• Institute of Geography, Academia, Sinica

Online published: 1978-07-15


The zoogeographical characteristics of China as reflected by the faunistie composi-tion of terrestrial vertebrates has resulted from the successive differentiations from the Hipperion group since late Tertiary (Pig. 1). In the Palaeoarctic realm, the adjust-ment to the diversification of environment between the west and the east of the country has brought about further regionanization. On the other hand, the discontinuous distribu-tion of some species over China in the east arid Europe in the west (Fig. 3) may bear evidence of how the Pleistocene glaciation influencing the animal distribution in N. Eurasia. Of the Oriental realm, the transitional character shown by the tropical animals (Fig. 4) has been consequent to the southward recession (Fig. 2), which, as far as some genus and species are concerned, has been in progress ever since Pleistocene. The Tibetan and the Mongolia-Sinkiang Begions approximate in components, particu-larly so in the steppe areas. Their close relationship, as well as the recency of the uplifting of Tibetan plateau, might explain the slight differentiation (on the level of species or lower) from each other. Between Taiwan and Hainan, a similarily lies in the slight differentiations due to the recency of being separated from the mainland, but a dissimilarity stands out when the temperate and the subtropical elements in Taiwan are compared with the completely tropical elements in Hainan. This distinc-tion may have been descended from their respective affinities to the neighboring parts of the mainland. The uniqueness of the Southwestern Region with parallel ridges and gorges being unaffected by the last glaciation is expressed by its function, of preserving some animals or forming centers of distribution.From an ecological viewpoint, 3 main groups of vertebrates have been observed in China (Fig. 7), i. e., the monsoonal group of hygrocoles, the Sinkiang-Mongolian group of Xerocoles, and the Tibetan group of cryocoles. The components of each group vary as the habitates, and they intermingle in the boundary areas. The intersper-sion is particularly obvious (1) in the Southwes tern Eegion of ridges and gorges (Fig. 8), where the vertical zonation far exceeds the horizontal, zonation; and (2) the region between the Tibetan and the Sinkiang-Mo ngolian groups (Fig. 7), where the palaeogeographic process has drawn close with each other.A scheme of subdividing these 3 groups into 7 in accordance with the vegetation formations has been suggested (Fig 9). Groups 4 (desert and semidesert) and 7 (humid tropical) represent the two extremes (contimental dry on one hand and mari-time humid on the other) with their respective endemic animals, while other groups are transitional both in faunistie composition (Table 2) and ecological characteristics (Table 3).

Cite this article

Zhang Yong-zu . ON THE ZOOGEOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHINA[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1978 , 33(2) : 85 -101 . DOI: 10.11821/xb197802001