We documented date and duration of each breeding phase, breeding rate, nursing behavior, parental care, and leveret survival of the Tehuantepec jackrabbit (Lepus flavigularis), a critically endangered lagomorph. Between June 2006 and May 2008, we observed 60 adult radio-collared jackrabbits in Oaxaca, México. Tehuantepec jackrabbits exhibit breeding behaviors 250 days out of the year, with a high-intensity period during the rainy season (May–October). Females give birth to 2 leverets 32 days after copulation. Directly after birth, leverets are put into “beds” or “nests,” which are depressions in the ground covered by prairie grass (Jouvea pilosa). Females return to nurse and groom the leverets once per day until the leverets are weaned (12 days after birth). The breeding season and parental care behaviors of Tehuantepec jackrabbits are similar to those of other jackrabbits. Females produced an average of 2 litters per breeding season. The breeding rate for the Tehuantepec jackrabbit (4 leverets per breeding female per breeding season) is lower than the average of other species in the genus Lepus. The survival rate of Tehuantepec jackrabbit leverets (50% at day 19) is higher than that of other leporids. Predation by domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) is the main cause of mortality. Understanding reproductive behavior is critical for captive breeding, reintroduction, and conservation efforts for endangered leporids such as the Tehuantepec jackrabbit.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1