font settings and languages

Font Size: Large | Normal | Small
Font Face: Verdana | Geneva | Georgia

Lepus tibetanus

(Desert Hare)

Common Names

[ Back to top ]

Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in English:

Desert Hare

Common Names in French:

Lièvre du désert


[ Back to top ]


Biome: Terrestrial [1].

Ecology: L. tibetanus occurs in grassland or scrub areas of desert, semi-desert, and steppe habitats (Smith and Xie 2008). This species is primarily crepuscular, but can be observed during the day (Smith and Xie 2008). Diet varies including "herbaceous plants , seeds, berries , roots and twigs " (Smith and Xie 2008). Total length of this species is 40.1-48.0 cm (Smith and Xie 2008). Litter sizes range from three to 10 young (Smith and Xie 2008). L. tibetanus undergoes parturition one to three times a year (Smith and Xie 2008). (Ref. 282766).

List of Habitats:


[ Back to top ]


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 15-Aug-2007

Until the 1930s Lepus tibetanus was considered a distinct species. The first major revision (Heptner 1934) united L. europaeus, L. tolai and L. tibetanus in a single species, but Ognev (1966:154) rejected this concept, stating that "...there is much evidence against considering the common hare, the Tolai and desert hares as one species...". Next, Ellerman (in Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1955) placed L. tibetanus as a subspecies of L. capensis, along with L. tolai; he was supported by Petter (1959, 1961). Then Harrison (1972) added L. arabicus to L. capensis. Some, however, continued to follow Ognev. Bannikov (1954), Sokolov and Orlov (1980), and Shou (1962) provided details of distribution in Mongolia and China respectively. Luo (1981) performed a cluster analysis which he interpreted as supporting Ellerman et al. , but was strongly criticized by Zhao et al. (1983) for his methodology. Qui (1989) then re-analyzed the data , and found that three races of L. tibetanus were clearly separated from four races of L. tolai (although Qui continued to employ L. capensis as the species name ). L. tibetanus shares certain characteristics with L. oiostolus (but not L. capensis or L. tolai) of the adjacent Tibetan Plateau , most notably the relatively long premaxillary and short nasal bones, combined with greater procumbency of the incisors, as well as other cranial and pelage characters described by Ognev (1966). Evaluation of these characters across the zones of potential contact between the ten taxon pairs comprising L. capensis sensu lato, is necessary before the taxonomy of these hares can be resolved (Hoffmann 1998).

There are currently five recognized subspecies: Lepus tibetanus centrasiaticus, L. t. craspedotis, L. t. pamirensis, L. t. stoliczkanus, and L. t. tibetanus (Hoffmann and Smith 2005).[1].

Similar Species

[ Back to top ]

Members of the genus Lepus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 60 species and subspecies in this genus:

L. alleni (Antelope Jack Rabbit) · L. alleni alleni (Antelope Jack Rabbit) · L. americanus (Snowshoe Rabbit) · L. americanus americanus (Snowshoe Hare) · L. americanus klamathensis (Snowshoe Hare) · L. americanus seclusus (Bighorn Mountain Snowshoe Hare) · L. americanus tahoensis (Sierra Nevada Snowshoe Hare) · L. americanus washingtonii (Washington Snowshoe Hare) · L. arcticus (Arctic Hare) · L. arcticus arcticus (Arctic Hare) · L. brachyurus (Japanese Hare) · L. brachyurus brachyurus (Japanese Hare) · L. californica (Black-Tailed Jack Rabbit) · L. californicus (Black-Tailed Jack Rabbit) · L. californicus bennettii (Black-Tailed Jackrabbit) · L. californicus californicus (Black-Tailed Jack Rabbit) · L. callotis (Beautiful-Eared Jack Rabbit) · L. callotis callotis (Beautiful-Eared Jack Rabbit) · L. callotis gaillardi (White-Sided Jackrabbit) · L. capensis (European Hare) · L. capensis capensis (Brown Hare) · L. castroviejoi (Broom Hare) · L. comus (Yunnan Hare) · L. coreanus (Korean Hare) · L. corsicanus (Corsican Hare) · L. europaeus (European Brown Hare) · L. europaeus occidentalis (Brown Hare) · L. fagani (Ethiopian Hare) · L. flavigularis (Tehuantepec Jack Rabbit) · L. granatensis (Iberian Hare) · L. granatensis granatensis (Granada Hare) · L. granatensis solisi (Majorcan Hare) · L. habessinicus (Abyssinian Hare) · L. hainanus (Chinese Pinyin) · L. insularis (Espiritu Santo Jackrabbit) · L. mandshuricus (Manchurian Hare) · L. microtis (African Savanna Hare) · L. nigricollis (Black-Napped Hare) · L. nigricollis nigricollis (Indian Hare) · L. oiostolus (Woolly Hare) · L. oiostolus oiostolus (Woolly Hare) · L. oistolus (Woolly Hare) · L. othus (Beringian Hare) · L. othus othus (Alaskan Hare) · L. peguensis (Siamese Hare) · L. saxatilis (Savannah Hare) · L. saxatilis saxatilis (Scrub Hare) · L. sinensis (Chinese Hare) · L. sinensis sinensis (Chinese Hare) · L. starcki (Ethiopian Highland Hare) · L. tibetanus (Desert Hare) · L. timidus (Eurasian Arctic Hare) · L. timidus timidus (Arctic Hare) · L. tolai (Tolai Hare) · L. townsendi (White-Tailed Jack Rabbit) · L. townsendii (White-Tailed Jack Rabbit) · L. townsendii campanius (White-Tailed Jackrabbit) · L. townsendii townsendii (Western White-Tailed Jackrabbit) · L. victoriae (African Savanna Hare) · L. yarkandensis (Yarkland Hare)

More Info

[ Back to top ]

Further Reading

[ Back to top ]


[ Back to top ]




  1. China Red List & Johnston, C.H. 2008. Lepus tibetanus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-02