subspecies are real

Dr. James Adams jadams at EM.DALTONSTATE.EDU
Mon Apr 19 13:11:12 CDT 2004

Dear Ron and listers,

         I'm catching up with my weekend e-mails, and am responding to
Ron's message in sequence, before I've read the responses, so I apologize
in advance if I am repeating someone else's message.

         Ron and I have somewhat different takes on the species/subspecies
issue, though I must admit I find myself agreeing with much of what Ron
says in his message, including that nothing is really a plateau, that
things are in always changing (at least a little).

         I, however, disagree with the following statement.

>"Species and subspecies are very different and must be assessed an defined by
>different means and methods."

         Ron himself pointed out that species were at one time subspecies,
and, although impossible to point to a moment where an entity becomes a
species, clearly there is *very little difference* between a subspecies and
species at that point.  Indeed, our ability to distinguish entities is very
subjective anyway, and what represents subspecific "distinctiveness" to one
person may be another person's specific "distinctiveness".  Subspecies and
species are simply parts of a spectrum of genetic connectivity.


James K. Adams
Phone: (706)272-4427
FAX:  (706)272-2235
Visit the Georgia Lepidoptera Website:
Also check out the Southern Lepidopterists' Society Website:
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