Zebras are members of the horse family native to central and southern Africa. All have vividly contrasting black and white vertical stripes (hence the zebra crossing named after it) on the forequarters, often tending towards the horizontal at the rear of the animal. more...
Originally, most zoologists assumed that the stripes acted as a camouflage mechanism, while others believed them to play a role in social interactions, with slight variations of the pattern allowing the animals to distinguish between individuals. A more recent theory, supported by experiment, posits that the disruptive coloration is an effective means of confusing the visual system of the blood-sucking tsetse fly.
There are three species and many subspecies. Zebra populations vary a great deal, and the relationships between and the taxonomic status of several of the subspecies are unclear.
The Plains Zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchelli) is the most common, and has or had about five subspecies distributed across much of southern and eastern Africa. It, or particular subspecies of it, have also been known as the Common Zebra, the Dauw, Burchell's Zebra (actually the extinct subspecies, Equus quagga burchelli), and the Quagga (another extinct subspecies, Equus quagga quagga).
The Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra) of southwest Africa tends to have a sleek coat with a white belly and narrower stripes than the Plains Zebra. It has two subspecies and is classified as endangered.
Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi) is the largest type, with an erect mane, and a long, narrow head making it appear rather mule-like. It is a creature of the semi-arid grasslands of Ethiopia, Somalia, and northern Kenya. It is endangered too.
- Family Equidae
- Przewalski's Horse, Equus przewalskii
- Domestic Horse, Equus caballus
- Donkey or African Ass, Equus asinus
- Onager or Asiatic Ass, Equus hemionus
- Plains Zebra, Equus quagga
- Quagga, Equus quagga quagga (extinct)
- Burchell's Zebra, Equus quagga burchelli (rediscovered)
- Grant's Zebra, Equus quagga boehmi
- Chapman's Zebra, Equus quagga antiquorum
- Selous' Zebra, Equus quagga selousi
- Mountain Zebra, Equus zebra
- Cape Mountain Zebra, Equus zebra zebra
- Hartmann's Zebra, Equus zebra hartmanni
- Grevy's Zebra, Equus grevyi
Zebras are sometimes cross-bred with other members of the horse family, resulting in various types of zebroids. A horse cross-bred with a zebra results in a zorse, while a donkey-zebra mix is called a zeedonk.
Read more at Wikipedia.org