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A territorial impala ram (top), and ewe with calf (below)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Aepycerotinae
Gray, 1872
Genus: Aepyceros
Sundevall, 1847
A. melampus
Binomial name
Aepyceros melampus
(Lichtenstein, 1812)
  • A. m. melampus Lichtenstein, 1812
  • A. m. petersi Bocage, 1879
  Black-faced impala
  Common impala
  • A. holubi Lorenz, 1894
  • A. johnstoni Thomas, 1893
  • A. katangae Lönnberg, 1914
  • A. pallah (Gervais, 1841)
  • A. rendilis Lönnberg, 1912
  • A. typicus Thomas, 1893
Female Black-faced Impala at water hole
Male impala lock horns in mating-season fight

The impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized African antelope. The name "impala" comes from the Zulu language. Impala belong in the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata and class Mammalia. Along with cattle, antelopes, sheep, goats, buffalo and bison, they belong to the family Bovidae.[2]

Description[change | change source]

The impala is reddish-brown with white hair inside the ears, over each eye and on the chin, upper throat, underparts and buttocks. A narrow black line runs along the middle of the lower back to the tail, and a vertical black stripe appears on the back of each thigh. Impalas have unique brushlike tufts of black hair that cover a scent gland located just above the heel on each hind leg.

The impala can jump more than 10 meters distance and 3 meters high, and can reach running speeds of about 80 to 90 km/h, to escape from predators.

Female impala, called ewes, have no horns. But males, the rams, grow curved horns with a notable twisted appearance due to ridges. These horns are black and grow as long as 36 inches.

Habitat[change | change source]

Impalas are found at grassland and woodland edges, usually very close by water. In Africa, these animals still live throughout Kenya, Botswana, Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zaire and Tanzania.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Aepyceros melampus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T550A50180828. 2016. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T550A50180828.en. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2017. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)
  2. Lundrigan, Barbara; Sproull, Karen. "Aepyceros melampus (impala)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2021-10-31.