<I>Oryctolagus cuniculus</I>, rabbits, Central Otago, reproduction, breeding season, fertility, pre-natal mortality, productivity

Reproductive-Biology of Rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus (L), in Central Otago, New Zealand

Autopsies on over 3000 rabbits collected between October 1980 and January 1983 provided information on the reproduction of rabbits in Central Otago. In contrast to year-round breeding elsewhere in New Zealand, reproduction was restricted to the period September-February. Distinct seasonal cycles occurred in both male and female fertility. Both sexes reached peak fertility when 12-17 months old. Female fertility is also related to carcass weight and condition. Most females (80%) experienced some pre-natal mortality, which accounted for about 30% of ovulations.