“Land Emergence” and “Elevation Shift” Affect Diversification: A New Perspective Toward Understanding the High Species Diversity of Terrestrial Animals in Japan

Part of the Diversity and Commonality in Animals book series (DCA)


Animal species in Japan are characterized by a high degree of endemism. Recent phylogeographic studies have revealed interesting and unexpected patterns of diversification in the islands adjacent to the main Japanese islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu) and the within-island diversification in the main islands. In this chapter, I propose two potential models to explain such diversification: ‘land emergence’ effects and ‘elevation shift’ effects, based on changes in animal distribution in response to climate or habitat alteration during the repeated glaciation and post-glaciation periods in the Pleistocene era. In the land emergence effect, population expansion and contraction in response to land emergence and disappearance contributed to the dynamic changes in morphological and genetic characters in the four main islands and their adjacent offshore islands. In the elevation shift effect, ‘cryptic barriers’ and ‘cryptic corridors’ were formed through elevation shifts in response to climatic changes in the past. The effect also contributed to the formation of diversification patterns among the low elevation species. For further understanding of diversification of Japanese animals, both land emergence and elevation shift effects should be evaluated for each species, with careful consideration of the ‘connectivity’ of animal dispersal.


Zoogeography Glaciation period Land emergence effect Land bridge Elevation shift effect Cryptic barrier Cryptic corridor Connectivity Island syndrome 



This study was supported by the JSPS Core-to-Core Program B, Asia-Africa Scientific Platforms, Sumitomo Foundation, Heiwa Nakajima Foundation, and Kyoto University SPIRITS program. Dr. Yuchun Li of Shandong University provided various suggestions and discussion about the geomorphological effect on zoogeography in East Asia. I thank John L. Koprowski, Alex Hon-Tsen Yu, and Hitoshi Suzuki for valuable comments on the early versions of the manuscript, and Yuta Shintaku for help with preparing Figs. 1.4 and 1.7. The final manuscript was completed during the time when I was a visiting scholar of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and I deeply appreciate Prof. Suchinda Malaivijitnond.


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© Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Kyoto University MuseumKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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