Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 189-218.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019238

• Bioinventories • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China

Wang Kai1,2,*(),Ren Jinlong3,Chen Hongman1,Lyu Zhitong4,Guo Xianguang3,Jiang Ke3,Chen Jinmin1,Li Jiatang3,Guo Peng5,Wang Yingyong4,Che Jing1,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
    2 Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History & Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73072, USA
    3 Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
    4 School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    5 Department of Life Sciences and Food Engineering, Yibin University, Yibin, Sichuan 644000, China
  • Received:2019-07-28 Accepted:2019-12-11 Online:2020-02-20 Published:2020-03-27
  • Contact: Wang Kai,Che Jing


We updated the checklists of extant, native amphibians and reptiles of China based on the previously published checklist of reptiles in 2015, the online checklist of amphibians on the database AmphibiaChina, newly published data as of December 2019, and previously uncollected literature prior to 2015. In total, the amphibian fauna of China consists of 515 species in 62 genera, 13 families, and three orders (Anura: 431 species in 47 genera and nine families; Caudata: 82 species in 14 genera and four families; Gymnophiona: one species in one genus and one family), while the reptilian fauna of China consists of 511 species in 135 genera, 35 families, and three orders (Crocodylia: one species in one genus and one family; Testudines: 34 species in 18 genera and six families; Squamata 466 species in 116 genera and 28 families [Serpentes: 256 species in 73 genera, 18 families; Lacertilia: 211 species in 43 genera and 10 families]). Specifically, for amphibians between 2015 and 2019, one family was recorded from China for the first time, two new genera were described, a genus was resurrected, a genus was recorded from China for the first time, 74 new, valid species were either described or resurrected, 18 recognized species were recorded from China for the first time, and six genera and eight species were considered as junior synonyms. For reptiles between 2015 and 2019, five subfamilies were elevated to the full family status, one new subfamily and a new genus were described, three genera were resurrected, three recognized genera were recorded from China for the first time, 35 new species were described, two species were resurrected from synonyms, six subspecies were elevated to the full species status, 10 recognized species were recorded from China for the first time, four genera and four species were considered as junior synonyms, and distribution records of one genus and four recognized species were removed from China. Furthermore, by reviewing literature before 2015, we make additional changes on the previous reptile checklist, including adding new records of three genera, elevating three subspecies to full species status, adding new records of three recognized species, synonymizing three genera and two species as junior synonyms, and removing the distribution record of a single recognized species from China. Lastly, we revise the Chinese common names of some reptilian groups with recomandations to maintain the stability of the Chinese common names. The number of new species and new national records for amphibians and reptiles between 2015 and 2019 in China accounts for 17.1% and 10.2% of the total number of species in each group, respectively. Because new species are described at considerable speed and given the constant changes in the taxonomy of China’s herpetofuna, it is crucial to update the checklists regularly and discuss the existing taxonomic problems, so that such information reflects the most current state of knowledge and are available for taxonomic researchers and conservation biologists alike.

Key words: amphibians, biodiversity, fauna checklist, reptiles, new species, taxonomy, taxonomic revisions