A Guide to the Mammals of Chinaby Andrew T. Smith
China's stunning diversity of natural habitats--from parched deserts to lush tropical forests--is home to more than 10 percent of the world's mammal species. A Guide to the Mammals of China is the most comprehensive guide to all 556 species of mammals found in China. It is the only single-volume reference of its kind to fully describe the physical/i>
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China's stunning diversity of natural habitats--from parched deserts to lush tropical forests--is home to more than 10 percent of the world's mammal species. A Guide to the Mammals of China is the most comprehensive guide to all 556 species of mammals found in China. It is the only single-volume reference of its kind to fully describe the physical characteristics, geographic distribution, natural history, and conservation status of every species. An up-to-date distribution map accompanies each species account, and color plates illustrate a majority of species. Written by a team of leading specialists, including Professor Wang Sung who provides a history of Chinese mammalogy, A Guide to the Mammals of China is the ideal reference for researchers and a delight for anyone interested in China's rich mammal fauna.
- The definitive, comprehensive, up-to-date guide to all of China's 556 mammal species
- High-quality color plates accompany the detailed text
- Each species account comes with a distribution map
- Organized taxonomically for easy reference
- Includes an extensive bibliography
Richard B. Harris
Finally [China] now has a decent guide to the mammals. . . . The book has a great introductory section covering geography, the history of mammalogy in China, and conservation. This includes some useful maps and photographs. The text consists of the typical sections on characteristics, distribution, natural history, additional comments, and status. I was pleased to find this information is current and honest. . . . The artwork is by Federico Gemma of Italy and is top quality. . . . This is a much needed guide and it will be indispensable for naturalists and mammalogists for years to come.
"This volume, the labor of authors Hoffmann, Darrin Lunde, John MacKinnon, and Don E. Wilson and superb illustrator Federico Gemma, also benefits from the contributions of the two editors and Wang Sung and W. Chris Wozencraft. It is the most comprehensive single-volume reference to China's mammals and perhaps to those of Asia as well. . . . It is difficult to overestimate the usefulness of this outstanding booknot only for naturalists and mammalogists, but also for all conservation-minded people who are very concerned about the struggle for China's 1.3 billion people, with their often-disastrous culinary and pharmacological habits, and that country's precious wildlife."F.S. Szalay, Choice
"Finally [China] now has a decent guide to the mammals. . . . The book has a great introductory section covering geography, the history of mammalogy in China, and conservation. This includes some useful maps and photographs. The text consists of the typical sections on characteristics, distribution, natural history, additional comments, and status. I was pleased to find this information is current and honest. . . . The artwork is by Federico Gemma of Italy and is top quality. . . . This is a much needed guide and it will be indispensable for naturalists and mammalogists for years to come."Roy John, Canadian Field-Naturalist
"[T]he Smith and Xie volume . . . will no doubt be adopted quickly as the gold standard by those working on Chinese mammals. . . . As a reference book, it should be on the shelf not only of practicing mammalogists and those with interest in China, but indeed of anyone with a passing interest in the mammalian fauna of this magnificent and complex country."Richard B. Harris, Journal of Mammology
"[A] wonderful volume that will serve any field primatologist both as a guide to the area's monkeys and to help identify all those other strange non-primate mammals we glimpse through the binoculars from time to time."Adrian Barnett, Primate Eye
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Read an ExcerptA Guide to the Mammals of China
Princeton University Press
Copyright © 2008 Princeton University Press
All right reserved.
Introduction Andrew T. Smith and Xie Yan
China is a magnificent country and one of the most diverse on Earth. Its size ranks fourth among the world's nations (9,596,960 [km.sup.2]), and it is home to over 1.3 billion people. The topography of China ranges from the highest elevation on Earth (Mt. Everest or Chomolung ma; 8,850 m) to one of the lowest (Turpan Pendi; 154 m below sea level). Chinese environments include some of Earth's most extensive and driest deserts (the Taklimakan and Gobi) and its highest plateau (the Tibetan Plateau or "Roof of the World"). Habitats range from tropical to boreal forest, and from extensive grasslands to desert. This wide variety of habitats has contributed greatly to the richness of China's mammal fauna. Additionally, the geographic location of China, at the suture zone between the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan biogeographic regions (Hoffmann 2001), further contributes to the country's mammal diversity. Overall, more than 10 percent of the world's species of mammal live in China (556/5,416; total count from Wilson and Reeder 2005). Twenty percent (109/556) of China's mammals are endemic, and one of these is among the most recognizable of the world's mammals, the Giant Panda. In their analysis of megadiversity countries, Mittermeier et al. (1997) consider China to have the third highest diversity of mammals among all countries(following Brazil and Indonesia).
China's Geography and Mammalian Biogeography
There have been many attempts to describe China's diverse landscape (reviewed in Mac-Kinnon and Hicks 1996; MacKinnon et al. 1996; Xie et al. 2004a). Conventionally, China has been divided into three major physical geographic regions: the Tibetan (Qinghai-Xizang) Plateau, northwest arid China, and eastern monsoon China (map 4).
The Tibetan Plateau is one of the highest and most remote landscapes on Earth. The plateau averages between 3,000 and 5,000 m in elevation and encompasses roughly a quarter of China. The word "plateau" is a misnomer, as this area is crisscrossed by numerous impressive mountain chains, such as the Anyemaqin Shan, Bayan Har Shan, and Tanggula Shan, and many smaller spur ranges. Nevertheless, approximately 70 percent of the plateau is composed of alpine meadow or semisteppe vegetation. The Qaidam Basin, an interesting area of tectonic collapse, is found at the northern extreme of the plateau at an elevation of only 2,600 m (MacKinnon and Hicks 1996).
The arid northwest encompasses about 30 percent of China and represents an eastern extension of the great Eurasian deserts and grasslands. One of the world's most desolate deserts, the Taklimakan (translation: "those who go in do not come out alive") lies north of the Tibetan Plateau and the Kunlun range. The cooler Dzungarian Basin, China's second-largest desert, lies in the far northwest. Various smaller deserts extend to the east, increasingly interspersed with semidesert and temperate steppe grasslands. Finally, the rocky Gobi Desert occupies the northern part of China and extends into Mongolia. Two of Asia's major mountain ranges break up this barren expanse in the northwest: the Tian Shan and the Altai. One can stand below sea level in Turpan Pendi and clearly see the snow-capped top of Bogda Feng (in a spur of the Tian Shan) at 5,445 m (MacKinnon and Hicks 1996).
Eastern monsoon China comprises about 45 percent of the country but is home to roughly 95 percent of China's human population. This land is crossed by major rivers that originate on the Tibetan Plateau, most notably the Huang He (Yellow River) and the Yangtze. Almost all of the arable land has been converted to agriculture, and much of the original forest habitat has been destroyed. Most of this landscape is low in elevation and consists of broad alluvial valleys, coastal plains, and modest ancient mountain ranges. The south is seasonably humid, and the plains are punctuated by dramatic limestone pillars. The climate becomes increasingly temperate toward the north, with deciduous trees giving way to expansive coniferous forests in the far northeast (MacKinnon and Hicks 1996).
These physical geographical regions, however, do not adequately define the major bio geographic divisions in China (maps 3, 4, and 5; Xie et al. 2004a). Biogeographically, China's flora and fauna have been affected by both historical factors (their derivation from two formerly isolated biogeographic realms-the Palaearctic and the Indo-Malayan) and their relative ability to colonize new habitats.
The southern boundary of the Palaearctic realm in China and adjacent countries was analyzed by Hoffmann (2001), particularly with regard to the distribution of mammals. He found extreme compression of the zone of overlap between the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms along the southern boundary of western China, as this region is defined by high altitudinal relief. In contrast, in areas of low relief (such as in eastern central China), the zonation is determined more by latitude than altitude, and there is a broad latitudinal band of overlap between forms that originated from the Palaear c-tic and Indo-Malayan realms (Hoffmann 2001). In the south this zone extends from about 28ºN on the coast to roughly 25ºN in the area in northern Yunnan where the three great rivers (Yangtze, Mekong, Salween) lie in close proximity. The northern edge of this zone essentially follows the Yangtze River from the east coast to the area where the three great rivers come together (Hoffmann 2001). This description contrasts with previous opinions that the southern limit of the Palaearctic in China largely corresponds to the latitude of the Huang He in eastern China (about 30ºN; Corbet 1978; Corbet and Hill 1992).
A sensitive and objective approach to understanding the zoogeography of Chinese mammals has been developed recently by Xie et al. (2004a). They defined 124 biogeographic units in China based on a comprehensive suite of factors (altitude, landform, climate, vegetation, hydrology, etc.) and then overlaid maps of 171 diagnostic mammal species on these units. A statistical analysis identified aggregations of biogeographic units based on mammal distributions, and this information was used to create cluster dendrograms. This analysis produced a classification of the boundaries dividing the mammal fauna at different spatial scales across China. A similar analysis was performed on 509 representative plant species.
The biogeographical divisions of mammals and plants in China determined by the methodology outlined above contrast significantly with the commonly used physical geographical regions for China (map 4). Additionally, there are distinctive differences between the biogeographical divisions using the plant and mammal data. Four major biogeographical divisions occur in China based on vegetation: northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. These in turn can be broken down into 8 subareas and 27 regions (table 1; maps 3 and 4). Compared with the physical geographical regions, the major divisions based on plants separate the arid northwest into a western and eastern section, and eastern monsoonal China into a northern and southern part. The southwest China biogeographical region for plants is basically similar to the Tibetan Plateau physical geographic region, although both the northern and southern boundaries of the biogeographical region are found farther south than the physical geographical region (table 1; map 4; Xie et al. 2004a).
There are three major biogeographical divisions for mammals (map 5; Xie et al. 2004a). As for plants, the mammals have distinctive western and eastern distributions in the arid northwest geo graphical region; the divisional boundary for mammals occurs farther west than that for plants (map 4). The mammals also separate eastern monsoonal China into northern and southern areas, and the boundary for mammals is further south than that for plants. In the large arc from northwest to southeast China, there is a single mammal biogeographical boundary compared with two for plants (map 4). Mammals in the interior drain age area on the Tibetan Plateau have northern affinities. The southeastern plateau region shows a continuous extension in faunal affinities to the southeast, maintaining a mammal fauna more similar to that of monsoonal southeastern China.
In northwest China the montane forests and grasslands of the Tian Shan and Altai mountains clearly are distinct from the surrounding arid landscape. The Altai (F3; map 5) shows clear ties to the fauna of Russia's boreal forest. As a result, Zhang and Zhou (1978) biogeographically linked the Altai with the Greater Xing'an mountains of northeast China. However, more than twice as many Altai mammals occur simultaneously in the Tian Shan mountains and the arid Dzungarian Basin as in the Greater Xing'an mountains (Xie et al. 2004a).
In northeast China there are distinct differences in vegetation between the Greater and Lesser Xing'an mountains (regions 1 and 5; map 3), whereas mammal distributions are similar between these ranges, and the area can be classified as a single region (region A; map 5). Overall, the analysis of Xie et al. (2004a) demonstrates that the ability to colonize varies between plants and animals, producing distinctive differences in the cluster analysis and the designation of major biogeographic areas in China. While plant distributions tend to be closely tied to prevailing environmental conditions, mammals generally exhibit broader geographic tolerance. Additionally, mammal distributions appear to be truncated by major rivers and mountain chains, whereas these do not appear to be as stringent barriers to plant distributions. Thus plant divisions appear to be more reliable than those of mammals as a general descriptor of China's biogeography (table 1; map 3).
History of Chinese Mammalogy, by Wang Sung
Pre-People's Republic of China
In ancient times knowledge about animals was primarily obtained from human activities, such as hunting and fishing. As early as the Shang dynasty (ca. 1500 BC), over 100 words existed for various kinds of birds (such as chickens), mammals (such as sheep, horses, cattle, and pigs), fish, and insects. By the Tang dynasty (AD 600-900), when culture and exploration in China were ascendant, knowledge of mammals was widespread (Schafer 1963).
During the most active time of natural history exploration (the mid-late 1800s and early 1900s), China's culture was more introspective. Most explorations in China at that time were con ducted by scientists from Europe or North America (John Anderson, Roy Chapman Andrews, M. Berezovski, Douglas Carruthers, Père Armand David, George Forrest, Walter Granger, P. M. Heude, Pyotr Kozlov, Clifford Pope, G. Potanin, Nikolai Przewalski, Vsevolod Roborovski, Arthur de Carle Sowerby, Robert Swinhoe, and Walter Zappey to name a few; Allen 1938, 1940; Rayfield 1976). A quick look in this book at the names of scientific authorities for the majority of Chinese mammal species and subspecies bears witness to the prevalence of Western scientists in the initial determination of the Chinese mammal fauna. Indeed, most of the type specimens from these expeditions remain deposited in the major museums of the United States and Europe, a factor that hampers systematic mammalogy in China to this day. Toward the end of this era (the 1920s and 1930s), some Chinese mammalogists became involved in the study of the Chinese fauna, including Shou Zhenhuang, Fu Tongsheng, Liu Chengzao, and Peng Hongshou. The publication of Glover Allen's The Mammals of China and Mongolia (1938, 1940) provided a benchmark capturing the results of these early investigations. Allen's treatise continues to inform, and it provided essential information used by the authors of this book.
Early People's Republic of China Period (1949-1966)
Chinese mammalogy began in earnest in the early 1950s, upon the founding of the PRC. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was founded in late 1949 after the advent of the PRC, followed shortly by the establishment of the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) under the CAS in 1951. It was immediately recognized that mammalogy was a field that had received minimal attention in the past. To rectify this, Shou Zhenhuang, an experienced zoologist who had studied abroad throughout the 1930s and 1940s, was appointed to found the Mammalogical Research Division of the IOZ. As one of the leading zoologists in China, he had published the first scientific paper about Chinese ichthyology and was the author of Birds of Hopei Province (1936), the only ornithological monograph published before the PRC was founded. Shou recruited young students for the Mammal Division and established a mammal collection, beginning with materials from old institutions in Beijing and the former Heude Museum in Shanghai. He also developed the mammalogical portion of the institutional library (including important international journals, e.g., Journal of Mammalogy, Zoological Record, Biological Abstracts, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Annals and Magazine of Natural History, as well as significant reference books, e.g., Allen's Mammals of China and Mongolia [1938, 1940], Miller's Mammals of Western Europe , Ellerman and Morrison-Scott's Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals ), despite the extreme difficulty in amassing foreign currency needed to purchase them.
Most important, Shou initiated field surveys and ecological research. A five-year plan, the Mammalogical Faunal Survey, began in 1953 in northeastern China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and eastern Nei Mongol), a minimally disturbed area that still contained large expanses of virgin forest. This survey covered much of the Lesser Xing'an mountains (1953), Greater Xing'an mountains (1954), Changbai Shan mountains (1955), and the Liaodong Peninsula, Songhuajiang-Liaohe Delta, and Sanjiang Plain (1956-57). Involved in the field survey team were the majority of the Mammal Division of IOZ/CAS, headed by Peng Hongshou (1953-57) together with Zhu Jing (1954), Yang Hefang (1953), Wang Sung (1954-56), Zhang Jie (1954), and Li Xueren (1954-56). While the main survey was being conducted in the northeast, other mammalian surveys began in other areas (southern Yunnan, Hainan, Guangxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Gansu, Qinghai, Guangxi), many of which remained productive until they were terminated during the Cultural Revolution.
As the IOZ's Mammal Division developed, it became the center of mammalogical research in China. A number of young colleagues from universities and institutions were sent to IOZ/CAS for further study under Shou's supervision, including Li Guiyuan (Sichuan Agricultural University), Yang Anfeng (Peking University), He Hong'en (from Hunan), Zhang Luanguang (Beijing Normal University), Chen Jun (Lanzhou University), Zheng Changlin (from Xining, Qinghai), Wu Delin (Kunming Institute of Zoology), and Xu Munong (Shandong Normal University). These young scientists eventually became some of the leading mammalogists in China.
In parallel additional zoological institutions were established, such as the Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ) in the late 1950s (headed by Pan Qinghua) and the Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology (NWPIB) in Xining in 1966 (headed by Xia Wuping), as well as some local institutions in Shaanxi, Xinjiang, and Guangdong. Research staff from these institutions and university teachers conducted a large number of field surveys and research projects in various regions. Thus, mammalian collections were further developed not only at the IOZ/ CAS, but also in different locations throughout China.
Over 10,000 mammal specimens were collected during the Mammalogical Faunal Survey, and these constituted the first mammalian collection in China at IOZ/CAS. The final results of the five-year survey were compiled and published as Report on Mammalian Survey in Northeastern China (1958), now regarded as a milestone of early Chinese mammalogy. It was followed by publication of The Economical Fauna-Mammalia (1962) and Illustrated Books of Animals-Mammalia (1963). These are the earliest publications about the mammalian fauna written and compiled by Chinese mammalogists.
At this time it was difficult for Chinese mammalogists to catalog incoming specimens because nearly all the type specimens were housed in foreign collections, and most of the relevant literature was in either English or Russian. The language barrier was formidable for younger scientists. Although universities offered courses in Russian, no English courses would become available for another two decades.
Excerpted from A Guide to the Mammals of China
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Bruce D. Patterson, Field Museum of Natural History
Meet the Author
Andrew T. Smith is the Parents Association Professor of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. Yan Xie is associate research professor in the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Robert S. Hoffmann, now retired, was director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Darrin Lunde is collections manager in the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History. John MacKinnon is a zoologist and writer whose many books include "A Field Guide to the Birds of China". Don E. Wilson is curator of mammals at the National Museum of Natural History. W. Chris Wozencraft (1953-2007) was professor of biology at Bethel College. Federico Gemma, based in Rome, is a wildlife artist and freelance natural-history illustrator.
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