Interspecific variation in flags as features of adaptive colouration in hares, part 4: Eurasian and African species

LEPUS EUROPAEUS

Lepus europaeus (https://academic.oup.com/mspecies/article/52/997/125/6046128?login=false#220119974) has both a caudal flag and an auricular flag. The latter is on the posterior surface of the ear pinnae. Both flags are conspicuous by virtue of dark-pale contrasts.

The following shows that the anterior surface of the ear pinnae in L. europaeus has disruptive colouration (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27569507 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65142239 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5486673 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/53918093 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_coloration): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/101976575 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71858152 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68333414. This surface is marked, not plain, but with an inconspicuous effect unlikely to function as a flag

The following show the caudal and auricular flags on the fleeing figure, as viewed from behind:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39641267
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/52383467
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102179162
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/107695988
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106683594
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/105936073
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/104256833
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/101452331
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/79643922
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/72254135
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/72013700
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66647421

Lepus starcki (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42420359) of the Ethiopian Highlands and Lepus tolai (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67741385) of central Asia seem similar to L. europaeus with respect to flags.

LEPUS OIOSTOLUS

Lepus oiostolus seems similar to L. europaeus in its auricular flag: https://www.mammalsofindia.org/#!/sp/407/Lepus-oiostolus.

The caudal flag of this species differs from that of L. europaeus in being paler. This is because:

LEPUS GRANATENSIS

Lepus granatensis replaces L. europaeus on the Iberian Peninsula. It shares the flags described above (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/104415801 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69733160 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/62918470). However, it possesses an additional auricular flag on the anterior surface of the ear pinnae: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21432998 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/62977862.

LEPUS NIGRICOLLIS

No flag is consistently present in the Indian species Lepus nigricollis.

This is because:

LEPUS SAXATILIS

Lepus saxatilis of southern Africa has a proportionately long tail (https://southafrica.co.za/scrub-hare.html and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10980141 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/109839643 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/100057300 and https://www.shutterstock.com/nb/image-photo/big-eared-hare-on-roadside-drakensberg-1140501887).

Furthermore, the tail presents dark-pale contrast (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/11119448 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64754481 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108534715).

However, its ear pinnae are plain-coloured (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/99066204 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96201128 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71211493 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103600911 and https://biodiversityfocused.co.za/hares-rock-rabbits-rabbits-lagomorpha/#prettyPhoto[gallery99]/0/).

The following show the caudal flag on the figure, as viewed from behind:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66306315
https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/17736127/fullscreen
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103324289
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/100057269
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/99911341

LEPUS VICTORIAE

Lepus victoriae, widespread in the tropical savannas of Africa, resembles L. saxatilis in the colouration of its ear pinnae (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42293850) and its tail (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36366737).

However, its tail seems proportionately smaller in West Africa (subspecies canopus, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68062109) than in East Africa (https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/scrub-hare-lepus-saxatilis-samburu-reserve-kenya-africa/MEV-10866491).

The following show the caudal flag on the fleeing figure, as viewed from behind:

https://www.canstockphoto.com/alert-scrub-hare-lepus-saxatilis-39241745.html
https://www.canstockphoto.com/alert-scrub-hare-lepus-saxatilis-39241746.html
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/45774821
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39650232

LEPUS CAPENSIS

Lepus capensis is widespread in treeless vegetation in Africa and the Middle East. It resembles L. saxatilis with respect to its caudal flag and lack of auricular flags:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/11080636
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34131075
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/70618803
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106320494
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102073907
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65029120
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50801505
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/35021772

to be continued...

Posted by milewski milewski, April 15, 2022 16:53

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