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


Lepus europaeus ( 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 ( and and and and and and 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:

Lepus starcki ( of the Ethiopian Highlands and Lepus tolai ( of central Asia seem similar to L. europaeus with respect to flags.


Lepus oiostolus seems similar to L. europaeus in its auricular flag:!/sp/407/Lepus-oiostolus.

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


Lepus granatensis replaces L. europaeus on the Iberian Peninsula. It shares the flags described above ( and and However, it possesses an additional auricular flag on the anterior surface of the ear pinnae: and


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

This is because:


Lepus saxatilis of southern Africa has a proportionately long tail ( and and and and

Furthermore, the tail presents dark-pale contrast ( and and

However, its ear pinnae are plain-coloured ( and and and and[gallery99]/0/).

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


Lepus victoriae, widespread in the tropical savannas of Africa, resembles L. saxatilis in the colouration of its ear pinnae ( and its tail (

However, its tail seems proportionately smaller in West Africa (subspecies canopus, than in East Africa (

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


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:

to be continued...

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


Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments