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Distribution and diversity of amphibians in Albania: new data and foundations of a comprehensive database

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Albania is part of the Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot. Yet its amphibian fauna is poorly known due to little scientific exploration during the long political isolation of the country. To fill this gap, we constructed a georeferenced database with occurrences of all known amphibian species based on records from published sources and personal data collected during expeditions to poorly known areas. Our database includes 1097 records of 16 species collected between 1920 and 2017. Based on aggregated records, we analysed richness patterns of amphibians in 10 × 10 km grid cells as a function of altitude, climate, land cover diversity and distance from the sea. The mean number of species per cell was 1.8 ± 0.11 S.E. (maximum: 10 species) and at least one species occurred in 238 of the 349 cells. Sampling effort was uneven and sampling hotspots were mostly in popular sites of natural heritage. Cells with high amphibian diversity were near the Prokletije Mountains in the North-West, near Lura, Korab and Grammos Mountains and Ohrid and Prespa Lakes in the East, and near Çikës Mountains and in coastal areas of Vlorë in the South-West. General linear models showed that the most important predictors of presence and diversity of amphibian species are land cover diversity and precipitation. Our study presents the largest database of amphibian occurrences in Albania to date that will be useful for biogeographical and ecological studies and for conservation purposes.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Tisza River Research, Danube Research Institute, Centre for Ecological Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Bem tér 18/c, 4026 Debrecen, Hungary ; 2: 2Pál Juhász-Nagy Doctoral School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary ; 3: 3Department of Evolutionary Zoology and Human Biology, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary ; 4: 4Department of Zoology, Comenius University in Bratislava, Mlynská dolina, Ilkovičova 6, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovakia ; 5: 5Department of Conservation Zoology, University of Debrecen – Hortobágy National Park Directorate, Sumen utca 2, 4024 Debrecen, Hungary

*Corresponding author; e-mail:
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