Under Construction May 2011


Lepus othus


Length: 25-30mm

Diameter Range: 42.5- 75 (ASM #1)

Medullary Index: 0.65-0.86 (ASM #1)

Medulla: Multiserial ladder consisting of at least three rows of cells per the width of the medulla. The cells are hockey puck shaped and are consistent throughout the length of the fiber.

Color: Some of the fibers show brown pigmentation throughout the cortex and medulla, while others are translucent.

Scales: Scales near base are very long and sharp with edges almost parallel to edges of hair.  In the middle section of the shaft scales are closely spaced with mostly smooth edges and wavy or diagonal in several directions.  Scales near tip are closely spaced and mostly go straight across the shaft.


Length: 20-25mm

Diameter Range: 12.5- 15 microns (ASM #1)

Medullary Index: 0.46-0.55 (ASM #1)

Medulla: uniserial ladder with cells varying from hockey puck shaped to pop-bead like. In image the cells appear more hockey puck shaped (wider than tall) however, the medulla changes throughout the length of the hair.

Color: fibers appear translucent.

Scales: Stacked crowns

Macro Qualities:  In the winter, white with black-tipped ears. In the spring, Rusty brown (Forsyth 1999).  Much larger than the snowshoe hare, at 22-28” long.  Winter coat has long white hairs and they are white to the base, unlike the showshoe hare.  Edges of ears are blackish.  In summer, coat is grayish brown above and white below with a whitish base to the hairs, and the tail is entirely white.  (ADF&G 2008)  When Bacharach talks about rabbit pelts, he says the sides and bellies are thin and tend to tear. Rabbits are sometimes called coneys. Hares are larger than rabbits but their fur is thinner. Low “serviceability” (Bachrach 1953)


Notes: ASM #1 is from the Memeluk fur store in Juneau.  European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus becoming more common in urban and suburban areas recently?  There are no arctic hare in Alaska (Forsyth 1999).

Troubleshooting: Might be challenging to distinguish our hares here in Alaska from Lepus europaeus (European hare of Jack Rabbit) and Sylvilagus floridanus (the cottontail rabbit)  although color seems helpful and the edges of the scales near the tip may be rougher in the jack rabbit and cottontail.  Jack rabbit hairs are black, except possibly for a 5mm fawn band near the base.  Cottontails perhaps have a dark grey color on guard hairs with a black band near the base area, and secondary guard hairs with a dark gray color and 5mm long light brown band present.  Top of hair is black and hairs from underside of body are white. (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969)  Samet (1950) reports that hares shed often and their back fur mats easily.

Range: Most of Alaska but NOT on the North Slope, Aleutian Islands, or Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta areas (Forsyth 1999)  Western Coast of Alaska including the Alaska Peninsula, but spotty along Arctic Coast and north slope of Brooks Range  (ADF&G 2008).

Names: Order Lagomorpha (the lagomorphs)  Hares are often called rabbits, but hares are born with fur and are able to hops around much sooner than rabbits.  Alaska hare is also called the tundra hare.  Baby hares are called leverets (ADF&G 2008)  There are no arctic hares in Alaska (Forsyth 1999).

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