Weights And Measurements Of Georgia Cottontails And An Ecological Principle

Body weight and basic body measurements were recorded on 395 adult cottontails collected from three physiographic regions in Georgia. Eight different skull measurements were taken on 65 individuals. Little variation was noted in the percentage change of paunched weights as compared to the animals' total body weight. No significant seasonal variations were noted in total body weight. Coastal Plain adults exhibited significantly greater hind foot length, ear length, total length, and body weight than Piedmont or Mountain rabbits. Six of eight Coastal Plain skull measurements were significantly greater than measurements from either Piedmont or Mountain cottontails. These data are in opposition to Bergmann's Rule which states that mammals in general increase in size as one proceeds northward. Use of total body weight rather than paunched weight at any time of day or season was verified for cottontails in Georgia. General land use rather than basic soil fertility is suggested as having a greater influence on production of heavier, larger rabbits in the Coastal Plain as compared to Piedmont or Mountain regions of Georgia.

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