• land mammals;
  • Nearctic region;
  • Neotropical region;
  • panbiogeography

The boundary between the Nearctic and Neotropical regions has been delineated using different approaches, methods and taxa. Using a panbiogeographical approach, identification of nodes can help understand the dynamics and evolution of the boundary. We analysed the distribution patterns of 46 Mexican land mammal species belonging to the Nearctic biotic component and delineated generalized tracks and nodes, in order to determine the southernmost boundary of the Nearctic region in Mexico. We found six generalized tracks and nine nodes; the latter located largely in the Sierra Madre Oriental, Transmexican Volcanic Belt, Sierra Madre del Sur and Chiapas biogeographical provinces. The highlands of Chiapas were found to represent the southernmost area inhabited by Nearctic taxa. The other biogeographical provinces, together with the Sierra Madre Occidental and Balsas Basin provinces, represent the Mexican transition zone in the strict sense. Instead of a classic static boundary, this transition zone represents an evolutionarily ‘active’ zone, where several speciation events have taken place in the past. © 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 83, 327–339.