species/subspecies query

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at AURORA.ALASKA.EDU
Wed Nov 15 02:08:18 CST 2000

        This sounds like the classic situation referred to as a
'rassenkreis', where two apparently well-distinguished species are
connected by a 'circle of races' which appear to be subspecies. This
has cropped up in butterflies, and in holarctic birds. When A and C
are sympatric, one more or less has to consider them as species, even
though a series (B1, B2, B3, etc.) of subspecies may connect them
over some geographic distance. Not everything has to fit the Linnean
system exactly, especially if you catch species in the process of

        On the other hand, I have heard some people deny that this
neat situation really exists in such a simple form.

                                                        Ken Philip
fnkwp at uaf.edu

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