Biogeographical regions of the Iberian peninsula based on freshwater fish and amphibian distributions

Authors

  • J. Mario Vargas,

    1. J. M. Vargas (jmvy@@@@uma.es), R. Real and J. C. Guerrero, Dept of Animal Biology, Fac. of Sciences, Univ. of Málaga, E-29071 Málaga, Spain
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  • Raimundo Real,

    1. J. M. Vargas (jmvy@@@@uma.es), R. Real and J. C. Guerrero, Dept of Animal Biology, Fac. of Sciences, Univ. of Málaga, E-29071 Málaga, Spain
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  • José C. Guerrero

    1. J. M. Vargas (jmvy@@@@uma.es), R. Real and J. C. Guerrero, Dept of Animal Biology, Fac. of Sciences, Univ. of Málaga, E-29071 Málaga, Spain
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Abstract

We classified the main Iberian river basins based on the presence and absence of freshwater fishes and amphibians. For both taxonomic groups we analysed three data sets; 1) endemic species only, to search for biotic boundaries related to historical events, 2) indigenous species, which include endemic ones, to search for biotic boundaries related to ecological factors, 3) indigenous and well-established introduced species, to assess the influence of man in the current biogeographical patterns of fishes and amphibians. We used both phenetic and cladistic methods, followed by a consensus analysis to provide an overall biogeographical pattern. Based on all fish distributions, the Iberian Peninsula is divided into three biogeographical regions: Cantabrian, Atlantic and Mediterranean, No boundary existed between the Cantabrian and Atlantic regions when only indigenous fish species were considered. This suggests that this boundary has been induced by man, probably through the differential introduction of fish species into reservoirs at one or other side of the boundary. Run-off and the size of the river basins are the environmental factors that distinguished the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions. However, regionalization based only on endemic freshwater fishes showed a latitudinal pattern that agrees with the paleogeographic events of the Upper Oligocene-Lower Miocene period. By contrast, one northern and one southern region were distinguished based on all amphibian distributions and on indigenous amphibians only, which suggests that human activity has not significantly affected the overall biogeographical pattern of amphibians in the Iberian Peninsula. Interannual predictability of precipitation best accounts for this regionalization. Based on endemic amphibians, the Iberian Peninsula is divided into three regions that closely resemble the three separate land areas of the Upper Eocene-Lower Oligocene period. The consensus between the biogeographical regions based on fishes and amphibians yields five pairs of basins. Geological origin of the basins seems to better explain the consensus between the biogeographical patterns of fishes and amphibians, whereas ecological factors probably contribute to the differences between them.

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