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The impala

21 November 2013

www.leopard.tvThe impala epitomizes the open woodlands of South Africa. The explorer Lichtenstein first described the impala as Antilope melampus in 1812 based on a specimen from near Kuruman in the Northern Cape. Its name was changed to Aepyceros melampus by Sundevall in 1847 because Antilope only occurs in India. The impala occurs as six subspecies in southern, central and eastern Africa, with Aepyceros melampus melampus in the Waterberg region and elsewhere in South Africa.

The common name impala is derived from its izulu name impala. Although not a gazelle, the impala is a slender antilope of medium size. Only the rams carry lyre-shaped horns, the length and shape of which is used to determine age. The horns remain straight up to an age of 22 months, then first start to turn backwards before the tips turn forward at 27 months of age. An adult ram weighs around 54 kg and an ewe 41 kg, but the rams from the south-western Limpopo province in South Africa and East Africa are heavier. The adult ram has a shoulder height... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

Reference:

Skinner, J D & C T Chimimba (eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 703 – 708.

article by: Prof J du P Bothma

 

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