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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Impala: common but beautiful

Impalas are quite well known to the common public. And the impala (Aepyceros melampus) is likely one of the first animals you'll ever see on a safari. As it goes with common animals: the first encounter the 4x4 or overland truck stops and everybody takes pictures of the impalas in a far distance. Better shots will follow soon as your safari adventure goes by.

However, at a certain point they become so common that you hardly take a shot of them at the next encounter. The vehicle won't stop for them anymore. That is why in some parks I actually have hardly taken a photo of impalas. Leaving me without proper 'spotting' of this wildlife on photo in a certain park. Well, I still have enough great impala photos!

Though the impala looks like your average gazelle or antelope at a superficial glance, they actually are not quite so much gazelles. Impalas have their own subfamily: Aepycerotinae. That subfamily consists of only one species: the impala. That makes the impala a special case. And still how common it may seem, it's a magnificent animal in all it's beauty.

For those who like the biological details:
Click a link and you'll go to the Flickr photo page for that rank in the biological classification. Or have a look in the 'Find wildlife photos' menu item on the left.

Phylum: Chordata; Vertebrates / Gewervelden
Class: Mammalia; Mammals / Zoogdieren
Order: Artiodactyla; Even-toed Ungulates / Evenhoevigen
Suborder: Cetruminantia; Ruminants, Whales and Hippos / Herkauwers, Walvissen en Nijlpaarden
Infraorder: Pecora; Ruminants / Herkauwers
Family: Bovidae; Bovids; Antelopes, Gazelles, Buffalos, Sheep, Cattle / Holhoornigen; Antilopen, Gazelles, Buffels, Schapen, Runderen
Subfamily: Aepycerotinae; Impalas / Impala's
Genus: Aepyceros; Impalas / Impala's
Species: Aepyceros melampus; Impala / Impala of Rooibok
Subspecies: Aepyceros melampus melampus; Common Impala / Impala of Rooibok

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