Zoogeographic regions of Wallace, 1876

Zoogeography is the branch of the science of biogeography that is concerned with geographic distribution (present and past) of animal species.[1]

As a multifaceted field of study, zoogeography incorporates methods of molecular biology, genetics, morphology, phylogenetics, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to delineate evolutionary events within defined regions of study around the globe. Once proposed by Alfred Russel Wallace, known to be the father of zoogeography, phylogenetic affinities can be quantified among zoogeographic regions, further elucidating the phenomena surrounding geographic distributions of organisms and explaining evolutionary relationships of taxa.[2]

Advancements in molecular biology and theory of evolution within zoological research has unraveled questions concerning speciation events and has expanded phylogenic relationships amongst taxa.[3] Integration of phylogenetics with GIS provides a means for communicating evolutionary origins through cartographic design. Related research linking phylogenetics and GIS has been conducted in areas of the southern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific Oceans. Recent innovations in DNA bar-coding, for example, have allowed for explanations of phylogenetic relationships within two families of marine venomous fishes, scorpaenidae and tetraodontidae, residing in the Andaman Sea.[4] Continued efforts to understand species evolutionary divergence articulated in the geologic time scale based on fossil records for killifish (Aphanius and Aphanolebias) in locales of the Mediterranean and Paratethys areas revealed climatological influences during the Miocene[5] Further development of research within zoogeography has expanded upon knowledge of the productivity of South Atlantic ocean regions and distribution of organisms in analogous regions, providing both ecological and geographic data to supply a framework for the taxonomic relationships and evolutionary branching of benthic polychaetes.[6]

Modern-day zoogeography also places a reliance on GIS to integrate a more precise understanding and predictive model of the past, current, and future population dynamics of animal species both on land and in the ocean. Through employment of GIS technology, linkages between abiotic factors of habitat such as topography, latitude, longitude, temperatures, and sea level can serve to explain the distribution of species populations through geologic time. Understanding correlations of habitat formation and the migration patterns of organisms at an ecological level allows for explanations of speciation events that may have arisen due to physical geographic isolation events or the incorporation of new refugia to survive unfavorable environmental conditions[7]

Zoogeographic regions

Schmarda (1853) proposed 21 regions,[8][9] while Woodward proposed 27 terrestrial and 18 marine,[10] Murray (1866) proposed 4,[11] Blyth (1871) proposed 7,[12] Allen (1871) 8 regions,[13] Heilprin (1871) proposed 6,[14] Newton (1893) proposed 6,[15] Gadow (1893) proposed 4.[16]

Philip Sclater (1858) and Alfred Wallace (1876) identified the main zoogeographic regions of the world used today: Palaearctic, Aethiopian (today Afrotropic), India (today Indomalayan), Australasian, Nearctic and Neotropical.[17][18][19][20][21]

Marine regionalization began with Ortmann (1896).[22][23]

In a similar way to geobotanic divisions, our planet is divided in zoogeographical (or faunal) regions (further divided as provinces, territories and districts), sometimes including the categories Empire and Domain.

The current trend is to classify the floristic kingdoms of botany or zoogeographic regions of zoology as biogeographic realms.

Following, some examples of regionalizations:

Sclater (1858)

Creatio Palaeogeana

Creatio Neogeana

Huxley (1868)

Huxley (1868) scheme:[24]

Wallace (1876)

Trouessart (1890)

Scheme by Trouessart (1890):[25]

Darlington (1957)

First scheme:

Second scheme:

See also


  1. ^ Darlington, P.J., Jr. 1957. Zoogeography: The Geographical Distribution of Animals. New York, [1] Archived 2018-08-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Holt, B. G., et al. (2013). An update of Wallace’s zoogeographic regions of the world. Science, vol. 339, no. 6115, pp. 74-78.
  3. ^ Taylor, E. B., McPhail, J.D., 1998. Evolutionary history of an adaptive radiation species in pairs of threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosterus): insights from mitochondrial DNA. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 66: 271-291.
  4. ^ Sachithanandam, V., Mohan, P.M., Muruganandam, N., 2015. DNA barcoding of marine venomous and poisonous fish of families Scorpaenidae and Tetraodontidae from Andaman waters. Ecology and Conservation: 351-372.
  5. ^ Reichenbacher, B., Kowalke, T., 2009. Neogene and present-day zoogeography of killifishes (Aphanius and Aphanolebias) in the Mediterranean and Paratethys areas. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 281: 43-56.
  6. ^ Fiege, D., Ramey, P.A., Ebbe, B., 2010. Diversity and distributional patterns of Polychaeta in the deep South Atlantic. Deep-Sea Research I.57:1329-1344.
  7. ^ Taylor, E. B., McPhail, J.D., 1998. Evolutionary history of an adaptive radiation species in pairs of threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosterus): insights from mitochondrial DNA. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 66: 271-291.Palumbi, S.R., 1996. What can molecular genetics contribute to marine biogeaography? An urchin’s tale. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 203: 75-92.
  8. ^ Schmarda L. K. 1853. Die geographische Verbreitung der Tiere. Wien, Gerold und Sohn, [2].
  9. ^ Ebach, M.C. (2015). Origins of biogeography. The role of biological classification in early plant and animal geography. Dordrecht: Springer, xiv + 173 pp., [3].
  10. ^ Woodward, Samuel Pickworth. A Manual of the Mollusca; or a Rudimentary Treatise of Recent and Fossil Shells. 3 parts. London, 1851-56, [4].
  11. ^ Murray, A. 1866. The Geographical Distribution of Mammals. London: Day and Son, [5].
  12. ^ Blith, E. (1871): A suggested new division of the earth into zoological regions. Nature 3: 427
  13. ^ Allen, J. A. 1871. On the mammals and winter birds of East Florida. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 2:161–450.
  14. ^ Heilprin, A. 1887. The geographical and geological distribution of animals. New York: Appleton, [6].
  15. ^ Newton, A. (1893). Article on Geographical Distribution in the Dictionary of Birds, p. 311. London, [7].
  16. ^ Gadow, H. 1893. Vögel. II. Systematischer Theil. In H. G. Bronn (ed.), Klassen und Ordnungen des Thier-Reichs, vol. 6. Leipzig: C. F. Winter, [8].
  17. ^ Sclater, P.L. (1858). On the general geographical distribution of the members of the class Aves. J. Proc. Linnean Soc. Zool. 2: 130–145, [9].
  18. ^ Wallace A.R. 1876. The geographical distribution of animals. Macmillan, London, [10].
  19. ^ Cox, C. B. (2001). The biogeographic regions reconsidered. Journal of Biogeography, 28: 511-523, [11].
  20. ^ Holt, B. G., et al. (2013). An update of Wallace’s zoogeographic regions of the world. Science, vol. 339, no. 6115, pp. 74-78.
  21. ^ Cox, C. B., Moore, P.D. & Ladle, R. J. 2016. Biogeography: an ecological and evolutionary approach. 9th edition. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, p. 12, [12].
  22. ^ Ortmann, A.E. (1896). Grundzüge der marinen Tiergeographie. Jena: Gustav Fischer, [13].
  23. ^ Morrone, J. J. (2009). Evolutionary biogeography, an integrative approach with case studies. Columbia University Press, New York, [14].
  24. ^ Huxley, T.H. 1868. On the classification and distribution of the Alectoromorphae and Heteromorpha. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1868: 294-319, [15].
  25. ^ Trouessart, E. L. (1890). La géographie zoologique. Bailliere, Paris, [16].