South Africa Subregion

South Africa Subregion

 

a subregion in the Ethiopian zoogeographical land region. To the northeast, it borders on the East Africa subregion. The boundary between these two subre-gions is not fixed, and the fauna is very similar (however, the fauna is richer in the East Africa subregion). Therefore, some zoogeographers do not distinguish between the two areas. The South Africa subregion occupies desert and semidesert lands.

A number of faunal species in the subregion, mainly invertebrates, are relicts (for example, invertebrates of the class Ony-chophora). Vertebrate fauna is relatively scarce, since species from forested equatorial Africa (for example, anthropoid apes, otter shrews, wild chevrotains, scaly-tailed squirrels, and some ungulates) have hardly penetrated this subregion; some are found in the extreme northern section. Golden moles, tarsiers, and aardvarks are among the characteristic and partially endemic mammals of the South Africa subregion. The blue duiker, Burchell’s zebra, some viverrids (for example, the suricate), and the brown hyena are among the animals that dwell in the subregion. The bird fauna is fairly rich, but there are few endemic genera (approximately 5 percent of the total number of genera); the subfamily Promeropinae is endemic. There are many species of sand grouse and bustard. Several families of birds, including Pittidae and Scopidae, that are characteristic of the Ethiopian region are absent in this subregion.

The topography, flora, and fauna of the South Africa subregion have greatly changed as a result of human activities. A number of faunal species have been destroyed, and some have been driven northward (elephants, rhinoceroses, zebras, giraffes, lions, ostriches, and various species of antelopes). Some species are preserved only in zoos.

REFERENCES

Geptner, V. G. Obshchaia zoogeografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Darlington, P. Zoogeografiia. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)

V. G. GEPTNER

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