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1 April 2006 Ear Flashing Behavior of Black-tailed Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus)
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Abstract

We describe a previously unreported behavior of black-tailed jackrabbits based on 22 nocturnal observations in northwestern Texas in 1999 and 2000. When being followed at high speeds (40–55 km/h), jackrabbits exhibited four head positions: head up and both ears raised; head up and left ear raised; head up and right ear raised and; head down and no ears raised. While running in a zigzag fashion, jackrabbits changed among the four head positions in rapid succession. Because the ears have conspicuous coloration on the back side (white fur with black-tips), we speculate that ear flashing is an adaptation to confuse predators when being chased at high speeds. Interestingly, this escape behavior is similar to the white rump and side flashing of antelope (Lepus alleni) and white-sided (L. callotis) jackrabbits.

JAN F. KAMLER and WARREN B. BALLARD "Ear Flashing Behavior of Black-tailed Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus)," The American Midland Naturalist 155(2), 402-403, (1 April 2006). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2006)155[402:EFBOBJ]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 1 October 2005; Published: 1 April 2006
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