Ethiopian Region

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ethiopian Region


one of the zoogeographic regions of the earth, comprising Africa south of the Sahara, the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, and various islands and island groups, including Madagascar, the Mascarene Islands, the Comoros Islands, and the Seychelles.

The typically continental fauna of the region is quite rich. Three orders are endemic: Tubulidentata (aardvarks), Coliiformes (colies), and Struthioniformes (ostriches). Families endemic to the region include golden moles, otter shrews, Tenrecidae, sharp-tailed flying squirrels, jumping hares, giraffes, hippopotamuses, guinea fowl, secretary birds, hammerhead storks, and touracos.

In all, representatives of 38 families of mammals may be found in the region, six of which are also encountered in the Indo-Malaysian region: anthropoid apes, lemurs, chevrotains, rhinoceroses, elephants, and pangolins. Particularly widespread in the Ethiopian region are antelope; of the various Suids, the warthog is encountered most frequently. There are no moles, deer, or bears.

Birds are represented by 89 families; of these, the 12 families that are also found in the Indo-Malaysian region, including drongos, honey guides, pittas, and hornbills, inhabit primarily the tropical and equatorial forests. The most common Passeriformes are weaverbirds and Nectariniidae (sunbirds and spiderhunters). There are few parrots. Birds not represented in the Ethiopian region include grouse, goldcrests, and dippers.

Of the reptiles, lizards appear in large numbers and a variety of species: chameleons, agamas, geckos, and monitors. Cobras, vipers, pythons, side-necked turtles, and crocodiles are characteristic of the region. Among the amphibians are numerous toads, caecilians, and frogs, including members of the genus Xenopus; there are almost no typical treefrogs. Among fish, cyprinids predominate in fresh water. Bichirs, the genus Polypterus, and the family Mormyridae are common. Termites are numerous among the insects; their conical nests are a common sight on the savannas. Other widespread insects are gossamer-winged butterflies and locusts.

The Ethiopian region is divided into the West African, East African, Cape, and Madagascar subregions.


Geptner, V. G. Obshchaia zoogeografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Bobrinskii, N. A., and N. A. Gladkov. Geografiia zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Vtorov, P. P., and N. N. Drozdov. Biogeografiia materikov. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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