Reptilian fauna and elevational patterns of the reptile species diversity in Altay Prefecture in Xinjiang, China

TAO Xiaqiu 1 CUI Shaopeng 2,3 JIANG Zhigang 2,3 CHU Hongjun 4,5 LI Na 2,3 YANG Daode 1 LI Chunwang 2,3

(1.Wildlife Protection Research Institute, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004)
(2.Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101)
(3.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049)
(4.Altay Management Station of Mt.Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve, Altay, Xinjiang 836500)
(5.College of Resources and Environment Science, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046)

【Abstract】The Altay Prefecture in China, which shares international boundaries with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia, is a special area in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The diverse landform of this area encompasses mountainous terrain, vast plains and desert lands. We conducted three expeditions from 2014 to 2016 to survey the reptiles of the Altay Prefecture. We actively searched for reptiles using spotlighting at night. We collected a total of 392 specimens, which we identified as 16 species belonging to six families of the order Squamata. Combined with the previous literature, the number of reptile species in this area was 23, representing eight families of the order Squamata. All these species belonged to the Palearctic ecozone, including 17 mid-Asia species versus six Palearctic species. From the geographical view, this region is a transitional zone between Euro-Siberian and Central-Asiatic regions. Next, we assessed how reptile species diversity correlated with elevation, which corresponded with changes in environmental factors in this region. We found that the Shannon-Wiener diversity index and Simpson dominance index showed a pattern of low-elevation plateaus with a mid-elevation peak, the Pielou evenness index showed a pattern of increasing, and the richness showed a pattern of decreasing. The peak values of Simpson dominance index and Shannon-Wiener diversity index were observed in Group 2 (500–600 m). The Pielou evenness index peaked for Group 15 (1,800–1,900 m), and richness peaked for Group 10 (1,300–1,400 m). The three environmental variables (elevation, annual mean temperature, and annual precipitation) only weakly explained the observed patterns of diversity, richness and evenness, but their combined explanatory power was stronger. In fact, the combination of elevation and annual mean temperature best explained the observed patterns in diversity, richness and evenness of reptiles in the Altay Prefecture.

【Keywords】 Altay Prefecture; herpetofauna; elevational pattern; species diversity; environmental variables;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Special Foundation for National Science and Technology Basic Research of China (2013FY110300) National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0503304) National Natural Science Foundation of China (31472021)

Download this article

(Translated by XU XY)

    References

    Barrows CW, Hoines J, Vamstad MS, Murphy-Mariscal M, Lalumiere K, Heintz J (2016) Using citizen scientists to assess climate change shifts in desert reptile communities. Biological Conservation, 195, 82–88.

    Brown JH (1971) Mammals on mountaintops: Nonequilibrium insular biogeography. The American Naturalist, 105, 467–478.

    Brown JL, Sillero N, Glaw F, Bora P, Vieites DR, Vences M (2016) Spatial biodiversity patterns of Madagascar’s amphibians and reptiles. PLoS ONE, 11, e0144076.

    Buckley LB, Jetz W (2007) Environmental and historical constraints on global patterns of amphibian richness. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 274, 1167–1173.

    Cai B, Wang YZ, Chen YY, Li JT (2015) A revised taxonomy for Chinese reptiles. Biodiversity Science, 23, 365–382 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Cao MC, Zhou GS, Weng ES (2005) Application and comparison of generalized models and classification and regression tree in simulating tree species distribution. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 25, 2031–2040 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Carpio AJ, Oteros J, Tortosa FS, Guerrero-Casado J (2016) Land use and biodiversity patterns of the herpetofauna: The role of olive groves. Acta Oecologica, 70, 103–111.

    Chettri B, Bhupathy S, Acharya BK (2010) Distribution pattern of reptiles along an eastern Himalayan elevation gradient, India. Acta Oecologica, 36, 16–22.

    Cui SP, Luo X, Chen DQ, Sun JZ, Chu HJ, Li CW, Jiang ZG (2016) The adder (Vipera berus) in Southern Altay Mountains: Population characteristics, distribution, morphology and phylogenetic position. PeerJ, 4, e2342.

    Currie DJ (1991) Energy and large-scale patterns of animal and plant-species richness. The American Naturalist, 137, 27–49.

    Evans KL, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (2005) Species–energy relationships at the macroecological scale: A review of the mechanisms. Biological Reviews, 80, 1–25.

    Forcella F, Harvey SJ (1983) Eurasian weed infestation in western Montana in relation to vegetation and disturbance. Madrono, 30, 102–109.

    Fu C, Hua X, Li J, Chang Z, Pu Z, Chen J (2006) Elevational patterns of frog species richness and endemic richness in the Hengduan Mountains, China: Geometric constraints, area and climate effects. Ecography, 29, 919–927.

    Gu JH, Gao XY (1991) Studies on the Animals in Xinjiang. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese).

    Guo QF, Kelf DA, Sun ZY, Liu HX, Hu LJ, Ren H, Wen J (2013) Global variation in elevational diversity patterns. Scientific Reports, 3, 3007.

    Hawkins BA, Field R, Cornell HV, Currie DJ, Guégan JF, Kaufman DM, Kerr JT, Mittelbach GG, Oberdorff T, O’Brien EM, Porter EE, Turner JRG (2003) Energy, water, and broad-scale geographic patterns of species richness. Ecology, 84, 3105–3117.

    Hu YM, Jin K, Huang ZW, Ding ZF, Liang JC, Pan XY, Hu HJ, Jiang ZG (2017) Elevational patterns of non-volant small mammal species richness in Gyirong Valley, Central Himalaya: Evaluating multiple spatial and environmental drivers. Journal of Biogeography, 44, 2764–2777.

    Huang RX, Xiang LG, Ma J (1986) Study on birds in the Altai of Xinjiang: Feeding habits of birds. Journal of Xinjiang University, 3(4), 79–92 (in Chinese).

    Ji DM, Wen SS (2002) Atlas of Reptiles of China. Henan Science and Technology Press, Zhengzhou (in Chinese).

    Jiang ZG, Jiang JP, Wang YZ, Zhang E, Zhang YY, Li LL, Xie F, Cai B, Cao L, Zheng GM, Dong L, Zhang ZW, Ding P, Luo ZH, Ding CQ, Ma ZJ, Tang SH, Cao WX, Li CW, Hu HJ, Ma Y, Wu Y, Wang YX, Zhou KY, Liu SY, Chen YY, Li JT, Feng ZJ, Wang Y, Wang B, Li C, Song XL, Cai L, Zang CX, Zeng Y, Meng ZB, Fang HX, Ping XG (2016) Red List of China’s Vertebrates. Biodiversity Science, 24, 500–551 (in Chinese and in English)

    Jing XH, Zang RG, Ding Y, Zhang WY, Zhang XP, Bai ZQ, Guo ZJ (2010) Distribution pattern of species diversity along altitudinal gradient in the northern slope of Xiaodonggou in Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 46 (1), 23–28 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Kessler M (2000) Elevational gradients in species richness and endemism of selected plant groups in the central Bolivian Andes. Plant Ecology, 149, 181–193.

    Kiester AR (1971) Species density of North American amphibians and reptiles. Systematic Zoology, 20, 127–137.

    Liu YL (2010) Ecological Environment of Altai: Along Xinjiang Kuytun-Beitun Railway. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese).

    Lomolino MV (2001) Elevation gradients of species–density: Historical and prospective views. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 10, 3–13.

    Luo ZH, Tang SH, Li CW, Fang HX, Hu HJ, Yang J, Ding JJ, Jiang ZG (2012) Environmental effects on vertebrate species richness: Testing the energy, environmental stability and habitat heterogeneity hypotheses. PLoS ONE, 7, e35514.

    Ma Y (1981a) On geographic distribution of the rodents in northern Xinjiang. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 27, 180–188 (in Chinese).

    Ma Y (1981b) On the dividing of the zoogeographical regions of rodents of northern Xinjiang. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 27, 395–402 (in Chinese).

    Ma Y, Wang FG, Jin SK, Li SH (1987) Glires (Rodents and Lagomorphs) of Northern Xinjiang and Their Zoogeographical Distribution. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese).

    McCain CM (2009) Global analysis of bird elevational diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 18, 346–360.

    McCain CM (2010) Global analysis of reptile elevational diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19, 541–553.

    Porter WP, Gates DM (1969) Thermodynamic equilibria of animals with environment. Ecological Monographs, 39, 227–244.

    Qian H (2010) Environment–richness relationships for mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians at global and regional scales. Ecological Research, 25, 629–637.

    Qian H, Wang X, Wang S, Li Y (2007) Environmental determinants of amphibian and reptile species richness in China. Ecography, 30, 471–482.

    Rahbek C (1995) The elevational gradient of species richness: A uniform pattern? Ecography, 18, 200–205.

    Richerson PJ, Lum KL (1980) Patterns of plant species diversity in California: Relation to weather and topography. The American Naturalist, 116, 504–536.

    Schall JJ, Pianka ER (1978) Geographical trends in numbers of species. Science, 201, 679–686.

    Shi L, Liu GS, Li ZH, Yuan H (2006) An record of Coluber spinalis from Altai Mountain. Journal of Xinjiang Agricultural University, 29(1), 55–57 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Shi L, Zhou YH, Yuan H (2002) Reptile fauna and zoogeographic division of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Sichuan Journal of Zoology, 21(3), 152–157 (in Chinese).

    Sinervo B, Mendez-De-La-Cruz F, Miles DB, Heulin B, Bastiaans E, Villagrán-Santa Cruz M, Lara-Resendiz R, Martínez-Méndez N, Calderón-Espinosa ML, Meza-Lázaro RN, Gadsden H, Avila LJ, Morando M, Riva IJDL, Sepulveda PV, Rocha CFD, Ibargüengoytía N, Puntriano CA, Massot M, Lepetz V, Oksanen TA, Chapple DG, Bauer AM, Branch WR, Clobert J, Sites JW (2010) Erosion of lizard diversity by climate change and altered thermal niches. Science, 328, 894–899.

    Storch D, Evans KL, Gaston KJ (2005) The species–area–energy relationship. Ecology Letters, 8, 487–492.

    Vetaas OR, Grytnes JA (2002) Distribution of vascular plant species richness and endemic richness along the Himalayan elevation gradient in Nepal. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 11, 291–301.

    Wang GY, Fan Y, Zhai RX (2005) Distribution and ecology of snakes in Xinjiang. Arid Zone Research, 22, 181–185 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Wang Z, Tang Z, Fang J (2007) Altitudinal patterns of seed plant richness in the Gaoligong Mountains, south-east Tibet, China. Diversity and Distributions, 13, 845–854.

    Wen ZM, He XH, Jiao F, Jiao JY (2008) The predictive distribution of Stipa bungeana in Yanhe River catchment: GAM model and its application. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 28, 192–201 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Whittaker RH (1960) Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California. Ecological Monographs, 30, 279–338.

    Whittaker RH, Niering WA (1965) Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona: A gradient analysis of the south slope. Ecology, 46, 429–452.

    Whittaker RJ, Nogués-Bravo D, Araújo M (2007) Geographical gradients of species richness: A test of the water–energy conjecture of Hawkins et al. (2003) 9 using European data for five taxa. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16, 76–89.

    Wilson JB, Rapson GL, Sykes MT, Watkins AJ, Williams PA (1992) Distributions and climatic correlations of some exotic species along roadsides in South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Biogeography, 19, 183–193.

    Wood SN (2017) Generalized Additive Models: An Introduction with R. CRC, London.

    Wu YJ, Lei FM (2013) Species richness patterns and mechanisms along elevational gradients. Chinese Journal of Zoology, 48, 797–807 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Wu YJ, Yang QS, Wen ZX, Xia L, Zhang Q, Zhou HM (2013) What drives the species richness patterns of non-volant small mammals along a subtropical elevational gradient? Ecography, 36, 185–196.

    Wu YP, Xu H, Li YD, Luo TS, Chen DX, Lin MX (2013) Elevation patterns of tree and shrub species diversity of tropical forests in Jianfengling, Hainan Island. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 49(4), 16–23 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Xiang LG, Huang RX (1986) Study on birds in the Altai of Xinjiang: Distribution of birds. Journal of Xinjiang University, 3(3), 90–106 (in Chinese).

    Xu SK, Xiang LG, Huang RX (1980) A new record of lizards from Sinkiang—Viviparous lizard. Journal of Xinjiang University, (2), 95–96 (in Chinese).

    Zhang JT (2004) Quantitative Ecology. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese).

    Zhang RZ (2011) Zoogeography of China. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese).

    Zhao EM, Adler K (1993) Herpetology of China. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles in cooperation with Chinese Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio.

    Zhao KT (1979) A survey of the classification and distribution of the toad-headed agamids (Phrynocephalus) in China. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Neimongol, 10 (2), 111–121 (in Chinese).

    Zhao KT (1983) Eremias in China. Chinese Journal of Zoology, 18 (2), 2–5 (in Chinese).

    Zhao KT (1997) Toad-headed agamids in China. Chinese Journal of Zoology, 32 (1), 15–18 (in Chinese).

    Zhao KT (1998) Geckoes (Gekkomidae) in western China. Chinese Journal of Zoology, 33 (1), 19–24 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Zheng Z, Gong DJ, Sun CX (2014a) Elevational pattern of species richness and species range size of herpetofauna in Baishuijiang Nature Reserve: A test of Rapoport’s rule. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 33, 537–546 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Zheng Z, Gong DJ, Sun CX, Li XJ, Li WJ (2014b) Elevational pattern of amphibian and reptile diversity in Qinling Range and explanation. Biodiversity Science, 22, 596–607 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Zhou YH, Wang GY, Ni YF (1986) A new record and subspecies of tartar sand boa. Journal of Xinjiang Agricultural University, 9 (3), 42–45 (in Chinese).

    Zhu Y, Kang MY (2005) Application of ordination and GLM/GAM in the research of the relationship between plant species and environment. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 24, 807–811 (in Chinese with English abstract).

This Article

ISSN:1005-0094

CN:11-3247/Q

Vol 26, No. 06, Pages 578-589

June 2018

Downloads:1

Share
Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Study area
  • 2 Methods
  • 3 Results
  • 4 Discussion
  • References