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Distribution patterns of the small mammals (Insectivora and Rodentia) in a transitional zone between the Eurosiberian and the Mediterranean regions

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Abstract Aim

To determine, by means of quantitative analyses, the distribution patterns of the insectivores and rodents in Catalonia using physiographical regions as Operative Geographical Units (OGUs). Location

Catalonia (north-eastern Iberian Peninsula). Methods

Based on the presence/absence of twenty-five small mammals in thirteen physiographical regions, which were used as OGUs, the following aspects were studied: (a) identification of biotic boundaries; (b) determination of chorological association of species; (c) climatic characterization of the biotic regions and the chorotypes. Groups of biotic regions and species were established, and their statistical significance was tested. The possible effect of several climatic factors on these groupings was studied using discriminant analyses. Results

A significant biotic boundary was found to separate the central and eastern Pyrenees from the remaining physiographical regions. The climatic variables that defined this boundary were related to the severity and the availability of environmental energy. Four chorotypes were identified. One chorotype was constituted by Pyrenean or Pre-Pyrenean species, an association determined by their mid-European requirements; another chorotype was formed by Eurosiberian species, but showed a variable degree of tolerance to Mediterranean conditions; a third chorotype included species with a wide distribution that are Mediterranean, anthropic, generalist or have very specific habitats; and finally the fourth chorotype was constituted by a strictly Mediterranean species. The climatic factors that accounted for the distribution of these chorotypes were the mean July temperature and the mean annual precipitation. Main conclusions

We conclude that the axial zone of the Pyrenees, except the coastal portion, determines two biotic regions in Catalonia. As for the classification of species, using quantitative techniques for the first time, we offer a new biogeographicalal configuration for the small mammals in this temperate-Mediterranean transition.
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Keywords: Catalonia; Iberian Peninsula; Insectivora; Rodentia; biotic regions; chorotypes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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