Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 941-950.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018125

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Amphibian species richness patterns in karst regions in Southwest China and its environmental associations

Bo Wang1,4, Yong Huang2, Jiatang Li3, Qiang Dai3, Yuezhao Wang3, Daode Yang1,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Wildlife Conservation, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004
    2 Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, Nanning 530200
    3 Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041
    4 Guangxi Lujin Ecological Technology Company, Nanning 530028
  • Received:2018-04-22 Accepted:2018-07-05 Online:2018-09-20 Published:2019-01-05
  • Contact: Yang Daode
  • About author:# Co-first authors


Patterns in the distribution of species richness have always been a central theme in macroecology. The karst landforms in Southwest China (mainly Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces) are among the largest of the global biodiversity hotspots. In this study, we sought to understand spatial patterns of amphibian species richness and its relationship with environmental factors. We compiled a large dataset of 18,246 records of point location data for 219 amphibian species occurring in China. We retrieved this data from published literature, Herpetology museums of Chengdu Institute of Biology and Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Museum of Nature and the Central South University of Forestry and Technology, and published sources. We used this data to generate the potential distributions of each species using ecological niche modeling. We combined the potential distributions maps of all species into a composite map to describe species richness patterns on the grid cell of 10 km × 10 km, and then conducted multivariate regression and model selection. Our results showed that 12 species were distributed only in karst area, accounting for 5.48% of the total species pool, 104 species were found in non-karst area (47.49% of total species), and 103 species were found in both karst area and non-karst area (47.03% of total species). Based on the raw data of museum collections data and MaxEnt species distribution modeling, we found that amphibian species richness in the study area decreased at higher latitudes. Karst landforms and non-karst landforms differed in their distribution patterns of amphibian species richness (χ2 = 36.47, P < 0.0001), but the model was a poor fit to the data (McFadden’s Rho square = 0.0037). The most significant environmental predictors of species richness were mean annual rainfall (R2 = 0.232, P < 0.001) and precipitation of driest Month (R2 = 0.221, P < 0.001). The results based on model selection showed that underlying mechanisms related to landforms and different ecological hypotheses might simultaneously explain patterns of amphibian species richness in the study area. Future research should examine other biological factors such as interference, predation, and competition to understand the mechanisms controlling patterns of amphibian species richness.

Key words: biogeography, amphibia, species diversity, karst landforms, MaxEnt model