Floristic and faunal Cape biochoria: do they exist?

Jonathan F. Colville, Alastair J. Potts, Peter L. Bradshaw, G. John Measey, Dee Snijman, Mike D. Picker, Şerban Procheş, Rauri C. K. Bowie and John C. Manning

in Fynbos

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199679584
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191791949 | DOI:
Floristic and faunal Cape biochoria: do they exist?

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Recently, the concept of a Greater Cape Floristic Region (GFCR), incorporating both the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) and adjacent winter rainfall succulent karoo region, has found favour as a more coherent biogeographical unit. It is not clear, however, whether a Greater Cape Region is sensible only in the context of floristic data, or whether the cool-season moisture zone shows biogeographic coherence across a broader sampling of taxonomic groups, i.e. a Greater Cape Biochorion. This chapter provides a systematic and consistent biogeographic evaluation, at the species level, of five very different taxonomic groups (plants, birds, butterflies, reptiles, and frogs) and tests the hypothesis for an extended Greater Cape Biochorion. Only in plants and butterflies did the winter rainfall and mesic aseasonal areas cluster to form a Greater Cape Biochorion. For birds and reptiles, arid winter rainfall areas showed greater affinity to the arid Nama karoo than to mesic winter rainfall areas. Frogs, on the other hand, retrieved the mesic winter and arid winter rainfall areas as distinct primary regions. Thus, limited consensus was found for a Greater Cape Biochorion. For birds and reptiles, however, the CFR clustered with succulent karoo and Nama karoo, indicating that the faunal affinities of these arid areas appear closest with the Cape fauna. Therefore, the chapter considered a Greater Cape Biochorion with extensions as a concept for investigating Cape faunal biogeography. Overall, the chapter reveals the complexity of reconciling biogeographic patterns across taxonomic groups, emphasizing that chorological divisions depend heavily on the taxa examined.

Keywords: biogeography; Greater Cape Biochorion; birds; butterflies; frogs; plants; reptiles

Chapter.  13136 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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