A New Species of Cottontail Rabbit (Lagomorpha: Leporidae: Sylvilagus) from Suriname, With Comments on the Taxonomy of Allied Taxa from northern South America

Published In

Journal of Mammalogy

Document Type


Publication Date



Of the 19 currently recognized species of Sylvilagus Gray, 1867, 15 inhabit North America, and only 5 are recognized in South America: S. brasiliensis Linnaeus, 1758 (throughout most of the continent); S. varynaensis Durant and Guevara, 2001, restricted to the southern lowlands of Venezuela (states of Barinas, Portuguesa, and Guarico); S. andinus (Thomas, 1897) from the Andean páramos of Ecuador and potentially in a sporadic manner to the Colombian and Venezuelan páramos; and S. tapetillus Thomas, 1913, from the coastal plain in the region of Rio de Janeiro. In addition to these, putative subspecies of S. floridanus, primarily a North American taxon, nominally are recognized from the grassland plains areas of northwestern South America east of the Andes. While S. varynaensis and S. tapetillus are monotypic, S. brasiliensis contains at least 37 named taxa in synonymy, distributed in various habitats; S. andinus requires further study. As a result of the recent description of a neotype for S. brasiliensis, it is now possible to assess species limits and begin the process of illuminating formerly obscured biological diversity in South American cottontails. Here, I describe a new species of Sylvilagus from the lowlands of western Suriname, and excise S. sanctaemartaeHershkovitz, 1950 from synonymy with S. brasiliensis.


© 2017 American Society of Mammalogists



Persistent Identifier