Friday, November 12, 2010

Impala | Aepyceros | Melampus

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
GENUS SPECIES: Aepyceros (long, lyre-shaped horns) Melampus (black-footed)

DESCRIPTION: The impala is a medium-sized antelope with a dark brown back fading to a medium brown flank and a white underbelly.
MALE Only the males have horns
SIZE: MALE 58-70 cm (23-28 in.) | FEMALE 58-64 cm (23-25 in.)
WEIGHT: MALE 45.5-79.5 kg (100-175 lb.) | FEMALE Smaller and lighter than males
DIET: Includes grasses, herbs, shrubs, and fruits
GESTATION: Gestation lasts approximately 6-7 months; female typically gives birth to a single offspring
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 13 months, but rarely reproduces before 2 years
LIFE SPAN: 12-17 years
RANGE: Southern and Eastern Africa
HABITAT: Inhabits dry forests, gallery forests, level and mountain country
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent

Impalas are an important food source for many larger predators, especially cheetahs, lions, hyenas, etc. Young impalas may be taken by birds of prey such as Martial eagles.

These animals are probably the most common and most commonly seen antelope in eastern Africa. One subspecies, the black-faced impala is endangered, but both species suffer from over-hunting.