On an anomalous species of Hare discovered in the Isle of Sumatra: Lepus netscheri
The researches of naturalists hitherto made in order to ascertain the geographical range of the hare-tribe have led to the conclusion, that these animals, spread over the whole of America and Europe, over Northern and South-Africa, as well as over a great part of Asia, are not found in the neighbouring islands of the Philippines, in the whole Malayan Archipelago, and as appears are more-over wanting in the Malayan Peninsula. Of the two genera composing the hare-tribe, the one, that of Lagomys, characterized by the entire want of tail, is confined to Northern Asia and the Rocky-Mountains of North-America. The other genus, that of Lepus, is represented in all the regions inhabited by the hare-tribe in general. An attempt to subdivide this genus in minor groups is attended with numerous difficulties. European sportsmen are in the habit of designing under the name of „rabbits” the species having the ears, legs and tail shorter than the true hares, and commonly making burrows for their residence; but the variability of these characteristics in the different species does not allow a strict application of them. In comparing, for instance, the mountain-hare of South-Africa (Lepus saxatilis) and the Japanese species (Lepus brachyurus) to the common hare (Lepus timidus) we are obliged to range all the three species under the true hares with long legs; although we find, that the mountain-hare has the tail and ears considerably longer than our common hare, whereas the Japanese hare has the tail and ears as short as our common rabbit. The same variability not coinciding with other characteristics, exists with respect to the nature of the fur. We know that in the majority of species the wool viz: the imperfect hairs, grows at the expense of the true or perfectly developed hairs, and that such is in a great measure the case in some species during the cold season. In the Chinese hare (Lepus sinensis), for instance the hairs are developed at the expense of the wool, which is somewhat longer and coarser than in most of the other species, and in the small hare of Assam and Butan (Lepus hispidus), the hair is stiffened even to rigidness.
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Schlegel, H. (1880). On an anomalous species of Hare discovered in the Isle of Sumatra: Lepus netscheri. Notes from the Leyden Museum, 2(2), 59–65.