Species differentiation follows on from the habitats section as habitat defines the traits of species, resulting in differences in habits and physiology from area to area.
Area Species Differences | Botswana Wildlife Guide
By Leigh Kemp
Of Deserts and WetlandsThe colour shades of species will vary due to the habitat. Leopard occurring in desert and semi desert will generally have a lighter shade than ones occurring in wooded areas allowing for blending into the environment.
Individuals of the same species show differing habits in dry desert areas than in well-watered areas. Animals of the dry areas such as the Central Kalahari do not drink water but rather get their liquid needs from the food they eat whereas those in area such as the Okavango Delta will drink water every day.
Favoured PreyPredator habits vary across areas of distribution as the prey is different. Lions hunt a variety of prey in most regions they occur but there is usually a favoured species. In areas of South Africa Lions are hesitant to hunt Buffalo, and yet in many other parts of Africa Buffalo is the preferred prey species.
In many areas of their distribution these individuals or groups of these species have adapted to hunting a specific prey - for example a pride of Elephant killing Lions in Northern Botswana has adapted to killing adult Elephant while another pride not fifty km away has adapted to killing Hippos. Both these were predator/prey interactions that had never that had never been recorded until recently.
Climate and Breeding SeasonsAntelope species will have a defined breeding period during the year and in southern Africa this is generally determined by the seasons. The time of birth coincides with the first rains to allow for favourable conditions to prevail.
In some parts of Africa the birthing period may be year round for the same species. This is due to the conditions been favourable - sufficient food and water year round.
Man and Animal MigrationMan has played a huge role in species differentiation by controlling and managing wilderness areas. The Wildebeest are traditionally migratory animals and the Serengeti/Mara migrations continue today as they did centuries ago whereas the Wildebeest of southern Africa, (and in particular Botswana), have adapted to a non-migratory behaviour due to the interference of man.
Whether these animals have always been migratory is unknown but it could be that climatic conditions may have been the cause of the development of migratory behaviour in the past. Unnatural factors are now responsible for the cessation of this behaviour in most parts of Africa.
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