West African Subregion

West African Subregion

 

a zoogeographical subregion of the Ethiopian Region, comprising the wet tropical forests (rain forests) of West Africa. The fauna of the subregion, in its most characteristic forms, is found in the basins of the Congo and lower Niger. The West African Subregion is distinguished by its numerous species of climbing animals, many of which dwell in treetops. Forest fauna developed in West African forests, which are among the world’s major tropical forests. Although there are very few endemic families, there are a substantial number of endemic genera.

Endemic mammals of the subregion include scaly-tailed squirrels of the family Anomaluridae, otter shrews, several species of bats, pottos, and several species of marmosets. Anthropoid apes—gorillas and chimpanzees—also inhabit the subregion. Although ungulates are more prevalent in the East African Subregion, some highly unusual forms are found in the West African Subregion. These include the pygmy hippopotamus, a distinctive species of boar, the water chevrotain, and the okapi. The manatee dwells in the basin of the lower Congo. Several species of birds and snakes, as well as a genus of crocodiles, are endemic to the subregion. Many species that inhabit the West African Subregion are not found in any other area of Africa. However, similar species of chevrotains, anthropoid apes, peacocks, and hornbills are found in the Indo-Malayan Region or on Madagascar. They are evidently relicts of ancient tropical forest fauna.

REFERENCES

Geptner, V. G.Obshchaia zoogeografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Bobrinskii, N. A., L. A. Zenkevich, and la. A. Birshtein. Geografiia zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1946.

V. G. GEPTNER

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