Wildebeest can be found in the plains and acacia savannas of Eastern Africa.
The wildebeest (also called a gnu) is a member of the antelope family. It has a large, box-like head with curving horns. The front end of the body is heavily built, while the hindquarters are slender with spindly legs. They have a gray coat and a black mane as well as a beard that can be black or white. There are several races of wildebeest. The species forming the large herds of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Kenya and Tanzania is known as the western white-bearded wildebeest, while the eastern white-bearded races inhabits Kenya and Tanzania east of the Gregory Rift. The brindled, or blue, race occurs south of the Zambezi River
Behavior & Diet
Wildebeest are continually on the move, as they seek favorable supplies of grass and water. The famous Serengeti population of wildebeest is a very large nomadic group. This group makes a migratory circle of 500 to 1,000 miles each year, beginning right after the calving season at the start of the year. They are relentless in their advance and many are injured, lost (especially calves), or killed. By the end of the dry season, the wildebeest have almost exhausted the grazing lands and return to the Serengeti plains as the rains begin.
Wildebeest bulls have a wide array of loud vocalizations, from moans to explosive snorts.
About 80% of the females calve within the same two- to three-week period, creating a glut for predators and enabling more calves to survive the crucial first few weeks.
The wildebeest’s habitat is threatened by fragmentation, which is caused when land is fenced off, bisected by a highway, such as the proposed Serengeti Highway—a plan opposed by African Wildlife Foundation—or divided by some other method.
Our solutions to ensuring the wildebeest continues to thrive:
AWF works with government entities to help plan and propose alternative solutions to habitat fragmentation. In the case of the Serengeti Highway, AWF provides its scientists and researchers as resources to assist in proper planning to ensure a balance between modernization and conservation.
We engage communities to help with agricultural planning to provide tools and techniques for sustainable agricultural growth. By providing these resources, AWF is able to minimize impact on local wildlife while helping to maximize food security and income for people.
Will you show the wildebeest your support?
With your help, AWF can continue working on critical initiatives like providing agricultural training to communities and working with governments to prevent habitat fragmentation. Donate for a cause that will help with wildlife conservation and ensure the wildebeest does not become an endangered species.
The name "uropygid" means "tail rump", from Greek οὐροπύγιον (ouropugion), from οὐρά (oura) "tail" and πυγή (puge) "rump" referring to the whip-like flagellum on the end of the pygidium, a small plate made up of the last three segments of the abdominal exoskeleton.
Whip scorpions range from 25 to 85 mm (1.0 to 3.3 in) in length, with most species having a body no longer than 30 mm (1.2 in); the largest species, of the genus Mastigoproctus, reaching 85 mm (3.3 in). Because of their legs, claws, and "whip", though, they can appear much larger.
Like the related orders Schizomida, Amblypygi, and Solifugae, the vinegaroons use only six legs for walking, with the first two legs serving as antennae-like sensory organs. All species also have very large scorpion-like pedipalps (pincers) but there is an additional large spine on each palpal tibia. They have one pair of eyes at the front of the cephalothorax and three on each side of the head, a pattern also found in scorpions. Vinegaroons have no venom glands, but they have glands near the rear of their abdomen that can spray a combination of acetic acidand caprylic acid when they are bothered. The acetic acid gives this spray a vinegar-like smell, giving rise to the common name vinegaroon.
Vinegaroons are carnivorous, nocturnal hunters feeding mostly on insects, millipedes, scorpions, and terrestrial isopods but sometimes on worms and slugs. Mastigoproctus sometimes preys on small vertebrates. The prey is crushed between special teeth on the inside of the trochanters (the second segment of the "legs") of the front appendages. They are valuable in controlling the population of cockroaches and crickets.
Males secrete a spermatophore, which is transferred to the female. After a few months the female will dig a large burrow and seal herself inside. Up to 40 eggs are extruded, within a membranous broodsac that preserves moisture and remains attached to the genital operculum and the fifth segment of the mother's ventral opisthosoma. The female refuses to eat and holds her opisthosoma in an upward arch so the broodsac does not touch the ground for the next few months as the eggs develop into postembryos. Appendages become visible The white young that hatch from the postembryos, climb onto their mother's back and attach themselves there with special suckers. After the first molt, they look like miniature adults but with bright red palps, and leave the burrow. The mother may live up to two more years. The young grow slowly, going through four molts in about four years before reaching adulthood. They live for up to another four years.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Nocturnal and arboreal. The male courts the female with trembling movements of his extra long legs, guiding her to a sperm packet he has deposited. She inserts it into her reproductive opening. Six to sixty eggs are kept in a membranous sac underneath her abdomen until they hatch. Young are carried on their mother's back until their second molt, after which they scatter. Life span is 2 to 3 years.
This amblypygid uses its front whip-like legs as sensory organs to aid in hunting and orientation; it walks sideways with these front legs leading the way. The pedipalps (leg-like mouthparts) are used to capture and hold insect prey as it is torn apart by the chelicerae(fangs).
When Professor Moody used one of these to practice his "Unforgivable Curses" in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it was suggested even one bite could kill. That makes a good story but this "scorpion" has no venom and is harmless to humans. They can pinch in defense however.
Myrmecoleon is an animal from Medieval bestiaries, also referenced in some sources as a Formicaleon (Antlion), Formicaleun or Mirmicioleon.
There are two interpretations of what a Myrmecoleon is. In one version, the ant-lion is so called because it is the "lion of ants", a large ant or small animal that hides in the dust and kills ants. In the other version, it is a beast that is the result of a mating between a lion and an ant. It has the face of a lion and the body of an ant, with each part having its appropriate nature. Because the lion part will only eat meat and the ant part can only digest grain, the ant-lion starves.
The ant-lion story may come from a mistranslation of a word in the Septuagintversion of the Old Testament, from the book of Job. The word in Hebrew is laiisch(ליש), an uncommon word for lion, which in other translations of Job is rendered as either lion or tiger; in the Septuagint it is translated as mermecolion, ant-lion.
The adults can be seen from April until September. Both adults and larvae are fearsome predators of other invertebrates. The larvae dig pits, typically on pathways, in order to create a pitfall trap.
This beetle is widespread and common in many parts of Britain. It has a wide Eurasian range, and is found from Europe across Siberia to the Pacific Ocean
This tiger beetle is always found in sunny sites. It occurs in areas with bare ground and little vegetation such as sandy heaths and hillsides, and raised bogs. It is associated with well-draining soils.
This species is not threatened.
Conservation action is not required for this species
For more on invertebrates and their conservation see Buglife, the invertebrate conservation trust: