impala, species of antelope, Aepyceros melampus, closely related to the gazelle and found in the savannah and bush country of E and S Africa. It is the antelope most commonly depicted in illustrations and in motion pictures. It is about 3 ft (90 cm) high at the shoulder, with a coat of rich, reddish brown, shading to whitish on the underparts. The horns, borne only by the male, are long and curved in the shape of a lyre. Impalas are the most powerful jumpers of all antelopes; they can leap 10 ft (3 m) into the air and travel 30 ft (9 m) in a single bound. Impalas live in herds, sometimes numbering several hundred individuals; they feed on grasses and shrubs and always stay fairly near water. They are often found in association with herds of other animals, such as zebras and gnus. Impalas are still fairly numerous over most of their range. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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