Junhua HU,Cheng LI,Feng XIE and Jianping JIANG.Endemic Amphibians and Their Distribution in China[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2012,3(2):163-171.[doi:10.3724/SP.J.1245.2012.00163]
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Endemic Amphibians and Their Distribution in China
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Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2012 VoI.3 No.2
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Original Article
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Endemic Amphibians and Their Distribution in China
Junhua HU Cheng LI Feng XIE and Jianping JIANG*
Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China
amphibian diversity conservation distribution pattern elevational gradient endemic species
Amphibians are good indicators of ecosystem health. Updating the information of endemic species in time and understanding their spatial distributions are necessary for the development of integrative conservation strategies and the elucidation of geographic patterns of amphibians. We analyzed the diversity and distributions of the endemic amphibians in China based on a database of specimen records, recently published literature, and field surveys. Two hundred and sixty two endemic species of amphibians, belonging to 59 genera in 12 families and two orders, are recognized. They account for 67% of the total number of amphibian species in China, with the family Megophryidae possessing the largest number of endemics. There are also 17 genera endemic to China. Across provinces, the species richness of endemics shows five levels with a hierarchical diversification. Sichuan has the largest number of endemics, while Heilongjiang and Jilin have no endemic species. Alternatively, whether on the level of endemic genus or species, the highest diversity occurs in the Western Mountains and Plateau Subregion. The distribution ranges of most endemic species cover ≤ 4 provinces or zoogeographic subregions. Additionally, the species richness of endemics along an elevational gradient shows a bell-shaped pattern with the peak around 800 m. Most endemic species are distributed in areas of low to mid elevation (c. 700–1 500 m), while 36 species are distributed up to 3 000 m. Endemic species richness decreases with increasing of elevation range. Species at mid elevations display large range sizes, while species at lower and higher elevations exhibit smaller ranges. Our results are to be beneficial for further exploration of the underlying mechanisms of distributional patterns of amphibians in China. This study highlights a need to promote conservation programs for Chinese endemic amphibians due to their narrow distribution ranges and potential threats.


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