Open Access

Examination of sexual dimorphism in New-Zealand White × Californian rabbits by morphological traits


Rabbits provide a cheap source of high quality animal protein and thus have the potential to bridge the shortage of animal protein in developing countries. Data were collected on 174 New Zealand × California cross-bred rabbits (87 males and 87 females) for this study, to quantify the morphological characteristics and to determine the morphological parameters that contribute to body conformation using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Data were collected on live body weight (LBW), body length (BDL), ear length (EAL), tail length (TAL), rump length (RUL), heart girth (HAG) and abdominal circumference (ADC). Data collected were analysed using the procedures of the PAST® 3.21 statistical package. Mean live body weight (± SE) for the females (0.980 ± 0.02 kg) and males (0.790 ± 0.02 kg) was recorded. There were positive and highly significant (p < 0.01) correlation coefficients between live body weight and the linear body measurements. One principal component was extracted, accounting for 64.8% of the total variances in morphological indicators measured in the New Zealand × California rabbits. The extracted principal component in this study could be used as aid in selection programme. The results obtained revealed the occurrence of sexual dimorphism, where female rabbits recorded significantly (p < 0.05) higher values than males in all the traits measured. This information suggests that use of rabbit for meat production should skew towards raising female rabbits.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Plant Science