Distributional congruence of mammalian herbivores in the Trans-Himalayan Mountains

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Large-scale distribution and diversity patterns of mammalian herbivores, especially less charismatic species in alpine environments remain little understood. We studied distributional congruence of mammalian herbivores in the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh to see if the distributions of less prominent and smaller herbivores can be determined from those of larger and more prominent herbivores like ungulates. Using a similarity index, we assessed shared distributions of species in 20x20 km2 grid-cells in an area of about 80,000 km2. We used the Unweighted Pair-Group Method with Arithmetic Average (UPGMA) to classify mammalian herbivores into groups with similar distributions. We then used the G-test of independence to look for statistical significance of the groups obtained. We identified six groups of mammalian herbivores with distributions more similar than expected at random. The largest group was composed of nine species whereas the other large group comprised six species. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), used to relate the groups with environmental features, showed that the largest group occurred in higher and flatter areas, while the other large group occurred in lower and steeper areas. Large herbivores like ungulates can be used as surrogate for less prominent small herbivores while identifying areas for latter’s protection in the inaccessible mountainous regions of the Trans-Himalaya
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
JournalCurrent Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • cross-taxon congruence
  • species richness
  • environmental gradients
  • distribution patterns
  • iberian peninsula
  • blue sheep
  • conservation
  • ladakh
  • similarity
  • biogeography

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