ON SOCIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR IN IMPALA (AEPYCEROS (MELAMPUS LICHTENSTEIN)

Authors

  • Rudolf Schenkel

    1. c/o Department of Zoology, University College, P. O. Box 30197 Nairobi or Zoolog. Anstalt der Universitat Basel, Rheinsprung 5, 4000 Basel, Switzerland.
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Summary

1. The required habitat of impala, association with other herbivores and the relation to predators are outlined.

2. The commonest types of group formation - female herd with dominant male and bachelor herd - and the factors determining the dynamic aspect of these formations are discussed.

3. The daily activity rhythm is described, distinct activities are charac-terlised as such and in relation to the social situation.

4. The relationship between the dominant male and the female herd is analysed more closely. The herding activity of the male, the main forms of his courtship, and “roaring”, which occurs in the context of courting and as showing off and threat displays in male rivalry, are described.

5. Social conflict amongst females and bachelors is of short duration and suggests the existence of a social hierarchy within the herds. Severe encounters and fighting occur between rival males exclusively over the possession of a female herd. The different forms of fightings and encounters are summarised and explained on the basis of the proportion of aggressiveness and inhibition of the rivals.

6. Pre-mating behaviour and copulation are described.

7. The mother-child bond is outlined in a preliminary form.

8. The special features of impala sociology are discussed and compared with similar behaviour in other bovidae.

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