Lagomorphs comprise the pikas, hares and rabbits. The members of this order have a head and body length between 0.125 and 0.75 m, and adults weigh from 0.1 to 5 kg. All are terrestrial. Pikas are mostly diurnal, whereas rabbits and hares are active mainly in the evening and night. They can be strong runners.

Key Concepts

  • Lagomorphs (rabbits, hares and pikas) are not as fertile and prolific as one might think, as some are considered endangered.
  • Systematics is the study and the description of the diversification of both past and present organisms and their classification.
  • Phylogeny is a part of systematics that reports the inference of the evolutionary history and relationships among or within groups of oragisms.
  • Conservation biology is the management of biodiversity with the objective of esablishing protective measures against the risks of extinction of species, of their habitats and to maintain a balance in ecosystems. This is why the species are classified by the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species).
  • Paleontology corresponds to the study of organisms (classification and relationships) that lived prior to, and sometimes including, the beginning of the Holocene (around 11,700 years before present).

Keywords: Lagomorphs; rabbits; hares; pikas; diversity; biology; evolution


Ge, D, Wen, Z, Xia, L et al. (2013) Evolutionary history of Lagomorphs in response to global environmental change. PLoS ONE 8 (4): e59668. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059668.

Gidenne, T, Lebas, F, and Fortun‐Lamothe, L (2010) Chapter 13. Feeding behaviour of rabbits. In: Nutrition of the Rabbit (eds. C de Blas and J Wiseman), 233–252. CAB International Ed.

IUCN (2020) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020‐1.

Li W and Smith AT (2019) Ochotona iliensis and Ochotona curzoniae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T15050A45179204.

McKenna, MC and Bell, SK (1997) Classification of Mammals. Above the Species Level, 631 p. New York: Columbia University Press.

Meng, J, Wyss, AR, Dawson, MR, and Zhai, R (1994) Primitive fossil rodent from Inner Mongolia and its implications for mammalian phylogeny. Nature 370: 134–136.

Wilson, DE, Lacher, TE Jr, and Mittermeier, RA (eds.) (2016) Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Lagomorphs and Rodents 1, vol. 6. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.

Yamada F and Smith AT (2016) Pentalagus furnessi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16559A45180151.

Further Reading

Corbet, GB and Hill, JE (1991) A World List of Mammalian Species, 3rde, 208–211. Oxford University Press: Natural History Museum Publications.

Honacki, JH, Kinman, KE, and Koeppl, JW (1982) Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 595–604. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

MacDonald, DW (1986) Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File Publications.

Smith, AT, Johnston, CH, Alves, P.C., and Hackländer, K. (eds.) (2018) Lagomorphs Pikas, Rabbits, and Hares of the World, 266 p. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Walker, EP (1975) Mammals of the World, 3rde, vol. II, 647–664. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Wilson, DE and Reeder, DM (eds.) (1993) Mammal Species of the World, 2nde. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press and The American Society of Mammalogists.

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Montuire, Sophie(Dec 2020) Lagomorpha. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0029232]