• Areas of endemism;
  • Domain;
  • endemic taxa;
  • GIS;
  • known distribution;
  • potential distribution;
  • PAE

Abstract. The distribution of plant taxa endemic to the Yucatán Peninsula was studied using Parsimony Analysis of Endemicity (PAE). The known distribution of 162 endemic plant taxa was plotted and the DOMAIN method together with environmental data were used to model the potential distribution for each taxon. The Peninsula was divided into a grid of quarter-degree cells for the purpose of identifying distribution patterns. A total of 294 cells were analysed using known collection records and potential distribution of endemic taxa data. Two data matrices were constructed, a matrix of known distribution and a matrix of both the known and potential distribution. The two matrices were included in the PAE to identify areas of endemism. The areas determined with the known distribution were restricted and almost half of them remained unresolved, whereas with the potential distribution, approximately 90% of the cells were assigned to any one of the endemicity areas. Four endemism areas were identified: the Yucatán dry zone, Yucatán, El Petén and Belize. The areas of Yucatán and El Petén could be explained by current and Pleistocene climatic conditions and their congruence with other biological groups. Analysis of the potential distribution identified areas with patterns that share current environmental characteristics and a palaeoclimate history. Potential distribution modelling can eliminate uncertainties in biogeographical analysis caused by lack of data distribution and sample variation and produce information about the relationships between areas and taxa as well as the environmental affinities of taxa.