Species–area relationships and nestedness patterns were studied in three groups of small terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, amphibians) on 14 landbridge islands of the eastern Adriatic. islands ranged in surface area between 15 and 410 km2 = 0.79) and most poorly in amphibians (r2 = 0.52). and contained from eight to 36 species from a total species pool of 48. reptiles were the most species rich group (S = 28), and had more species than mammals (S = 13) and amphibians (S = 7) combined. island surface area predicted species richness best in reptiles (r2 Mammals showed a significantly lower slope of the species–area curve than amphibians and reptiles, and thus accumulated species counts with increase in area at the lowest rate. Nestedness patterns in all groups were significantly more organised than expected by chance. Amphibian nested structure points to extinction dominated and well insularised populations with no subsequent recolonisations. frequent unexpected presences and absences in the nestedness patterns of mammals and reptiles suggest complex biogeographic histories for these two groups, with several factors putatively in operation: heterogeneity in habitats and the original source fauna, post- isolation immigrations and differential extinction rate due to human-caused habitat degradation.
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