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Re: Subspecies vs. species?


Either I have missed some aroid-l messages or no-one has given a broadcast 
answer to this HORRIBLE question! Anyway, this is a brief and feeble attempt.

There is no categorical and universally accepted definition of subspecies, nor 
species, nor genus etc. They are ALL points of view, though I would dispute your
`only' points of view, since they are usually carefully constructed even though 
there may be vigorous disagreement. There is an immense literature on the 
subject - particularly of species concepts. At bottom, the definition of a taxon
(i.e. species, genus, family, subspecies etc.) depends on the organism group 
concerned and the resources and predilections of the taxonomist working on it at
the time. The evidence on which recognision of discontinuites between plants is 
based is empirical and thus `objective', but interpretation and evaluation in 
terms of when certain kinds and degrees of discontinuity warrant recognition of 
species or subspecies is subjective.

Basically, subspecies are generally used when a geographical race is recognised 
within a species - populations which differ slightly from the rest in morphology
and perhaps ecology and which occupy a coherent part of the species' range. 
However, if they can be recognised in this way, why not call them species, 
instead of creating tedious trinomials?

As to what is the accepted name in a case where there is a difference of 
opinion, make up your own mind, or follow the author you most respect!! This is 
a case where name changes are based on taxonomic opinion rather than ones 
demanded by the rules of nomenclature, so what you accept is up to you.

In anticipation of a rain of abuse...

Alistair Hay

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Subspecies vs. species? 
Author:  <aroid-l@mobot.org> at mailgate
Date:    13/1/99 9:14

What I ever want to know is how is a subspecies defined? No botanist I 
asked gave me a sharp definition. Or is it only a point of view?
For. example: The Anthurium guayanum Bunting was in the revision of the 
Section Pachyneurinum made to ssp. of Anthurium bonplandii.
Yesterday I get Vol.II  Flora of the Venezuelan Guyana. 
There I found that Dr. Bunting who write the Araceae part, made this 
Anthurium again to a species?
So what is the accepted name?
The only nice definition I found is from Charles Darwin's Life and 
Letter P. 105 "Varieties (ssp.) are only small species"
Can somebody give me a hint?
Thomas Mottl

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