oa African Entomology - Distribution patterns of Kalahari Desert Acridoidea (Orthoptera: Caelifera)

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



The known acridoid fauna of the Kalahari Desert comprises 160 species of which 11 % are endemic. Compared with South Africa and Lesotho together, the Kalahari is a species-poor region of low endemicity. Most species seem to occur in the northeast, and the lowest number in the central Kalahari. Apart from endemics, various distributional components of the fauna are identified. As expected, there is a Southwest Arid Region component and an element of the tropical Zambezian Region centred northeast of the Kalahari. Another, major component is a group of species whose distributions span the arid-mesic divide in Africa south of Zambia. The Zambezian element, while making a major qualitative contribution to the fauna of the northeastern Kalahari, becomes attenuated towards the southwest. This, together with the paucity and low endemicity of the total fauna and other evidence, supports the view that the Kalahari Desert cannot be regarded as a distinct biogeographical region. However, there may be a group of widespread common species which provide some coherence to the greater part of the Kalahari.

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