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Lechwe
Red Lechwe
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Kobus
Species: K. leche
Binomial name
Kobus leche
Gray, 1850
Subspecies

Kobus leche leche
Kobus leche kafuensis
Kobus leche robertsi
Kobus leche smithemani

A female Lechwe "flying" over a patch of clear water early in the morning in the Okavango Delta

The Lechwe, or Southern Lechwe, (Kobus leche) is an antelope found in Botswana, Zambia, south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-eastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats and Bangweulu Swamps.

Lechwe stand 90 to 100 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kilograms. They are golden brown with a white belly. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long spiral structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil.

Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants. They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water repelling substance allowing them to run quite fast in knee-deep water.

Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals. Herds are usually all of one sex but during mating season they mix.

Subspecies

There are four subspecies of the Lechwe:[2][3]

  • Red Lechwe or Zambesi Lechwe (Kobus l. leche) - most of range. Overall tawny-fawn with black to front of front legs.
  • Kafue Lechwe or Brown Lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) - Kafue Flats. As previous, but front legs almost entirely black. Vulnerable.[4]
  • Roberts' Lechwe or Kawambwa Lechwe (Kobus leche robertsi) - formerly near Kawambwa. Extinct.[5]
  • Black Lechwe or Bangweulu Lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani) - Bangweulu Swamps. Adult male blackish. Vulnerable.[6]

References

  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Kobus leche. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 10 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  2. ^ Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M.. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.  
  3. ^ Haltenorth, T. & H. Diller. 1980. Mammals of Africa including Madagascar. Harpercollins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-219778-2
  4. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Kobus leche ssp. kafuensis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 July 2008.
  5. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Kobus leche ssp. robertsi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 July 2008.
  6. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Kobus leche ssp. smithemani. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 July 2008.


External links

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