cryptic and sibling species

��������� doris at AM3963.SPB.EDU
Mon Oct 18 15:05:39 CDT 1999

Mon, 18 Oct 99 01:17 +0300 MSK Ken Kinman wrote to TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG:

>      Please correct me if I am wrong, but are sibling species pretty much
> equivalent to "cryptic species" (closely related, but separate species which
> are morphologically almost identical, but distinguishable by molecular and
> other means---such as differences in bird songs, which I believe led to the
> discovery of some avian sibling species).
>      It seems like zoologists tend to prefer "sibling species" and botanists
> tend to prefer "cryptic species".  If so, does this have anything to do with
> "sibling" varieties (if that is the correct term) that plant breeders are
> fond of crossing with each other?   I guess I prefer "sibling species"
> because I am a zoologist, and I think we often tend to use the term "cryptic
> species" to refer to those which are well camouflaged to blend in with the
> environment.   Just curious how others on the list use these terms.
>                         ---------Ken Kinman
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Dear Ken Kinman,

In Nudibranchia (Gastropoda) I have at least one example of
using of the term "cryptic species" mean hardly distinguishable
morphologically species: "Poecilogony or cryptic species? Two
geographically different development patterns observed in
'Cuthona pupillae (Baba, 1961)'(Nudibranchia: Aeolidoidea) by
Yoshiaki J.Hirano & Yayoi M. Hirano in J. Molluscan Stuidies,
1991, 57, Supplement 4: 133-141.
In the same issue, in paper of W.B.Rudman "Purpose in pattern: the evolution
of colour in chromodorid nudibranchs" we found term "cryptic coloration"
for well camouflaged species, but not "cryptic species".
Mayr, Linsley & Usinger, 1953, Methods and Principles of Systematic
Zoology, chapter V, noted, that Mayr (1942) translated to English
German and French terms Geschwister-Arten (Ramme, 1930) and especes jumelles
(Cuenot, 1936)as sibling species and that then such species can named
in the differnet ways, including term crypic species.
Simpson, Principles of Animal Taxonomy, 1961, p. 158 say , that
" ...pairs of anatomically closely similar species are called cryptic or
sibling species. (Extensive discussion and exemplification in Mayr,
1942, 1948)".
   So, seems both terms are equivalent, but, certainly "sibling species'
more offten used.
For me, application term "cryptic" or "sibling" species  is came across
with difficulties, because how called species if it have very similar
shell, but strongly distinguished by reproductive system, or
nearly same external shape, radula, reproductive system, but different mode
of development. Commonest pacific bivalve from genus Mytilus always
called M. edulis, while genetics not showed differents between
Atlantic and Pacific population and for pacific Mytilus found old synonym
M. trossulus. However, nevertheless, little differenses in shell morhology
are exist. Moreover, from Baltic sea was found exemplars, where peptids more
like to pacific than atalntic population.
Finally, many "normal" species have so little morphological differenses to
compare its relationships, but nobody called it sibling species.


Alexander Martynov (doris at
Zoological Institute
Mon, 18 Oct 99 12:19 +0300 MSK

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