Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (2): 21520.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021520

• Data Paper • Previous Articles    

A dataset on the morphological, life-history and ecological traits of the mammals in China

Chenchen Ding1,2, Dongni Liang2,3, Wenpei Xin2,4, Chunwang Li2,3, Eric I. Ameca1,*(), Zhigang Jiang2,3,*()   

  1. 1 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
    2 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4 College of Life Sciences, Hebei University, Baoding, Hebei 071002
  • Received:2021-12-13 Accepted:2022-01-29 Online:2022-02-20 Published:2022-02-28
  • Contact: Eric I. Ameca,Zhigang Jiang


Species traits reflect the species’ ecological function and fitness. The trait data play a vital role in studying biodiversity maintenance and loss, species evolution and adaptation, ecological interactions and processes, ecosystem functions, and species responses to both climate change and human pressures. China is one of the countries with the richest mammal diversity in the world, so far, there is no comprehensive resource of morphological, life history, ecological and geographical distribution data of the mammals in China. We compiled 24 traits data of 754 Chinese mammals (including recently regional extinct species and those species with disputed taxonomy and distribution) between 2008 and 2021 through systematic literature review and dataset integration, referred to mammalian monographs and field guides. The main sources used in completing the dataset were: the life history traits were retrieved from A Field Guide to the Mammals of China (Pan et al, 2007), A Guide to the Mammals of China (Smith & Xie, 2009), and trait database (COMBINE: COalesced Mammal dataBase of INtrinsic and Extrinsic traits, Soria et al, 2021), and the zoogeographical regionalization and distribution type were searched in China Animal Geography (Zhang, 2011), and species distribution in provinces and threatened category were cited from China’s Red List of Biodiversity: Vertebrates, Volume I, Mammals (Jiang et al, 2021) and Handbook of Mammals of China (Liu et al, 2019, 2020). In addition, Handbook of the Mammals of the World (Wilson & Mittermeier, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019; Wilson et al, 2016, 2017), Mammal Diversity Database (American Society of Mammalogists, ASM, 2021) and COMBINE database (Soria et al, 2021) were taken as supplementary data source. Further, peer-reviewed scientific publications from 1990 to 2021 were searched in CNKI, Google Scholar to supplementary traits data. Our dataset included body weight, brain size, head body length, tail length, forearm length (Chiroptera), hind foot length, ear length, sexual maturity time, gestation length, litter size, litters per year, generation length, diet, activity pattern, habitat type, habitat breadth, realm, biome, endemic species, elevational range, distribution type, zoogeographical regionalization, geographical distribution. Among these twenty-four traits, the data integrity ranged from 30% to 100%. The traits data were incomplete to some extent due to lack of research while the information about endemic species, geographical distribution in province of China’s mammals are completed. The dataset is the latest and most complete database on the traits of China’s mammals, which lays the foundation for future researches in mammalogy and biodiversity study and promote information sharing and in-depth mining of mammal diversity in China.

Key words: mammals, morphological traits, life-history traits, breeding traits, ecological traits, biogeographic distribution, biodiversity informatics