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Expert range maps of global mammal distributions harmonised to three taxonomic authorities

Marsh, Charles J.; Sica, Yanina V.; Burgin, Connor J.; Dorman, Wendy A.; Anderson, Robert C.; del Toro Mijares, Isabel; Vigneron, Jessica G.; Gilchrist, Jason; et al.


Charles J. Marsh

Yanina V. Sica

Connor J. Burgin

Wendy A. Dorman

Robert C. Anderson

Isabel del Toro Mijares

Jessica G. Vigneron

et al.


Comprehensive, global information on species' occurrences is an essential biodiversity variable and central to a range of applications in ecology, evolution, biogeography and conservation. Expert range maps often represent a species' only available distributional information and play an increasing role in conservation assessments and macroecology. We provide global range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species harmonised to the taxonomy of the Mammal Diversity Database (MDD) mobilised from two sources, the Handbook of the Mammals of the World (HMW) and the Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World (CMW).


All extant mammal species.

Range maps were digitally interpreted, georeferenced, error-checked and subsequently taxonomically aligned between the HMW (6253 species), the CMW (6431 species) and the MDD taxonomies (6362 species).

Range maps can be evaluated and visualised in an online map browser at Map of Life ( and accessed for individual or batch download for non-commercial use.

Main conclusion
Expert maps of species' global distributions are limited in their spatial detail and temporal specificity, but form a useful basis for broad-scale characterizations and model-based integration with other data. We provide georeferenced range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species as shapefiles, with species-level metadata and source information packaged together in geodatabase format. Across the three taxonomic sources our maps entail, there are 1784 taxonomic name differences compared to the maps currently available on the IUCN Red List website. The expert maps provided here are harmonised to the MDD taxonomic authority and linked to a community of online tools that will enable transparent future updates and version control.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 27, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date May 30, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2022
Print ISSN 0305-0270
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 5
Pages 979-992
Keywords biodiversity, biogeography, conservation planning, GIS, Mammalia, mapping, species distributions
Public URL


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