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Table of Content
    Volume 14 Issue 5
    20 September 2006

    Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata) is an endangered species of China, living in the grassland and desert, higher than 2,500 m, of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and countries around it. IUCN has not worked out conservation strategies for this species since very little is known about its ecology. This picture shows a Tibetan fox enjoying sun bath, photographed by Kejia Zhang and Zhenghuan Wang in May, 2006. For details see pages 382–391 of this issue.

    Diet composition of post-metamorphic bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) in the Zhoushan Archipelago, Zhejiang Province
    Yanping Wang, Yihua Wang, Ping Lu, Fang Zhang, Yiming Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  363-371.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060084
    Abstract ( 4071 )   PDF (350KB) ( 3591 )   Save
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    Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are listed as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world. They are generalist predators and thus may affect native species through predation. However, in previous diet studies, the food contents of bullfrogs were mostly examined at a single site. From June 30 to August 11 in 2005, we examined the diet composition of post-metamorphic bullfrogs on eight islands (Daishan, Liuheng, Xiushan, Fodu, Taohua, Xiashi, Cezi, and Putuoshan) in the Zhoushan Archipelago, Zhejiang Province, with the stomach flushing method. A total of 391 bullfrogs were measured during the study period, including 113 adults and 278 juveniles. Analyses of stomach contents showed that, for adult bullfrogs, the most important prey items (by diet volume) overall were Decapoda, Coleoptera, Odonata, Mesogastropoda, Raniformes, and Cypriniformes; while for juvenile bullfrogs, they were Decapoda, Coleoptera, Cypriniformes, Odonata, Or-thoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera larvae, Mesogastropoda, and Raniformes. Moreover, prey size and diet volume increased with the body size of both adult and juvenile bullfrogs. The diet composition of primary preys of bullfrogs was significantly different among different islands. The results indicate that bullfrogs exert different predatory influences on native fauna at different sites, and that bullfrogs are generalist predators with extensive ecological impacts on native fauna.
    Habitat use of urban tree sparrows in the process of urbanization: Beijing as a case study
    Shuping Zhang, Guangmei Zheng, Jiliang Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  372-381.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060013
    Abstract ( 5061 )   PDF (318KB) ( 4023 )   Save
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    The tree sparrow (Passer montanus) is a dominant species of urban bird communities. With the development of urbanization, the habitats and food resources of tree sparrows are likely to decrease. Can the urban tree sparrow adapt to changes in the urban environment? To answer this question, we studied the habitat use of tree sparrows in eight types of urban areas in Beijing. The results showed that the number of both breeding and wintering tree sparrows decreases with increasing urbanization. The habitat use of tree sparrows, analyzed by discriminant analysis, was positively correlated with the number of brick bungalows, coniferous and broad-leaved trees, and air conditioners, whereas it was negatively correlated with the area of high buildings and hardened roads, and people and automobile flux. This indicates that the tree sparrow is not adaptable to rapid urbanization, although in general it is an adaptable species. Urban planning should take into consideration birds such as tree sparrows.
    The validity of using a resource selection functions model to predict den habitat of the Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata)
    Zhenghuan Wang, Xiaoming Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  382-391.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060001
    Abstract ( 5300 )   PDF (371KB) ( 3302 )   Save
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    Resource selection functions (RSFs) are widely used approach of mathematical modelling for the analysis of presence-absence data to deduce wildlife-habitat relationships. However, the generation of RSFs may be hampered by a wild animal’s population size and density. Consequently, the prediction accuracy of RSFs for low density species is disputed. We examined the validity of RSFs in a study of the Tibetan fox (Vulpes fer-rilata), a low density species, in Shiqu County, Western Sichuan Province, China. Our RSFs model was con-structed based on V. ferrilata habitat data collected from 2001 to 2003. Six environmental variables were considered with reference to V. ferrilata den habitat: water distance, vegetation type, pika (Ochotona sp.) den quantity, den location on slope, gradient, and aspect. In order to examine the validity of our RSFs model, we used a principal components analysis (PCA) to re-analyze our data. The total accuracy of our RSFs was determined to be 75.2%. The AIC value was 309.172. A ROC curve revealed, when the sensitivity was 0.857, the specificity of our RSF model was 0.353. The Nagelkerke R2 was 0.485. Only three variables were judged as important by our RSFs: aspect, position on the slope and vegetation type, of which aspect was the most informative variable of the three. However, partial correlation coefficients of the three variables were very low. These results revealed that the RSFs model to predict den habitat for V. ferrilata did not fit well. Considering the result of PCA, the importance ranks were (in order of decreasing importance): pika den quantity, water distance, gradient, position on the slope, vegetation type, and aspect. We offer ex-planations as to why, for this species, a RSFs model may not be generated accurately and why the results of the two analyses were so different. We suggest other analytic methods that may be combined to yield a more comprehensive result for wild animal species with low population sizes and densities.
    Species diversity of aphids in Hong Kong
    Liyun Jiang, Gexia Qiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  392-399.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060035
    Abstract ( 4001 )   PDF (286KB) ( 3546 )   Save
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    As a large group of Hemiptera, aphids are distributed worldwide, and most of them are pests. In China, aphid fauna of many areas, such as northwestern China, have been systemically studied. Hong Kong is an exception. Based on literature and specimens from the British Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, we studied the species diversity of aphids in Hong Kong. The results showed that 70 species, 44 genera and 7 families of aphids are found in Hong Kong, accounting for 6.83%, 16.60%, and 53.85% of known aphid species, genera and families in China, respectively. There are six endemic species in Hong Kong. Hong Kong belongs to the Oriental faunal region, and Hong Kong’s aphid species mainly consist of Oriental, Palaearctic-Oriental, and Australian-Oriental components. The host plants of aphids include 58 genera in 30 families, among which Gramineae, Moraceae, and Lauraceae have the highest aphid diversity. Of the aphids, Aphididae has the most host plants, while Hormaphididae and Drepanosiphidae rank second and the third respectively. In general, although Hong Kong covers a small area of China, its diverse landforms, suitable climate and abundant vegetation provide many niches for aphids, which results in the rich diversity of aphids.
    Effects of the invasive plant Spartina alterniflora on insect diversity in Jiuduansha wetlands in the Yangtze River Estuary
    Hui Gao, Xiaowei Peng, Bo Li, Qianhong Wu, Huiqin Dong
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  400-409.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060090
    Abstract ( 4265 )   PDF (571KB) ( 4055 )   Save
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    In order to examine the effects of the invasive plant Spartina alterniflora on insect diversity in Jiuduansha wetlands in the Yangtze River Estuary, we surveyed insects in monoculture stands of three species by net-sweeping and plant-harvesting methods from May 2004 to October 2005. A total of 11,300 insects were collected, belonging to 12 orders, 69 families and 97 species. We found that species number and Shan-non-Wiener index of the insect community in Spartina alterniflora monoculture were significantly lower than those in the two native monocultures (Phragmites australis and Scirpus mariqueter). However, Simp-son’s dominance index was higher in Spartina alterniflora monoculture. Cluster analysis indicated that, for both survey methods, the similarity of insect communities between Phragmites australis and Scirpus mari-queter was higher than that between Spartina alterniflora and the two native communities. We conclude that invasions of Spartina alterniflora might lead to reduction of insect diversity and alteration of insect commu-nity structure in Jiuduansha wetlands.
    Genetic diversity of Litsea szemaois, an endangered species endemic to China, detected by inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR)
    Junqiu Chen, Xiuqin Ci, Qiaoming Li, Jie Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  410-420.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060104
    Abstract ( 4562 )   PDF (928KB) ( 3575 )   Save
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    Litsea szemaois is a critically endangered species endemic to southern Yunnan,China. We assessed the genetic variability within and among eight extant populations of this species using ISSR PCR (10 primers). We expected a low genetic diversity level, but our results revealed an extraordinarily high level of specific genetic diversity (at species level: percentage of polymorphic loci PPB=87.01%, effective number of alleles Ne=1.4006, Nei’s (1973) gene diversity H=0.2466, and Shannon’s Information index Hsp=0.3826; at population level: PPB=37.99%, Ne=1.2500, Nei’s (1973) gene diversity H=0.1418, and Shannon’s Informa-tion index Hpop=0.2088. The diferences among populations in levels of genetic diversity were very obvious, with the highest level (PPB=72.73%) in Mandian population and the lowest level (PPB=18.18%) in Jinghong population. A low level of genetic differentiation among populations was detected based on Nei’s genetic di-versity analysis (37%), Shannon’s diversity index (45%), and AMOVA (27.01%). This may result from out-breeding. Pairwise genetic identity (I) values among populations ranged from 0.8233 to 0.9761. There was no correlation between genetic and geographic distance among the populations studied. The influence of human activity and forest fragmentation may play a prominent role in creating this species’s current endan-gered status.
    Spatial genetic structure in natural populations of two closely related Ac-tinidia species (Actinidiaceae) as revealed by SSR analysis
    Yaling Liu, Zuozhou Li, Pengfei Zhang, Zhengwang Jiang, Hongwen Huang
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  421-434.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060056
    Abstract ( 3934 )   PDF (675KB) ( 4707 )   Save
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    The spatial structure of genetic variation is an important part of evolutionary and ecological genetic processes in natural populations of plants, and may provide deep insights into the conservation of species. In this paper, the spatial distribution patterns of genetic variation of two closely related sympatric species, Actinidia chinensis and A. deliciosa, were investigated using SSR markers. A total of 104 alleles was scored by nine pairs of SSR primers in two natural populations, and the alleles with frequency ranging from 20% to 80% were chosen and then used to calculate Moran’s I spatial autocorrelation coefficients for the two individual species or the species complex (A. chinensis/A. deliciosa) based on equal numbers of paired samples. Over half of the alleles were found to have a random distribution pattern within populations, while a large proportion of alleles occurred as cline, depression, double depression or intrusion patterns (29.6–48.0% within populations of each individual species, 51.0–44.7% for the two species complex, in Xixia of Henan and Shangnan of Shaanxi populations, respectively). This suggests that a moderate spatial structure of genetic variation occurred within the natural populations of the two species. Moreover, a similar spatial distribution pattern of genetic variation was found within the two populations of each individual species and in the species complex at the two sampled loca-tions. The results showed that allelic variation for individual plants within 100 m (and especially within 30 m) distance had significant positive correlation, but changed into a negative correlation with increasing distance, which may imply that the distances for pollen dispersal is about 100 m, and seed dispersal might be restricted to within 30 m. The different spatial structures of genetic variation of Actinidia natural populations were influ-enced by a combination of the biological characteristic of pollination, seed dispersal, and natural habitat. The restricted seed and pollen dispersal, and intervention of human activities were the main factors influencing the spatial pattern. The results should be of importance for further understanding of population genetic structure, population spreading and phylogeography in Actinidia, and provide baseline data for the conservation and management of these species, especially for sampling strategies for ex situ conservation.
    Characteristics of the evergreen broad-leaved forest in Shiping Forest Park, Three Gorges Reservoir Area
    Jiangshan Lai, Mi Zhang, Zongqiang Xie
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  435-443.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060008
    Abstract ( 4415 )   PDF (355KB) ( 3744 )   Save
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    The portion of the Yangtze River valley between Chongqing and Yichang is known as the Three Gorges Reservoir Area (TGRA). The total area of TGRA is approximately 54,000 km2. Located in the central sub-tropical zone in China, TGRA has a humid subtropical monsoon climate. Originally, the flora in this area was subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests dominated by Castanopsis, Cyclobalanopsis, Quercus, Phoebe and Cinnamomum. However, as a result of long-term human activity, such as widespread agriculture, the forest vegetation below 1,000 m a.s.l. has been almost completely destroyed, and the current land cover is dominated by secondary masson pine (Pinus massoniana) forest, cypress (Cupressus funebris) forest, and crop lands. The evergreen broad-leaved forest in Shiping Forest Park (SFP, 29º47′40″N,107 º37′40″E) is the remaining evergreen broad-leaved forest typical of TGRA. Although the forest in SFP is not completely ma-ture or in a steady state, it is a valuable gene bank of native plant species. For the conservation of these for-ests, a good understanding of their biodiversity is needed. We established an 1.0 hm2 permanent plot in SFP, and then divided it into 100 subplots. In the plot, 195 species of vascular plants were recorded, belonging to 142 genera and 73 families. Of these, 12 families, 16 genera and 18 species are pteridophytes; 2 families, 2 genera and 2 species are gymnosperms, and 59 families, 123 genera and 174 species are angiosperms. Among the angiosperms, dicotyledon has 49 families, 104 genera and 152 species, and monocotyledon has 10 families, 20 genera and 23 species. The families, ranked by the number of species, are Caprifoliaceae (10), Lauraceae (8), Myrsinaceae (8), Fabaceae (7), Rubiaceae (7), Fagaceae (6), Theaceae (6), Vitaceae (6), Lili-aceae (6), Ericaceae (5), Rosaceae (5), Euphorbiaceae (5), and Gramineae (5). The genera ranked by the number of species are Viburnum (7), Eurya (5), Symplocos (4), and Ardisia (4). In the flora of 61 seed plant families, those of cosmopolitan distribution contribute 34.43%, those of tropical and subtropical distribution contribute 45.90%, and those of temperate distribution contribute 18.03%. In the flora of 126 seed plant gen-era, total tropical distribution elements compose 52.94% of the total, while total temperate distribution ele-ments contribute 45.38%. Thus, the flora of the forest is tropical in nature and has strong temperate affini-ties. According to Raunkiaer′s classification system of life forms, phanerophytes are the most abundant in this community, epiphytes, hemicryptophytes and geocryptophytes come next, while chamaephytes and therophytes are rare. Considering leaf form, 78.35% have simple leaves, while 21.65% have compound leaves. Considering leaf size spectra, microphyllous contributes 48.97%, followed by mesophyllous (41.75%), macrophyllous (6.19%), and nanophyllous (3.09%). In leaf texture spectra, the plants with her-baceous leaves compose 57.22%, while those with leathery leaves compose 30.41%, thick leathery 10.82%, and membranous 1.55%. The plants with entire leaf margins account for 51.03% of the total spe-cies, while those with non-entire leaf margins are 48.97%. As the structure of the stand, from the aerial top to the forest floor, there are three distinct layers, namely tree layer, shrub layer and herb layer. The tree layer can be further subdivided into three recognizable sub-layers: upper, middle and lower tree layers. The upper tree layer is dominated by Castanopsis carlesii, as well as C. fargesii and Liquidamber formosana. Phoebe zhennan, Elaeocarpus decipiens, E. japonicus, Pinus massoniana, Choerospondias axillaris, and Cornus controversa also appear in the upper tree layer. In addition to species appearing in the upper tree layer, Viburnum betulifolium, Camellia oleifera, Cinnamomum wilsonii, Ilex szechwanensis and Turpinia affinis are common in the middle tree layer. Most species of the lower tree layer also appear in the upper two layers, except for a few small trees such as Cornus macrophylla, Viburnum brachybotryum, Pithecel-lobium lucidum, Rhododendron hypoglaucum, Itea chinensis, Pittosporum truncatum, Symplocos stapfi-ana, and S. stellaris.
    Floor lichen diversity under different vegetation types in Two-river Source Nature Reserve in Altay Mountains, Xinjiang
    Anwar Tumur, Abdulla Abbas
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  444-450.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.060027
    Abstract ( 4306 )   PDF (260KB) ( 2947 )   Save
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    Lichens are present in a wide range of habitats throughout the world. Due to their unique biodiversity, we explored the species composition of floor lichens under different vegetation types in Two-river Source Nature Reserve in Altay Mountains, Xinjiang. The sampling sites covered six vegetation types including mountain desert, mountain grassland, mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest, coniferous forest, subalpine meadow, and alpine meadow. The results showed that the lichen flora in this area is rich and complex. A total of 46 floor lichen species belonging to 6 genera of 5 families were recorded. Of these, Cladoniaceae with 32 species is the dominant family. The species similarity index between the mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest and the coniferous forest was the highest of all pairs (0.739), whereas that between the mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest and the alpine meadow belt was the lowest (0.200). Mountain forests, having the maximum species diversity, were the distribution center for lichen diversity and key areas for their conservation in Two-river Source Nature Reserve in Altay Mountains, Xinjiang. We also discuss conservation strategies for lichens.
    Cavefishes: concept, diversity and research progress
    Yahui Zhao, Chunguang Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (5):  451-460.  doi:10.1360/biodiv.050226
    Abstract ( 7942 )   PDF (534KB) ( 5275 )   Save
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    Cavefishes, or hypogean fishes, are a distinctive group of freshwater fishes. Their life histories unseverably bind them to a cave or underground water body. Some of them, termed troglobites, have specific character-istics adapting them to subterranean life. Other hypogean fishes, the troglophiles, do not possess such specialized characteristics. There are 107 typical troglobite fish species known in the world. Of these, Cypriniformes and Siluriformes have the most troglobite fish species, accounting for 49.5% and 24.3% of the total, respectively. At the family level, Cyprinidae and Balitoridae have the richest species diversity of troglobite fishes. Hypogean fishes are predominantly distributed in southeastern Asia, and central and south-ern America, where 75.0% are found. In China, rich species diversity occurs in only a few genera, namely Sinocyclocheilus and Triplophysa, characterized by narrow distributions, intense speciation, and small popu-lation size. Research on cavefish is a cross-disciplinary subject involving systematics, ecology, physiology, and conservation biology. At present, the study mainly focuses on evolution. A brief overview of progress around the globe in cavefish research is given, accompanied by an in-depth analysis of the still far-from-complete contributions of Chinese hypogean ichthyofauna studies to this field.

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