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Elevational patterns of frog species richness and endemic richness in the Hengduan Mountains, China: geometric constraints, area and climate effects


  • Cuizhang Fu,

  • Xia Hua,

  • Jun Li,

  • Zheng Chang,

  • Zhichao Pu,

  • Jiakuan Chen

C. Fu (, X. Hua, J. Li, Z. Chang, Z. Pu and J. Chen, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, and Inst. of Biodiversity Science, Fudan Univ., Shanghai 200433, China.


We studied frog biodiversity along an elevational gradient in the Hengduan Mountains, China. Endemic and non-endemic elevational diversity patterns were examined individually. Competing hypotheses were also tested for these patterns. Species richness of total frogs, endemics and non-endemics peaked at mid-elevations. The peak in endemic species richness was at higher elevations than the maxima of total species richness. Endemic species richness followed the mid-domain model predictions, and showed a nonlinear relationship with temperature. Water and energy were the most important variables in explaining elevational patterns of non-endemic species richness. A suite of interacting climatic and geometric factors best explained total species richness patterns along the elevational gradient. We suggest that the mid-domain effect was an important factor to explain elevational richness patterns, especially in regions with high endemism.