Biogeographical affinities of the New Caledonian biota: a puzzle with 24 pieces
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Biogeography
Volume 37, Issue 7, pages 1179–1201, July 2010
How to Cite
Heads, M. (2010), Biogeographical affinities of the New Caledonian biota: a puzzle with 24 pieces. Journal of Biogeography, 37: 1179–1201. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02311.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 18 MAY 2010
- New Caledonia;
- New Guinea;
- New Zealand;
- Solomon Islands;
Aim The distributions of many New Caledonian taxa were reviewed in order to ascertain the main biogeographical connections with other areas.
Methods Panbiogeographical analysis.
Results Twenty-four areas of endemism (tracks) involving New Caledonia and different areas of Gondwana, Tethys and the central Pacific were retrieved. Most are supported by taxa of lower and higher plants, and lower and higher animals.
Main conclusions Although parts of New Caledonia were attached to Gondwana for some time in the mid-Cretaceous, most of the New Caledonian terranes formed as oceanic island arcs and sections of sea floor bearing seamounts. The flora and fauna have evolved and survived for tens of millions of years as metapopulations on ephemeral islands. Later, the biotas were juxtaposed and fused during terrane accretion. This process, together with the rifting of Gondwana, explains the biogeographical affinities of New Caledonia with parts of Gondwana, Tethys and the Pacific.