Potatso National Park was the first national park in mainland China, preceded by the earlier Bitahai Nature Reserve.
Located in the northwest of Yunnan and on the southeast of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Potatso is a typical low latitude and high
elevation wetland nature reserve, with large areas of coniferous forest around alpine lakes and both wetland and water area
ecosystems. In August, 2011, we undertook a survey of crustaceans in the park, sampling lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers
throughout Potatso. We found a total of 29 species (including varieties) belonging to 24 genera and 11 families. Notable discoveries
sp, Arctodiaptomus parvispinus
and Simocephalus congener
, which are the first examples of these species to
be recorded in China. Likewise, Gammarus bitaensis
is a unique crustacean found only in Potatso National Park and Thermocyclops dumonti
and Gammarus paucispinus
are both endemic species to northwestern Yunnan. The overall faunal characteristics of crustaceans in the park also revealed several things about Potatso: (1) Cosmopolitan and Palaearctic elements reach 48.27% and
37.93%, clearly showing the Palaearctic element as the dominant fauna; (2) most of the crustacean, such as Arctodiaptomus
, are typical alpine types, confirming that Potatso has feature typical of alpine and plateau fauna; and (3)
the proportion of endemic and rare crustacean species in Potatso National Park is approximately 10%, suggesting that the Potatso
National Park in particular and the northwest of Yunnan in general have a unique geological and evolutionary history.