This study explores the population dynamics of black-tail jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) and desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus auduboni) in the grasslands and creosote shrublands of McKenzie Flats, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. The study was initiated in January 1992, and continues quarterly each year. Rabbits are sampled via night-time spotlight transect sampling along the roads of McKenzie Flats once during winter, spring, summer, and fall. The route is 21.5 miles long. Measurements of perpendicular distance of each rabbit from the center of the road are used to estimate densities (number of rabbits per square kilometer) via Program DISTANCE. Results from January 1992 to May 2004 indicated that spring was the period of peak density period, with generally steady declines through the rest of the year until the following spring. Evidence of a long-term "cycle" (e.g., the 11-year-cycle reported for rabbits in the Great Basin Desert) does not appear in the Sevilleta rabbit populations.


Other Identifier


Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB) Identifier


Document Type



This dataset was originally published on the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Data Portal,, and potentially via other repositories or portals as described. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the source data package is doi:10.6073/pasta/6b26b77b33e9d7086e37c40aaa05e80d, and may be accessed at Metadata and files included in this record mirror as closely as possible the source data and documentation, with the provenance metadata and quality report generated by the LTER portal reproduced here as '*-provenance.xml' and *-report.html' files, respectively.


Data Policies: This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement of the Sevilleta LTER. Datasets must be cited as in the example provided. A copy of any publications using these data must be supplied to the Sevilleta LTER Information Manager. By downloading any data you implicitly acknowledge the LTER Data Policy (


Temporal coverage

1992-01-20 - 2015-03-06

Spatial coverage

McKenzie Flats is located within the northeastern section of the Sevilleta NWR, encompassing an area from Black Butte south to Palo Duro Canyon and east to the Los Pinos.



Permanent URL

knb-lter-sev.23.121705-metadata.html (76 kB)
Show full metadata

knb-lter-sev.23.121705-provenance.xml (3 kB)
Show provenance metadata

knb-lter-sev.23.121705-report.html (28 kB)
Show original LTER Network Data Portal ingest report

sev023_rabbitpopns_20150310.txt (80 kB)
Data in TXT format


Article Location