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200+ Native African Animals: Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Conservation

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Native African Animals are invaluable resources for the ecosystem and biodiversity in the entire of Africa. The fauna of Africa, in its broader sense, is all of the animals residing in Africa and its surrounding seas and islands. The more characteristic African fauna is discovered within the Afrotropical realm.

Native African Animals

Lying virtually solely throughout the tropics, and equally to north and south of the equator creates beneficial circumstances for wealthy wildlife. Africa is home to many of the world’s most well-known fauna in human culture reminiscent of lions‚ rhinos‚ cheetahs‚ giraffes‚ hippos, leopards, zebras‚ and African elephants amongst many others.

Origins and history of African fauna

Whereas the earliest traces of life in the fossil record of Africa date back to the earliest occasions, the formation of African fauna as we all know it in the present day, started with the splitting up of the Gondwana supercontinent within the mid-Mesozoic period.

The continents Laurasia-Gondwana 200 million years ago

After that, 4 to 6 faunal assemblages, the so-called African Faunal Strata (AFSs) might be distinguished. The isolation of Africa was damaged intermittently by discontinuous “filter routes” that linked it to another Gondwanan continent (Madagascar, South America, and maybe India), however primarily to Laurasia.

Interchanges with Gondwana had been uncommon and primarily “out-of-Africa” dispersals, whereas interchanges with Laurasia had been quite a few and bidirectional, though primarily from Laurasia to Africa. Despite these connections, isolation resulted in exceptional absences, poor range, and the emergence of endemic taxa in Africa.

Madagascar separated from continental Africa in the course of the break-up of Gondwanaland early within the Cretaceous, however, was in all probability linked to the mainland once more within the Eocene.

The first Neogene faunal interchange happened within the Middle Miocene (the introduction of Myocricetodontinae, Democricetodontinae, and Dendromurinae), Native African Animals.

A significant terrestrial faunal alternate between North Africa and Europe started at about 6.1 Ma, some 0.4 Myr before the start of the Messinian salinity disaster(for instance the introduction of Murinae, immigrants from southern Asia)

During the early Tertiary, Africa was coated by an unlimited evergreen forest inhabited by endemic forest fauna with many varieties common to southern Asia. In the Pliocene, the local weather grew to become dry and a lot of the forest was destroyed, the forest animals taking refuge within the remaining forest islands.

At the same time, a broad land bridge linked Africa with Asia and there was a great invasion of animals of the steppe fauna into Africa. At the start of the Pleistocene, a moist interval set in and far of the forest was renewed whereas the grassland fauna was divided and remoted because the forest fauna had beforehand been.

The present forest fauna is subsequently of double origin, partly descended from the endemic fauna and partly from steppe types that tailored themselves to forest life, whereas the present savanna fauna is equally defined.

The isolation in past occasions has resulted in the presence of intently associated subspecies in extensively separated regions. Africa, the place people originated, reveals a lot much less proof of loss within the Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, maybe as a result of the co-evolution of huge animals alongside early people offered sufficient time for them to develop efficient defenses. Its state of affairs within the tropics spared it additionally from Pleistocene glaciations and the local weather has not modified a lot.

Native African Animals


There are giant gaps in human data about African invertebrates. East Africa has a wealthy coral fauna with about 400 identified species. More than 400 species of Echinoderms and 500 species of Bryozoa live there too, in addition to one Cubozoan species (Carybdea alata).

Of Nematodes, the Onchocerca volvulus, Necator americanus, Wuchereria bancrofti, and Dracunculus medinensis are human parasites. Some of the important plant-parasitic nematodes of crops embrace Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus, Hirschmanniella, Radopholus, Scutellonema, and Helicotylenchus. Of the few Onychophorans, Peripatopsis and Opisthopatus live in Africa.

The greatest range of freshwater mollusks is present in East African lakes. Of marine snails, much less range is present on the Atlantic coast, more in the tropical Western Indian Ocean area (over 3000 species of gastropods with 81 endemic species).

Cowry shells have been used as money by native Africans. The land snail fauna is very wealthy in Afromontane areas, and there are some endemic households in Africa (e.g. Achatinidae, Chlamydephoridae) however different tropical households are common too (Charopidae, Streptaxidae, Cyclophoridae, Subulinidae, Rhytididae).

156 tardigrade species have been discovered, and about 8000 species of arachnids. The African millipede Archispirostreptus gigas is, without a doubt, one of the largest on the earth. 20 genera of freshwater crabs are present, Native African Animals.

The soil animal communities in tropical Africa are poorly identified. Just a few ecological research have been undertaken on macrofauna, primarily in West Africa. Earthworms are being extensively studied in West and South Africa.


Hotspots for butterflies embrace the Congolian forests and the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic. Some butterflies (Hamanumida daedalus, Precis, Eurema) are grassland or savannah specialists.

Many of those have very giant populations and an unlimited range. South Africa has one of many highest proportions of Lycaenid butterflies (48%) for any area on the earth with many species restricted in range. North Africa is within the Palaearctic area and has a distinct species assemblage.

Genera that are species wealthy in Africa embrace Charaxes, Acraea, Colotis, and Papilio, most notably Papilio antimachus and Papilio zalmoxis. The tribe Liptenini is endemic to the Afrotropics and contains species wealthy genera reminiscent of Ornipholidotos, Liptenara, Pentila, Baliochila, Hypophytala, Teriomima, Deloneura, and Mimacraea.

The Miletinae are largely African, notably Lachnocnema. Other endemic lycaenids embrace the genus Alaena. Endemic Nymphalidae embraces Euphaedra, Bebearia, Heteropsis, Precis, Pseudacraea, Bicyclus, and Euxanthe.

Endemic Pieridae embrace Pseudopontia paradoxa and Mylothris. Endemic skippers embrace Sarangesaand Kedestes. The highest species range is within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to 2,040 species 181 of that are endemic.

Native African Animals


Approximately 100,000 species of bugs have been described from Sub-Saharan Africa, however, there are only a few overviews of the fauna as a whole (it has been estimated that the African bugs make up about 10-20% of the worldwide insect species richness, and about 15% of latest species descriptions come from Afrotropics). The solely endemic African insect order is Mantophasmatodea.

About 875 African species of dragonflies have been recorded.

The migratory locust and desert locust have been severe threats to African economies and human welfare, Native African Animals.

Africa has the largest variety of termite genera of all continents and over 1,000 termite species.

Of Diptera, the variety of described African species is about 17,000. Natalimyzidae, a brand new family of acalyptrate flies has been lately described from South Africa. Anopheles gambiae, Aedes aegypti, and Tsetse fly are vital vectors of illnesses. 1600 species of bees and 2000 species of ants amongst different Hymenopterans are identified from Africa.

There live additionally 3,607 species of butterflies, being the perfect identified group of bugs. The caterpillars of mopani moth are a part of the South African delicacies. Among quite a few species of African beetles are the well-known sacred scarab, the centaurus beetle, the manticora tiger beetle, and massive Goliath beetles.


Endemic to Africa are the households Arthroleptidae, Astylosternidae, Heleophrynidae, Hemisotidae, Hyperoliidae, Petropedetidae, Mantellidae. Also widespread are Bufonidae (Bufo, Churamiti, Capensibufo, Mertensophryne, Nectophryne, Nectophrynoides, Schismaderma, Stephopaedes, Werneria, Wolterstorffina), Microhylidae (Breviceps, Callulina, Probreviceps, Cophylinae, Dyscophus, Melanobatrachinae, Scaphiophryninae), Rhacophoridae (Chiromantis), Ranidae (Afrana, Amietia, Amnirana, Aubria, Conraua, Hildebrandtia, Lanzarana, Ptychadena, Strongylopus, Tomopterna) and Pipidae (Hymenochirus, Pseudhymenochirus, Xenopus).

The 2002–2004 ‘Global Amphibian Assessment’ by IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe revealed that for under about 50% of the Afrotropical amphibians, there’s the least concern about their conservation standing; roughly 130 species are endangered, about one-fourth of that is at a crucial stage. Almost the entire amphibians of Madagascar (238 species) are endemic to that area. The West African goliath frog is the biggest frog species on the earth.


Africa is the richest continent of freshwater fish, with about 3000 species. The East African Great Lakes (Victoria, Malawi, and Tanganyika) are the center of biodiversity of many fish, particularly cichlids (they harbor more than two-thirds of the estimated 2000 species within the family), part of Native African Animals.

The West African coastal river area covers solely a fraction of West Africa, however, harbors 322 West African fish species, with 247 restricted to this area and 129 restricted even to smaller ranges.

The central river’s fauna includes 194 fish species, with 119 endemics and solely 33 restricted to small areas. The marine range is the biggest close to the Indian Ocean shore with about 2000 species.

Characteristics of African fauna are Perciformes (Lates, tilapias, Dichistiidae, Anabantidae, Mudskippers, Parachanna, Acentrogobius, Croilia, Glossogobius, Hemichromis, Nanochromis, Oligolepis, Oreochromis, Redigobius, Sarotherodon, Stenogobius, and others), Gonorhynchiformes (Kneriidae, Phractolaemidae), some lungfishes (Protopterus), many Characiformes (Distichodontidae, Hepsetidae, Citharinidae, Alestiidae), Osteoglossiformes (African knifefish, Gymnarchidae, Mormyridae, Pantodontidae), Siluriformes (Amphiliidae, Anchariidae, Ariidae, Austroglanididae, Clariidae, Claroteidae, Malapteruridae, Mochokidae, Schilbeidae), Osmeriformes (Galaxiidae), Cyprinodontiformes (Aplocheilidae, Poeciliidae) and Cypriniformes (Labeobarbus, Pseudobarbus, Tanakia, and others).

Native African Animals


The center of the chameleon range is Madagascar. Snakes present in Africa embrace atractaspidids, elapids (cobras, Aspidelaps, Boulengerina, Dendroaspis, Elapsoidea, Hemachatus, Homoroselaps and Paranaja), viperine, (Atheris, Bitis, Cerastes, Causus, Echis, Macrovipera, Montatheris, Proatheris, Vipera), colubrids (Dendrolycus, Dispholidus, Gonionotophis, Grayia, Hormonotus, Lamprophis, Psammophis, Leioheterodon, Madagascarophis, Poecilopholis, Dasypeltis and so on.), the pythonids (Python), typhlopids (Typhlops) and leptotyphlopids (Leptotyphlops, Rhinoleptus).

Of the lizards, many species of geckos (day geckos, Afroedura, Afrogecko, Colopus, Pachydactylus, Hemidactylus, Narudasia, Paroedura, Pristurus, Quedenfeldtia, Rhoptropus, Tropiocolotes, Uroplatus), Cordylidae, in addition to Lacertidae (Nucras, Lacerta, Mesalina, Acanthodactylus, Pedioplanis), Agamas, skinks, plated lizards, and a few monitor lizards are common. There are 12 genera and 58 species of African amphisbaenians (e.g. Chirindia, Zygaspis, Monopeltis, Dalophia).

Several genera of tortoises (Kinixys, Pelusios, Psammobates, Geochelone, Homopus, Chersina), turtles (Pelomedusidae, Cyclanorbis, Cycloderma, Erymnochelys), and 5-7 species of crocodiles (the Nile crocodile, the West African crocodile, two species of slender-snouted crocodile, and 1-3 species of dwarf crocodile) are additionally present.


There live (briefly or completely) more than 2600 bird species in Africa (about 1500 of them passerines). Some 114 of them are threatened species.

The Afrotropic has numerous endemic bird households, together with ostriches (Struthionidae), mesites, sunbirds, a secretary bird (Sagittariidae), guineafowl (Numididae), and mousebirds (Coliidae). Also, a number of households of passerines are restricted to the Afrotropics.

These embrace rock jumpers (Chaetopidae), bushshrikes (Malaconotidae), wattle-eyes, (Platysteiridae), and rockfowl (Picathartidae). Other common birds embrace parrots (lovebirds, Poicephalus, Psittacus), numerous cranes (topped cranes, blue crane, wattled crane), storks (marabous, Abdim’s stork, saddle-billed stork), herons (slaty egret, black heron, goliath heron), shoebill, bustards (kori bustard, Neotis, Eupodotis, Lissotis), sandgrouse (Pterocles), Coraciiformes (bee-eaters, hornbills, Ceratogymna), phasianids (francolins, Congo peafowl, blue quail, harlequin quail, stone partridge, Madagascar partridge). The woodpeckers and allies embrace honeyguides, African barbets, African piculet, ground woodpecker, Dendropicos, and Campethera.

The birds of prey embrace the buzzards, harriers, Old World vultures, bateleur, Circaetus, Melierax, and others. Trogons are represented by one genus (Apaloderma). The African penguin is one penguin species. Madagascar was as soon home to the now-extinct elephant birds.

Africa is home to quite a few songbirds (pipits, orioles, antpeckers, brubrus, cisticolas, negrofinches, olivebacks, pytilias, green-backed twinspot, crimson-wings, seedcrackers, bluebills, firefinches, waxbills, amandavas, quailfinches, munias, weavers, tit-hylia, Amadina, Anthoscopus, Mirafra, Hypargos, Eremomela, Euschistospiza, Erythrocercus, Malimbus, Pitta, Uraeginthus, pied crow, white-necked raven, thick-billed raven, Cape crow, and others). The red-billed quelea is probably the amplest bird species on the earth.

Of the 589 species of birds (excluding seabirds) that breed within the Palaearctic (temperate Europe and Asia), 40% spend the winter elsewhere. Of these species that depart for the winter, 98% travel south to Africa.

Native African Animals


More than 1100 mammal species live in Africa. Africa has three endemic orders of mammals, the Tubulidentata (aardvarks), Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles), and Macroscelidea (elephant shrews), Native African Animals.

The present mammalian phylogeny acknowledges the clade Afrotheria (typically considered as a superorder), which incorporates the solely African orders, in addition to others believed to be of African origin. The East African plains are well-known for their range of huge mammals.

African Eulipotyphla embraces the subfamilies Myosoricinae and Crocidurinae. Hedgehogs embrace desert hedgehogs, Atelerix, and others. The rodents are represented by African bush squirrels, African ground squirrels, African striped squirrels, gerbils, cane rats, acacia rats, Nesomyidae, springhare, mole rats, dassie rats, striped grass mice, sun squirrels, thicket rats, Old World porcupines, target rats, maned rats, Deomyinae, Aethomys, Arvicanthis, Colomys, Dasymys, Dephomys, Epixerus, Grammomys, Graphiurus, Hybomys, Hylomyscus, Malacomys, Mastomys, Mus, Mylomys, Myomyscus, Oenomys, Otomys, Parotomys, Pelomys, Praomys, Rhabdomys, Stenocephalemys, and many other Native African Animals.

African rabbits and hares embrace riverine rabbit, Bunyoro rabbit, Cape hare, scrub hare, Ethiopian highland hare, African savanna hare, Abyssinian hare, and a number of other species of Pronolagus.

Among the marine mammals, there are a number of species of dolphins, 2 species of sirenians, and seals (e.g. Cape fur seals). Of the carnivorans, there are 60 species, together with the conspicuous hyenas, lions, leopards, cheetahs, serval, and African wild dog in addition to the much less outstanding and understudied Side-striped jackal, striped polecat, African striped weasel, caracal, honey badger, speckle-throated otter, a number of mongooses, foxes, and civets. The family Eupleridae is restricted to Madagascar.

The African checklist of ungulates is longer than in some other continents. The largest variety of modern bovids is present in Africa (African buffalo, duikers, impala, rhebok, Reduncinae, oryx, dik-dik, klipspringer, oribi, gerenuk, true gazelles, hartebeest, wildebeest, dibatag, eland, Tragelaphus, Hippotragus, Neotragus, Raphicerus, Damaliscus). Other even-toed ungulates embrace giraffes, hippopotamuses, warthogs, large forest hogs, red river hogs, and bushpigs.

Odd-toed ungulates are represented by three species of zebras, African wild ass, black and white rhinoceros. The largest African mammal is the African bush elephant, the second largest being its smaller counterpart, the African forest elephant. Four species of pangolins might be present in Native African Animals.


African fauna comprises 64 species of primates. Four species of great apes (Hominidae) are endemic to Africa: each species of gorilla (Western gorilla, Gorilla gorilla, eastern gorilla, Gorilla beringei) and each species of chimpanzee (common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, bonobo, Pan paniscus).

Humans and their ancestors originated in Africa. Other primates embrace colobuses, baboons, geladas, vervet monkeys, guenons, macaques, mandrills, crested mangabeys, white-eyelid mangabeys, kipunji, Allen’s swamp monkeys, Patas monkeys, and talapoins. Lemurs and aye-aye are characteristic of Madagascar.

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