RE: NANFA-- s u b species (was fantail darters)

Frank O'Carroll (
Sun, 23 Jan 2000 08:21:15 +0900

this had bounced. list software can't tell between s u b species and s u b s c r i b e ...
-- frank ocarroll, nanfa list manager

-------- Original Message --------

Message-ID: <>
From: "Hoover, Jan J WES" <>
To: "''" <nanfa at>
Subject: RE: NANFA-- subspecies (was fantail darters)
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 14:28:35 -0600

>The large
>number of subspecies we have now are a reflection of a prior way of doing
>systematics, one which is slowly being replaced as we gain data on various
>groups of organisms...and as old taxonomists retire!

Who will speak for the subspecies? I will! And I'm not even an "old

Sub-species may be problematic for modern evolutionary biologists, but they
are still a convenient way to delineate (taxonomically and geographically)
distinctive and consistent variation within a species. Recognizing
subspecies is a way of aknowledging specific events in the history of a
species (e.g., glaciation-induced isolation of Esox americanus). Some
long-recognized subspecies are now recognized as legitimate species (e.g.,
redspotted and blackspotted sunfishes).

Many of the pioneering taxonomists were insightful and intuitive. They were
able to recognize distinctiveness of such forms, but often lacked sufficent
museum material or analytical techniques to determine whether those forms
were truly a single or multiple species. That work is now in the hands of
multivariate statisticians, gel jocks, and molecular biologists, or
ichthyologists savvy in those techniques. Many of the questions being
explored though are a direct result of subspecies being described and
acknowledged in the "old" scientific literature.

Our knowledge of North American fish phylogenies and biodiversity have been
substantially enhanced by the recognition of subspecies. As Ann Landers
might say - "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."

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