[Taxacom] Is _Aedes nipponii_ a species?

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sun Jan 25 11:35:24 CST 2009

Hi Pete and Richard,
        This is a two part response, reacting first to what Pete said,
and then what Richard said.  Aedes vexans nipponii and whether it should
be raised to full species status is an interesting question, and since I
don't much about mosquitoes, I won't take sides, but just sort of  play
"devil's advocate" for the sake of argument.                                  
        I suspect that the mating behavior (or lack thereof) between
Aedes vexans vexans and A. vexans nipponii in North America might not
tell us much about whether they have speciated or not.  The Aedes vexans
that was already here presumably came from Europe, and the A. v.
nipponii no doubt came from the Pacific coast of Asia (which are at
opposite ends of Eurasia).   A. vexans could have originated on one end
and slowly spread to the other end of Eurasia (or started in the middle
and spread both ways).  In either case, European and Japanese
populations would be extremes of a broad continuum, and if there is
still actual or potential gene flow through populations in central parts
of Eurasia, then I would call them a single species.  Their failure to
breed in North America could be comparable to the ends of a ring of
subspecies (although in this case, their coming together is the result
of unnatural introduction by humans).                           
       In answer to Richard's questions (see below), I don't think
"real" species coming back together in the future would generally
converge back into a single species.  If they did converge, that would
simply mean to me that they weren't actually "real" separate species
anyway (they had not achieved full speciation).  Perhaps that is why I
tend to be more of a lumper.  I guess that is also why I am a zoologist,
because plant speciation often seems to be a whole lot fuzzier.      
                         Ken Kinman                    
Richard wrote:
Indeed, I think your oxygen molecule analogy is better than you give it
credit for.  I think there are many, many examples of things that even a
lumper would call distinct species today, but which have the capacity to
converge at some point in the future. Does that mean they aren't "real"
species today? Or, are they multiple "real" species today, which simply
come together to form a single "real" species later?  

More information about the Taxacom mailing list