Abstract

A new species of Venezuelan rabbit of the genus Sylvilagus from Fundo Millano (08o 46´N and 69o 56´W) and Chorrosco Bajo (08o 05´N and 69o 18´W), between 190 and 120 masl, state of Barinas, is described based on: 1. Body and skull measurements. 2. Coloration patterns of the pelage. 3. Arrangement and length of the color hair bands of dorsal, lateral, ventral nuchal, and gular patches. Body and cranial measurements, and some color patterns of the new species, Sylvilagus varynaensis, were compared with those of the closest relative groups such as S. brasiliensis (from Venezuela and Brazil), S. b. meridensis from the Venezuelan paramos, and three of the most representative groups of S. floridanus (S. f. continentis, S. f. orinoci, and S. f. valenciae). Most of the values recorded for these parameters were significally higher for the new species (P < 0.005; Student “t” test). Cluster and principal components analysis of the data recorded for cranial characteristics indicated that S. varynaensis is the largest and darkest of the known Venezuelan rabbits, with a broader elongated skull and a different arrangement of the color hair bands
Keywords: neotropics, venezuela, rabbits, new species, sylvilagus skull measuments, cluster analysis