Endemic to the central mountains of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the volcano rabbit (Romerolagus diazi), known locally as the zacatuche, is a threatened species at risk of extinction. In the Ajusco-Chichinautzin Mountain Range, the Pelado and Tlaloc volcanoes are core distribution areas for this species; however, suitable habitat within these areas is patchy. We analyzed the habitat of this species at the landscape level, taking into account biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic factors. We used geographic information systems for the habitat analysis and a linear mixedeffects model to identify the habitat patches available, analyze them in the FRAGSTATS program, and calculate their landscape metrics. To identify the habitat of the volcano rabbit, we used its relative abundance index in the context of land use and vegetation, elevation, slope, road and highway density, and distance to human settlements. The analyses indicated that the relative abundance index of this species decreases with increasing proximity to human settlements and with increasing road and highway density. At the landscape level, there are 957 patches of habitat available to the species, covering 75.44 km2. Most of the patches are 2,500 m2 in area and regular in shape (square); however, because they are small patches it is possible that they will disappear. The largest patches are located on the Pelado and Tlaloc volcanoes, and coincide with the core distribution areas of the volcano rabbit described in the literature.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1