Lynx - Hare cycle

Population cycles in Lynx & its prey  (MacLulich after Elton 1925)

    Changes in the abundance of Lynx (Lynx canadensis) [top] and various prey species such as Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) are documented in records of the numbers of pelts brought into the Hudson Bay Company. Note that the Lynx cycle peaks slightly later than the hare cycle. This suggests a hypothesis that an abundance of hares feeds an increase in the number of lynx, which in turn depresses the number of hare and so on. [Unfortunately, hares also cycle in the absence of lynx]. The original data set was compiled by Charles Elton, and is notable as one of the longest time series in ecology.

Text material © 2005 by Steven M. Carr