new, probably brief subject

Mon Oct 11 18:01:18 CDT 1999

Just a question ?

What do you call a semispecies ?
I understand a subspecies as geographically disjunct populations of the
same species with "something" different but I do not know the term

The code of Zoological Nomenclature accept the subspecies (art. 5 (b) as a
tri-name, but do not define the concept of a subspecies. I think the the
code do not accept names for race, chromatical forms, hybrids, etc... I
also do not see semispecies.


Jean-Michel Maes.

At 09:49 AM 11/10/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Les wrote:
>>We all have to deal with hierarchical population structures, in which the
>>point at which we designate species versus semispecies, subspecies, or
>>races is somewhat arbitrary.  I just wondered, however, how the group
>>feels about allopatric (though often adjacent) sister taxa that exhibit
>>clear character separation (slightly different male breeding colors, in
>>the case of the fishes I work on), but no really remarkable differences.
>>Due to their incarceration in peripheral or disjunct habitat patches,
>>however, they are probably experiencing independent evolution.  I suspect
>>that this is an anthropological issue more than an evolutionary one, but
>>it has a big impact on conservation priorities, estimates of regional
>>alpha diversity, and so forth.
>At least for those entomologists who do not work on butterflies, this seems
>to be the criterion by which the decision to designate a subspecies is made
>- assuming the person does not mind designating subspecies. There are
>taxonomists who will refuse to recognize such differences as meaningful,
>and others who will argue that if they are different in any way, then they
>should be called species. Which of the three alternatives is chosen in any
>given case seems to depend entirely upon the personal philosophy of the
>taxonomist. I don't think there is any rule or consensus, nor likely to be,
>though one can only suspect that when molecular analyses are done, we'll
>find that virtually every "subspecies" is genetically distinguishable and
>thus (at least to an adherent of the Phylogenetic Species Concept) a valid
>species. If one views the error of failing to recognize a *valid* species
>as more devastating than recognizing one that is NOT valid (as would
>certainly be the case as far as conservation ethics goes), then a case such
>as this should always be classified as a species-level break, and leave it
>to someone else to convincingly *disprove* that hypothesis.
>My two cents,
>Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
>Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
>phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
Jean-Michel MAES
Museo Entomologico
Asociacion Nicaraguense de Entomologia
AP 527 - Leon

tel 505-0-3116586

FAX 505-0-3115700

jmmaes at


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