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Manual Lagomorph Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation

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Lagomorph Biology - Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation | Paulo C. Alves | Springer

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Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation

The last post was days ago. The lengths of these bars are based on the maximum age and minimum age of each genus. The global climate change Figure 2 in [] and vegetation change [] , [] and the genera number of ochotonids and leporids. The earliest leporids include the Eurasian Shamolagus , Lushilagus , Dituberolagus , Strenulagus etc. Figure 1.


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During the middle and late Eocene, there were about 10 genera present in the northern hemisphere, while during the transition from the Eocene to Oligocene, the generic diversity of leporids remained modest. The generic diversity of leporids reached the lowest point during the transition from the Oligocene to the Miocene, with a minor increase in the middle Miocene Figure 1 , 2. The diversification of leporids accelerated from the late Miocene to Pliocene. The number of leporid genera substantially decreased in the Holocene.

Detailed information of these genera excluding synonyms , the occurrences of each species together with large numbers of innominated records are listed in Table S1. Triangles show the occurrences of ochotonids, pentagons show the occurrence of leporids. Scale of miles is at the Equator.

Reconstructing the phylogeny of Lagomorpha based on the combined matrix of three genes revealed that the previously recognized three ecotype groups of pika the shrub-steppe group, the Northern group and the Mountain group were highly supported Figure 3 [36] , [45] , [88]. The phylogenetic structure inferred here was slightly different from the findings of Matthee et al. However, these genes were aligned manually in their study.

Based on Bayesian inferences of molecular data, the divergence of extant leporids was dated at around The earliest derived extant genera were Nesolagus and Brachylagus. Oryctolagus , Caprolagus , Romerolagus , Bunolagus , Pentalagus , and Silvilagus formed a monophyletic group, which split around 7.

Diversification within Silvilagus began around 5. The extant ochotonids diverged in North America around 8. Diversification within three ecotypes of ochotonids was similar to the results obtained based on a smaller dataset, focusing on ochotonid taxa [45]. The divergence times of these three groups were The earliest divergence of African leporids was dated to the late middle Miocene around Meanwhile, the most widely distributed genus of Lagomorpha, Lepus , first appeared in North America Figure 5 , Node 4.


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Branch labels on the tree give posterior probabilities. Node labels give median value of divergence time. Three ecotype groups of Ochotona are marked in different colors: red, the Mountain group; blue, the Northern group; pink, the shrub-steppe group. The phylogeny was based on the majority consensus trees derived from Bayesian inference analysis of three genes.

Posterior probabilities are shown beside each node. Out groups were excluded in the figures. Asia was also identified as the most probable ancestral region of leporids and ochotonids respectively Node 2 and 3 , while, Lepus firstly appeared in North America Node 4. The phylogenetic structure was based on Bayesian inferences. Body length of each node was inferred by parsimony methods. Colors on the branches show the change of body size. The units of body length are millimeters.

The results showed that ochotonids had a conservative pattern in body length evolution, while the length of leporids was generally greater and more variable, most prominently in Lepus. The body length of the most recent common ancestor of Lagomorpha is about mm Figure 5. Ochotonids showed a mode slightly tending to smaller species, while leporids showed a very prominent trend toward larger species Figure 6A, B.

Ochotonids, this figure shows a slightly right skewed distribution, with a mode tending to smaller species. Leporids, this figure shows a left skewed distribution, with a mode tending to larger species. These food plants represent 63 families details are listed in the supplementary documents of [45].

Lagomorph Biology

According to the findings of 28 sources, there were more than species of plants representing nearly genera and 90 families, recorded as the selections of 20 leporid species. Most leporids are generalist herbivores, with only a few species with limited distributions specializing on particular plant species. Forage selection of extant ochotonids, 63 families were reported as food consumed directly or collected for hay piles of extant ochotonids, these plant information mainly follows Ge et al.

Forage selection of leporids. These information was summarized from 28 sources. The top ten families selected by extant ochotonids and leporids are compared with the number of species and their proportions. Comparing C 3 , C 4 and other components in the diet of different herbivores. Ochotona curzoniae [Reference S29 in File S1 ], 2. Ochotona dauurica [Reference S29 in File S1 ], 3. Ochotona curzoniae [Reference S30 in File S1 ]; 4.

Ochotona princeps [Reference S31 in File S1 ]; 5. Lepus timidus [Reference S32 in File S1 ]; 6. Lepus europaeus [Reference S33 in File S1 ]; 7.

Lepus flavigularis [Reference S34 in File S1 ]; 8. Oryctolagus cuniculus [Reference S35 in File S1 ]; 9.

Sylvilagus floridanus [Reference S36 in File S1 ]; Sylvilagus auduboni [Reference S37 in File S1 ]; Moschus berezovskii [Reference S38 in File S1 ]; Pantholops hodgsoni [Reference S39 in File S1 ]; Bos primigenius [Reference S40 in File S1 ]; Ovis canadensis [Reference S40 in File S1 ]; Equus africanus asinus [Reference S40 in File S1 ]; Elaphurus davidianus [Reference S41 in File S1 ].

Categorizing the photosynthetic pathway of these plants indicated that the food plants of ochotonids were mainly C 3 , with only 3 species reported as using C 4 [45].

Lagomorph Biology

Preference on C 4 varies among different genera. For example, the early diverged genera Nesolagus and Brachylagus depend mainly on C 3 plants, while the later diverged leporid genera show a preference for C 4 plants, most notably Caprolagus. Particularly, L. A table including detailed information for forage selection of different leporids is given in Table S3. The dietary proportions of C 3 , C 4 and the other plants in the 10 wild populations of Lagomorpha were illustrated on the world map, and demonstrate a high dependence of C 3 plants in pikas and leporids in areas of high altitude and high altitude.

The phylogenetic reconstruction based on Mitochondrial DNA or multiple genes generally suggests that placental mammals diverged around the Cretaceous to Paleogene boundary Extinction of non-avian dinosaurs in this period opened the door for the diversification of terrestrial mammals [93]. In the past 65 million years, the natural environment has changed greatly.

Rabbits, hares, and pikas

These changes include the drift and reconnection of continents, the dramatic decline of CO 2 in the late Miocene and the formation of ice-age climate cycles [94]. These events changed the structure and functioning of the terrestrial ecosystem, impacting the floral and faunal composition of different regions. It has been reported that the evolution of large mammals was greatly influenced by these events, particularly the climate-induced expansion of C 4 biomass in the late Miocene [95] , [96].

Based on the data investigated in the present study, the primary consumer, Lagomorpha, was also influenced by these events. Lagomorpha split from stem rodents around the Paleocene-Eocene boundary [18] , [97]. The Asian origin of Lagomorpha is widely accepted [18] , [29] , [97]. In the present study, historical biogeographic inferences based on molecular data is also congruent with these studies. However, two major groups of Lagomorpha, ochotonids and leporids, responded to global environmental changes differently.

They even dispersed to Africa in the early and middle Miocene Figure 1 , 2 , when a higher CO 2 level resulted in a warmer temperature, conditions corresponding to a continent densely covered with forests [98] , [99] and increased distribution of C 3 grasses [] , [] Figure 1. The most frequently selected plant families of extant pikas Figure 6 , Asteraceae, Rosaceae and Fabaceae contain large number of C 3 grasses. Asteraceae experienced a rapid radiation during the Oligocene to middle Miocene.