When rabbits and hares are introduced to new areas: Factors to consider

July 5, 2018, Wiley

Throughout history, humans have deliberately translocated rabbits and hares (leporids) around the world, so they now occupy every continent (except Antarctica). A new Mammal Review article examines studies on the 12 leporid species that have been introduced by humans to areas beyond their native ranges, highlighting the animals' effects on the ecosystem at different levels.

The authors note that leporids can provide food resources to predators, modify and , compete with native herbivores, consume crops, and have other impacts. Therefore, biologists should carefully consider the contrasting effects of leporids when planning management strategies including these species.

"Although conservation issues and economic costs produced by rabbits' introductions around the world are well known, there is a lack of systematic information about this regarding their closest relatives. Hares and rabbits share some biological traits which could make them successful invaders and profoundly change the invaded regions. Perhaps one of the most notorious effects (among the many that they produce), is that they constitute a new and abundant food resource to a wide variety of predators, ultimately changing biological communities," said co-author Dr. Facundo Barbar, of Universidad Nacional del Comahue, in Argentina. "Considering all introduced leporid species and their many effects on the ecosystems in crucial at the time of planning conservation strategies."

Explore further: Exotic invasions can drive native species extinct

More information: Facundo Barbar et al, The roles of leporid species that have been translocated: a review of their ecosystem effects as native and exotic species, Mammal Review (2018). DOI: 10.1111/mam.12126

Related Stories

Exotic invasions can drive native species extinct

June 19, 2018

Latest research from the University of Southampton has revealed the impact of exotic species upon native wildlife, which could potentially lead to native plant species extinctions within their natural habitats.

Hareless: Yellowstone's rabbits have vanished, study says

February 14, 2008

A new study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society found that jack rabbits living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have apparently hopped into oblivion. The study, which appears in the latest issue of the ...

Global megafauna study calls for conservation rethink

August 15, 2017

It's hard to imagine an Australia ruled by hippopotamus-sized wombats (Diprotodon) and three-metre-tall kangaroos (Procoptodon golian). The continent lost all native megafauna to the Pleistocene extinctions, tens of thousands ...

Recommended for you

Team uncovers the underlying mechanisms of 3-D tissue formation

November 21, 2018

If you want to build an organ for transplant, you need to think in 3-D. Using stem cells, scientists are now able to grow parts of organs in the lab, but that is a far cry from constructing a fully-formed, functioning, three-dimensional ...

What makes vertebrates special? We can learn from lancelets

November 21, 2018

Scientists once thought that humans must have 2 million genes to account for all our complexity. But since sequencing the human genome, researchers have learned that humans only have about 19,000 to 25,000 genes—not many ...

Scientists help identify key hantavirus receptor

November 21, 2018

A global team of investigators has identified a key protein involved in Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a serious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease, according to research published today in the journal Nature.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.