Message 2001-10-0004: ssp var f sp

Wed, 24 Oct 2001 22:33:46 +0200

[Previous by date - Re: Subspecies]
[Next by date - Re: ssp var f sp]
[Previous by subject - species under PhyloCode]
[Next by subject - strange website]

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 22:33:46 +0200
From: Torsten Eriksson <>
Subject: ssp var f sp

'scuse the rambling message:

If "species" is a difficult subject, dealing with bits and pieces of 
these "species" may be completely elusive. I guess that most people 
want to keep species because they are used to "them" and they think 
that the term "species" is meaningful in some way.

An alternative might be to just name clades, all the way down to 
where there are no more clades - just individuals with reticulating 
relationships (if they're sexual). De Queiroz and Donoghue (I guess 
it was) argued about "exclusive groups" and this might be what I'm 
aiming at. A group where all are each other's closest relatives, but 
not all descended from a common ancestor necessarily.

If such entities as I envision above were named as "species", why 
would we need anything inside of that? If we find a clade within this 
entity I'd say we made a mistake in the first place. The "species" 
was actually a clade and my take on that is that it should keep the 
name it had. Let the newly discovered "species" get a name.

Now, as I work in a Botanical Garden I realise that there are 
"things" which people want to name which may be inside of such a 
"species" group. There are lots of selected individuals with 
especially nice colours or other characteristics which make them 
valuable as cultivars. People name them cultivate them and sell them. 
Today these get names like: Anemone nemorosa 'Plena'. OK with me as 
long as it has nothing to do with hierarchy. The same goes with 
varieties and forms.
    Subspecies, on the other hand, have commonly been treated as 
distinguishable geographic parts of a species which grade into each 
other. That is, they're treated as something real. In other cases 
it's just species which differ in too few characters to "merit" 
species rank (mega common among lumper/splitters and birders to worry 
about these).
    In my view, the latter kind might just be named like anything 
else, clade or "species". The first kind... how could you name a 
grade? I'm not really sure that kind of variation should be named, 
just described.

In short: name clades down to the least inclusive exclusive groups if 
needed. Lower than that: Name individuals like 'Plena'.


Kevin: If you're keeping your views secret, why bother letting us know?

At 15.21 -0400 01-10-24, Kevin de Queiroz wrote:
>I'm hoping to address this issue in great detail in a future paper.
>Kevin de Queiroz
>>>>  David Marjanovic <> 10/24/01 15:07 PM >>>
>What is going to become of subspecies in phylogenetic nomenclature? Should
>we simply drop them? Should we define them as clades within species?

Dr Torsten Eriksson                       email:
The Bergius Foundation
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Box 50017                                 tel: +46 816 3858
104 05 Stockholm                          fax: +46 861 290 05



Feedback to <> is welcome!