The identification of pika and hare through tricho-taxonomy (Mammalia: Lagomorpha)

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Manokaran Kamalakannan
Kailash Chandra
Joy Krishna De
Chinnadurai Venkatraman


The macroscopic and microscopic characters of dorsal guard hairs of Indian lagomorphs (four species of pikas and three species of hare) are described; the cuticular and medullary characters are similar between the species studied.  The cuticular and medullary characters, however, are dissimilar between the family Ochotonidae and Leporidae.  The cross-section of hair of the species had shown two identical shapes between the family Ochotonidae and Leporidae.  The cross-section was observed as an oval shape in all the four ochotonid species, whereas there was a dumb-bell shape in all three leporid species.  The hair of the Indian lagomorphs can easily be differentiated up to the family level on the basis of their unique cuticula, medulla and cross-section of the dorsal guard hair.  The high-resolution microphotographs and key characteristics of hair that are presented here can be used as an appropriate reference for family-level identification of Indian lagomorphs.

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