|Adult red lechwes in the Okavango Delta|
|Juvenile red lechwe in the Okavango Delta|
The lechwe (Kobus leche), or southern lechwe, is an antelope found in wetlands of south central Africa.
Lechwe stand 90 to 100 cm (35 to 39 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg (150 to 260 lb). They are golden brown with white bellies. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long, spiral-structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil.
Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants. They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water-repellant substance which allows them to run quite fast in knee-deep water. Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals. Herds are usually all of one sex, but during mating season they mix.
- Red lechwe (Kobus leche leche) (Gray, 1850) - Widely distributed in the wetlands of Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.
- Kafue Flats lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) (Haltenorth, 1963) - It is confined within the Kafue Flats (seasonally inundated flood-plain on the Kafue River, Zambia).
- † Roberts' lechwe (Kobus leche robertsi) (Rothschild, 1907) - Formerly found in northeastern Zambia, now extinct. Also called the Kawambwa lechwe.
- Black lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani) (Lydekker, 1900) - Found in the Bangweulu region of Zambia.
In addition the Upemba lechwe (Kobus anselli) is also considered a subspecies by some authorities (as Kobus leche anselli).
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Kobus leche. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 10 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 720. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Groves, C.; Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 190–1. ISBN 1-4214-0093-6.
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