Our Beautiful World

Impala, Aepyceros melampus 


Family Bovidae

Subfamily Aepycerotinae
Impala, Aepyceros melampus
Black-faced impala - Aepyceros melampus petersi
Common impala - Aepyceros melampus melampus

The impala, Aepyceros melampus, (Greek aipos "high", ceros "horn" + melas "black" pous "foot") is a medium-sized African antelope. The name common name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle". They are found in savannas
and thick bushveld in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, northern Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe,
southern Angola, northeastern South Africa and Uganda. Impalas can be found in numbers of up to 2 million in Africa.

This antelope specimen has been famous all over the world because of its well proportioned body, its beautiful colors and the impressing horns. The adult impalabull is one of the most beautiful ruminant animals you can meet in Africa.
Photographer: William M. Ciesla, http://www.forestryimages.org/

Impala range between 75 and 95 cm tall. Average mass for a male impala is 46 to 76 kg , while females weigh about
35 to 50 kg. They are normally reddish-brown in color (hence the Afrikaans name of "Rooibok"), have lighter flanks and
white underbellies with a characteristic "M" marking on the rear.

Males, referred to as rams, have lyre-shaped horns, which can reach up to 90 centimeters in length.
Females, referred to as ewes, have no horns.

ARKive video - Male impala territorial display
Male impala territorial display
Video: Absolutely Wild Visuals, Audio: BBC Natural History Unit

The black impala, found in very few places in Africa, is an extremely rare type.
A recessive gene causes the black colouration in these animals.

Late in November, right after a fire..
Photographer: Paul Bolstad, http://www.forestryimages.org/

The impala never leave areas with water, and almost never moves into tight woodland or bushes. That is why theyk only
get few problems when fire is ravaging violently in an area, like on the picture above.

Male and female.
Photographer: Paul Bolstad, http://www.forestryimages.org/

Impalas are an ecotone (
a transition area between two biomes but different patches of the landscape, such as forest and grassland), species living in light woodland with little undergrowth and grassland of low to medium height.
They have an irregular distribution due to dependence on free water, soils with good drainage with firm footing and moderate
or less slope. While they are usually close to water in the dry season, they can go weeks without drinking when they have
access to green vegetation.

ARKive video - Black-faced impala - overview
Black-faced impala, Aepyceros melampus - overview
Granada Wild, c/o ITN Source, London

Impalas are adaptable foragers. They usually switch between grazing and browsing depending on the season.
During wet seasons when grasses are green and growing they graze. During dry seasons it browses foliage, shoots,
forbs and seeds.[4] It can also adapt to different habitats by being a grazer in one habitat a browser in another.
Leopards, cheetahs, lions and wild dogs prey on impala.

Photographer: Kenneth M. Gale, http://www.forestryimages.org/

Females and young form herds of up to two hundred individuals. When food is plentiful, adult males will establish territories.
Females pass through the territories that have the best food resources.[6] Territorial males round up any female herds that
enter their grounds, and will chase away bachelor males that follow

© http://www.schmode.net/ (not active as per Sept.2010)

The breeding season of impalas, also called rutting, begins toward the end of the wet season in May. The entire affair
typically lasts approximately three weeks. While young are usually born after 6–7 months, the mother has the ability to
delay giving birth for an additional month if conditions are harsh. When giving birth, a female impala will isolate herself
from the herd, despite numerous attempts by the male to keep her in his territory. The impala mother will keep the fawn in
an isolated spot for a few days or even leave it lying out in hiding for a few days, weeks, or more before returning to the herd. There, the fawn will join a nursery group and will go to its mother only to nurse and when predators are near.
Fawns are suckled for four to six months. Males who mature are forced out of the group and will join bachelor herds.

ARKive video - Immature male impala plays with juveniles, young males sparring, juveniles pronking
Immature male impala plays with juveniles, young males sparring, juveniles pronking
Granada Wild, Audio: BBC Natural History Sound Library

Oh no, you are not stronger than me!
© http://www.schmode.net/ (not active as per Sept.2010)

When frightened or startled, the whole herd starts leaping about to confuse their predator. They can jump distances more
than 10 meters (33 ft) and 3 meters (9 ft) high. Impalas can reach running speeds of about 80 to 90 km/h (50 to 56 mph),[9][10] to escape their predators. When escaping from predators, they can release a scent from their glands on their heels, which can help them stay together. This is done by performing a high kick of their hind legs.[


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