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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2004

Authors: Suchentrunk, F; Davidovic, M

Title: Evaluation of the classification of Indian hares (Lepus nigricollis) into the genus Indolagus Gureev, 1953 (Leporidae, Lagomorpha).

Source: Mammalian Biology (69) 46-57.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Suchentrunk Franz

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Based on a cladistic analysis of dichotomized and multistate skull and tooth characters, AVERIANOV (1994) grouped Indian hares, Lepus nigricollis, into the genus Indolagus Gureev, 1953. His cladistic data matrix, however, was based on only one specimen of L. nigricollis and on one or few of the other Lepus species studied. Except for two characters, relative length of palatal bridge (nr. 22) and presence or absence of an uneven edge on I-1 with a marked inlet (nr. 36), all other characters used for inferences on phylogenetic relationships between L. nigricollis and other Lepus species had either identical characters or shared character states between L. nigricollis and at least one other Lepus species. Here, we show that the first above mentioned character shares character states between L. nigricollis and some other Lepus species as well, if large enough samples are studied. The first upper incisors have more or less even edges in all Leporidae taxa; clearly uneven edges are diagnostic only for the Ochotonidae. Within the family Leporidae, marked non-metric variation of the I-1 concerns only presence or absence of inclined abrasion surfaces and the form of the frontal groove. However, these two characters differ gradually between L. nigricollis and other Lepus species rather than categorically. A revised cladistic character matrix that accounts for these results would not include any diagnostic character for separating L. nigricollis and other Lepus species. Hence, we suggest to leave the Indian hare in the genus Lepus and to consider the genus Indolagus as synonymous to Lepus.

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