As the snowshoe hare population declines and rises, so does the population of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). It is a classic biological population dynamic between prey and predator. Both species of animal are native to the northern forests of North America. The snowshoe hare makes up the majority of the Canadian lynx diet, and every 10 years or so when the hare population collapses, the lynx population follows suit. As the population rebounds, so too does the lynx.
The Canada lynx is a close evolutionary relative of the bobcat, another small wild cat species native to North America. The bobcat generally lives in more southerly latitudes of Canada, the United States, and Mexico and is suited to a wider variety of habitats.
Canada lynx are valued for their furs, and in many parts of Canada (and Alaska in the United States) a legal commercial harvest exists. In some states in Canada and the contiguous United States, trapping of lynx is prohibited due to small population numbers.
The lynx is a solitary species and, like many species of cats in the wild, it has a defined geographic territory. Male lynx do not take on parental care of young in any known way, although a female lynx with young offspring has been observed to hunt cooperatively with its young, presumably as a teaching technique.
Scientists who study the Canada lynx, snowshoe hare, and the ecosystem dynamics of their habitat are watching closely as climate change affects factors such as snowfall amounts and forest fire frequency and severity. These types of phenomena may put stressors on the two species, and reduce their ideal habitats.
What is the relationship between the population numbers of snowshoe hare and the Canada lynx?
What are the other three species within the same genus—or the biological classification grouping—of the Canada lynx, and where on Earth are they found?
Are Canadian lynx killed legally for their furs?
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry commercial Adjective
having to do with the buying and selling of goods and services.
able to work with other individuals toward a common goal.
ecosystem dynamics Plural Noun
mechanisms of a community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.
rate of occurrence, or the number of things happening in a specific area over specific time period.
environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: habitat phenomena Plural Noun
(singular: phenomenon) any observable occurrence or feature.
population dynamics Plural Noun
branch of life science that studies patterns in the size and age of specific populations.
harshness or intensity.
alone or preferring to be alone.
land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.