Temporal range: Early Pliocene to Recent in Africa
|South African springhare (P. capensis)|
A number of species both extant and extinct are classified in the genus Pedetes. They include:
- South African springhare or springhaas (Pedetes capensis)
- East African springhare (Pedetes surdaster)
- Pedetes laetoliensis (Davies, 1987) (fossil)
These rodents are generally nocturnal and sleep through the day in burrows they dig. They feed on foliage, roots and other vegetable matter, and occasionally arthropods. Outside the burrow they usually move around by hopping on their hind legs.
When only one springhare species was recognized, it was listed as vulnerable by the IUCN in 1996 due to an approximately 20% decrease in the population over the previous ten years. This has been caused by intense hunting and the loss of habitat. However, the negative trend has not persisted, and both species are now listed as Species of Least Concern.
- Hopping mouse – a similar murid rodent native to Australia; an example of parallel evolution
- Jerboa – a similar dipodid rodent native to northern Africa and Asia
- Jumping mouse – a non-desert-dwelling dipodid rodent native to China and North America
- Kangaroo mouse and kangaroo rat – similar heteromyid rodents of North America
- Kultarr – an unrelated marsupial with a similar body plan and coloration; an example of convergence
- McKenna, M.C. and Bell, S.K. 1997. Classification of Mammals: Above the species level. New York: Columbia University Press, 631 pp. ISBN 978-0-231-11013-6 (p. 185)
- Fossil Pedetidae (Rodentia) from Laetoli. Leakey, M.D.; Harris, J.M.[Eds]. Laetoli. A Pliocene site in northern Tanzania., Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York etc., 1987: i-xxii, 1-561. Chapter pagination: 171-190. [Zoological Record Volume 124]
- Matthee, C. A. & Robinson, T. J. (1997). "Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and comparative cytogenetics of the springhare, Pedetes capensis (Mammalia: Rodentia)". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 4 (1): 53–73. doi:10.1023/A:1027331727034.
- Matthee, C. A. & Robinson, T. J. (1997). "Molecular phylogeny of the springhare, Pedetes capensis, based on mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 14 (1): 20–29. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025698.