species/subspecies query

Jorge Chiapella jorge.chiapella at UIBK.AC.AT
Wed Nov 15 03:29:23 CST 2000

Mark, it depends on which species concept you believe.
How are your species morphologically? Similar? according to your situation,
A+B and B+C produced viable offspring, but A+C not. Then, if you agree that
the breeding behaviour is a desirable requisite, probably you will accept
the taxonomic species concept. Then I would say that A and C are probably
the extremes of a gradient, perhaps subspecies that are diverging. There is
a similar situation I heard about with the pumas in America (not the USA, I
mean the whole continent!) animals from Patagonia do not produce viable
offspring when breed with animals from Alaska. But they certainly produce
viable little pumas when breed with animals of other parts of South America.
If you believe that reproductive isolation is important, you will probably
follow the biological species concept and then A and B are probably
subspecies of the same species, and C is a separate species.
Things may complicate if you decide to include something about your taxa
ancestors. Do they share some? Then choose the phylogenetic species concept.
To resume: sometimes I think there are perhaps too many species concept,
each of them well adapted to some well-defined situtation. But no one fits
all the situations. Make your choice and good luck. Hope this help.


>Jorge Chiapella
>Institute of Botany
>University of Innsbruck
>Sternwartestrasse 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
>Tel. 0043 512 507 5938
>Fax 0043 512 507 2715

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