behavior and taxonomy

Lawrence Kirkendall Lawrence.Kirkendall at ZOO.UIB.NO
Fri Mar 24 15:06:49 CST 1995

I will be lecturing on reproductive isolation and on sibling species
complexes next week.  I suddenly find myself wondering whether behavioral
differences (or biochemical, such as electrophoretic, mtDNA, etc.) have any
official standing in species descriptions.  Thus, can (does? should?) one
include a sonogram or recording of a song, along with the holotype which
sang it?  What do today's taxonomists/biosystematists do, when sibling
species have been separated primarily on behavioral grounds (lack of
interbreeding due to differences in seasonal or diel activity patterns,in
host plant choice, or in mating signals, for example)?  Or, in the case of
plants, what about species pairs which differ primarily in ploidy (or do
they always have diagnostic morphological differences as well)?
Just wondering...

Lawrence R. Kirkendall                        FAX:   +47 55 31 44 64
Univ. Bergen Zoological Inst.                 VOICE: +47 55 21 23 42
Allegaten 41, N-5007 BERGEN Norway
EMAIL:  lawrence.kirkendall at

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