Biodiv Sci ›› 2024, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 23026.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023026

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity •     Next Articles

Species richness patterns of mammals and birds and their drivers in the Nanling Mountain Range

Liyuan Wang1,2, Huijian Hu1, Jie Jiang3, Yiming Hu1,*()()   

  1. 1 Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Institute of Zoology, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510260
    2 School of Ecology, Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518107
    3 Guangdong Forestry Survey and Planning Institute, Guangzhou 510520
  • Received:2023-08-13 Accepted:2023-12-18 Online:2024-01-20 Published:2024-01-17
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Aims: The Nanling Mountains are a prominent mountain range serving as a natural geographical boundary in southern China and are recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. However, past studies on species richness in the Nanling Mountains have primarily focused on specific taxa and at localized scales. This has led to a dearth of research concerning the comprehensive spatial patterns of fauna across the entire Nanling region. The objective of this study is to identify the large-scale patterns and drivers of mammalian and avian species richness and offer insights to support the conservation of Nanling’s biodiversity.

Methods: Using geographical data for 123 mammal species and 524 bird species, we investigated the distribution of species richness within the Nanling Mountains. Additionally, we employed path analysis (PA) and spatial error models to disentangle the impacts of various predictors (climate, productivity, human activity, habitat heterogeneity, and elevation) on species richness.

Results: The hotspot of mammal species richness was in the southwestern part of the Nanling region, with a decline in richness observed from west to east. Avian species richness was highest in the southeast of Nanling, gradually decreasing from southeast to northwest. The path analysis and spatial error models demonstrated that temperature- related factors exerted the most significant influence on the spatial distribution patterns of species richness for both mammalian and avian species. Two temperature-related factors had contrasting effects on species richness. The average annual temperature had a negative impact on mammals but a positive impact on birds; however, the annual range of temperature had a positive impact on mammals but a negative impact on birds.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the contrasting spatial distribution patterns of mammalian and avian species richness in the Nanling Mountains. The differential impact of average annual temperature and the annual range of temperature on birds and mammals may arise from physiological adaptability and behavioral strategies.

Key words: Nanling, mammal, bird, species richness, distribution pattern, impact factor

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