Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 588-597.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015348

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Assessing the threat status of amphibians in China

Jianping Jiang1,*(), Feng Xie1, Chunxin Zang2, Lei Cai3, Cheng Li1, Bin Wang1, Jiatang Li1, Jie Wang1, Junhua Hu1, Yan Wang1, Jiongyu Liu1   

  1. 1 Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041
    2 Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    3 Department of Nature and Ecological Conservation, Ministry of Environmental Protection, P. R. China, Beijing 100035
  • Received:2015-12-10 Accepted:2016-05-07 Online:2016-05-20 Published:2018-08-09
  • Contact: Jiang Jianping


In order to clarify the threat status of Chinese amphibians and the conditions threatening these species, we compiled a red list of amphibians in China based on the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (Version 3.1), and Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels (Version 4.0). This red list, which includes details on population and habitat status, rates of population decline, and projected population trends, will facilitate development of protective management agreements for Chinese administrative departments, the Chinese public, and international organizations. We evaluated 408 amphibian species and discovered that 43.1% of the evaluated species, i.e., 176 species, were threatened, which exceeds the net percentage of threatened amphibian species throughout the entire world. One species was classified as “Extinct” and another species was classified as “Regionally Extinct”. There are 272 amphibian species endemic to China, and 48.9% of them were threatened. The tailed amphibian order (Urodela) possessed the highest ratios of threatened species, followed by the tailless amphibian order (Anura). The families with the highest percentages of threatened species were Cryptobranchidae (100% threatened), Hynobiidae (86.7% threatened), and Dicroglossidae (78.1% threatened). In eleven provinces, more than 30% of the local amphibian species were classified as threatened species, with the provinces Sichuan (40.8%), Guangxi (39.2%), and Yunnan (37.0%) having the highest percentage of threatened amphibians. Most of China’s amphibians are distributed in southwestern and southern China and below 2,000 m altitude. Habitat degeneration and loss, human capture, and pollution were the three leading threats to amphibians in China. In order to restore endangered amphibian populations and conserve amphibian diversity in China, more population surveys and monitoring projects as well as scientific research on Chinese amphibians are necessary.

Key words: Red list, Extinct, Regionally Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, threat factor, amphibia, China