductive parameters at the northern edge of its range, where it occurs at low densities, with those reported in other studies elsewhere within the species' range. Monthly samples totalling 212 Iberian hares (104 males and 108 females) were collected in the province of Navarra during November 2001 - December 2002. Reproductive parameters varied only slightly from season to season. Sexually competent males, defined by the presence of epididymal spermatozoa, were present in all bimonthly periods. Reproductively active adult females were also present in all the bimonthly periods, although a slight seasonality was detected: the highest incidence of pregnancy and lactation (100%) occurred in March-April, while the lowest incidence of adult females that were neither pregnant nor lactating (15%) occurred in September-December. Mean annual litter size was 2.09 and the theoretical value of annual young production per female was estimated to be 16.1, which is much higher than estimates reported in studies of L. granatensis in Portugal and southern Spain. In Navarra, which is at the northern limit of the species' range, densities are low due to intense hunting. However, the observed reproductive potential was surprisingly high and facilitates recruitment to the population which could, to a certain extent, make up for the high hunting pressure in the area. © WILDLIFE BIOLOGY.
Identifiersdoi: 10.2981/0909-6396-14.4.434
issn: 0909-6396
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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