• Antelope Jackrabbit (Lepus alleni) Spatial Ecology, Habitat Characteristics, and Overlap with the Endangered Pima Pineapple Cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. Robustispina)

      Koprowski, John L.; Altemus, Maria Michael; Brown, David E.; Mannan, Robert W. (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      The antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni) inhabits the seasonal landscape of the subtropical Sonoran savanna grassland in southern Arizona. Basic ecological information on this understudied lagomorph is lacking beyond historical responses to rangeland conditions. This is the first study to utilize radio collars to assess space use of antelope jackrabbits. In the semidesert grassland of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, we estimated antelope jackrabbit home range size, seasonal ranges, and movement patterns. Home range estimates were comparable to other Lepus species, however, seasonal range sizes did not differ. We analyzed antelope jackrabbit habitat structure, measured vegetation characteristics, and determined whether there was a spatial association between antelope jackrabbits and the endangered Pima pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina). Antelope jackrabbits selected vegetation structure and characteristics similarly to available areas on the refuge. We did not detect a spatial association between antelope jackrabbits and Pima pineapple cacti, however given the importance of understanding endangered species relationships, further investigation is warranted. Our results add to the limited ecological information known about antelope jackrabbits and provide baseline data for future studies. Knowledge about spatial ecology and habitat selection helps managers and biologists make informed recommendations for land and wildlife management.