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  •  » Random thoughts on speciation and the problem of Botanphila striolata

#1 2018-05-26 16:53:55

Michael Ackland
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Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 190

Random thoughts on speciation and the problem of Botanphila striolata

Random thoughts on speciation and the problem of Botanphila striolata agg.

Species are a biological concept, based on a population of individuals which  breed with each other but normally not with other similar populations.

These populations may be sympatric or allopatric. In the case of sympatriic populations two or more groups of individuals may be separated by temporal differences, or behavioral differences. In the case of Botanophila striolata/discreta it may be a case of partial separation through incompatibility in courtship behaviour, or difference in period of emergence. 

A species which is in the process of evolving into two groups within a sympatric population, for whatever reason, may have populations which show appreciable morphological differences. But these differences are not consistant in all individuals. Some interbreeding between populations may occur, leading to difficulty assigning some individuals to each group.

In allopatric populations the differences in morphology may be more stable. It is obviously difficult if not impossible to test the breeding viability between allopatric populations of invertebrates.

Because morphology is only one criterion of the presence of non-breeding populations, but is the criterion generally used to recognise species, it is obvious that it is only useful where populations have been separated for long enough and the character states have become distinct enough to be able to rely on them as indications of the presence of distinct breeding populations. These can be classified as morphological species

It would be interesting to get  DNA profiles of species complexes such as the two Botanophila ? species.

I agree with Martin that, for recording purposes, Botanophila striolata agg. may be a recording solution. But I imagine that Verner Michelsen may have been hoping that by resurrecting the name striolata, people may start to provide information on   distribution. Unfortunately most people who collect records want everything cut and dried, and expect experts to pronounce on the validity of the names available, with clear details of how they can be recognised.

D.M Ackland

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