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In
biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mecha ...
, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
living in different subdivisions of the species' range and varying from one another by morphological characteristics. A single subspecies cannot be recognized independently: a species is either recognized as having no subspecies at all or at least two, including any that are extinct. The term may be abbreviated to subsp. or ssp. The
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or ph ...

plural
is the same as the singular: ''subspecies''. In
zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical stru ...
, under the
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted in that rules the formal of treated as s. It is also informally known as the ICZN Code, for its publisher, the (which shares the acronym "ICZN"). The rules princi ...
, the subspecies is the only taxonomic rank below that of species that can receive a name. In
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
and
mycology Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungus, fungi, including their genetics, genetic and biochemistry, biochemical properties, their Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy and ethnomycology, their use to humans as a source for ti ...
, under the
International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, ...
, other infraspecific ranks, such as
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
, may be named. In
bacteriology Bacteriology is the branch and specialty of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactio ...
and
virology Virology is the scientific study of virusessubmicroscopic, parasitic organisms of genetic material contained in a protein coatand virus-like agents. It focuses on the following aspects of viruses: their structure, classification and evolution, t ...
, under standard
bacterial nomenclatureThe International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) formerly the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria (ICNB) or Bacteriological Code (BC) governs the scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
and virus nomenclature, there are recommendations but not strict requirements for recognizing other important infraspecific ranks. A taxonomist decides whether to recognize a subspecies. A common criterion for recognizing two distinct populations as subspecies rather than full species is the ability of them to
interbreed In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
even if some male offspring may be sterile. In the wild, subspecies do not interbreed due to
geographic isolation Allopatric speciation (from Ancient Greek ἄλλος, ''allos'', meaning "other", and πατρίς, ''patris'', "fatherland"), also referred to as geographic speciation, vicariant speciation, or its earlier name, the dumbbell model, is a mode of ...
or
sexual selection Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrat ...
. The differences between subspecies are usually less distinct than the differences between species.


Nomenclature

The
scientific name In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
of a species is a binomial or binomen, and comprises two
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
words, the first denoting the
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying gr ...
and the second denoting the species. The scientific name of a subspecies is formed slightly differently in the different nomenclature codes. In zoology, under the ''
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted in that rules the formal of treated as s. It is also informally known as the ICZN Code, for its publisher, the (which shares the acronym "ICZN"). The rules princi ...
'' (''ICZN''), the scientific name of a subspecies is termed a
trinomen In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is a ...
, and comprises three words, namely the binomen followed by the name of the subspecies. For example, the binomen for the
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant in the ', a member of the cat , . It occurs in a wide range in , in some parts of and , , and on the to and . It is listed as on the because leopard populations are threatened ...

leopard
is ''Panthera pardus''. The trinomen ''Panthera pardus fusca'' denotes a subspecies, the
Indian leopard The Indian leopard (''Panthera pardus fusca'') is a leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant in the ', a member of the cat , . It occurs in a wide range in , in some parts of and , , and on the to and . It is ...

Indian leopard
. All components of the trinomen are written in italics. In
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
, subspecies is one of many ranks below that of species, such as
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
,
subvariety A subvariety (Latin: ''subvarietas'') in botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from Alpha taxonomy, taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classif ...
,
form Form is the shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, Surface texture, texture, or material type. A plane shape, ...
, and subform. To identify the rank, the subspecific name must be preceded by "subspecies" (which can be abbreviated to "subsp." or "ssp."), as in ''Schoenoplectus californicus'' subsp. ''tatora''. In
bacteriology Bacteriology is the branch and specialty of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactio ...

bacteriology
, the only rank below species that is regulated explicitly by the code of nomenclature is ''subspecies'', but infrasubspecific taxa are extremely important in bacteriology; Appendix 10 of the code lays out some recommendations that are intended to encourage uniformity in describing such taxa. Names published before 1992 in the rank of ''variety'' are taken to be names of subspecies (see ''
International Code of Nomenclature of ProkaryotesThe International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) formerly the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria (ICNB) or Bacteriological Code (BC) governs the scientific names for Bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular ...
''). As in botany, ''subspecies'' is conventionally abbreviated as "subsp.", and is used in the scientific name: ''
Bacillus subtilis ''Bacillus subtilis'', known also as the hay bacillus or grass bacillus, is a Gram-positive 300px, Violet-stained gram-positive cocci and pink-stained gram-negative bacillus (shape), bacilli In bacteriology, gram-positive bacteria are bacteria ...

Bacillus subtilis
'' subsp. ''spizizenii''. Full text available from PDF link at this page; direct URL to PDF is auto-generated and expires.


Nominotypical subspecies and subspecies autonyms

In
zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is also informally known as the IC ...
, when a species is split into subspecies, the originally described population is retained as the "nominotypical subspecies" or "nominate subspecies", which repeats the same name as the species. For example, ''Motacilla alba alba'' (often abbreviated ''M. a. alba'') is the nominotypical subspecies of the
white wagtail The white wagtail (''Motacilla alba'') is a small passerine A passerine is any bird of the Order (biology), order Passeriformes (, Latin ''passer'' (“sparrow”) + ''formis'' (“-shaped”)), which includes more than half of all bird spec ...

white wagtail
(''Motacilla alba''). The subspecies name that repeats the species name is referred to in
botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such ...
as the subspecies "
autonym Autonym may refer to: * Autonym, the name used by a person to refer to themselves or their language; see Exonym and endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used ...
", and the subspecific taxon as the "autonymous subspecies".


Doubtful cases

When zoologists disagree over whether a certain population is a subspecies or a full species, the species name may be written in parentheses. Thus ''Larus (argentatus) smithsonianus'' means the
American herring gull The American herring gull or Smithsonian gull (''Larus smithsonianus'' or ''Larus argentatus smithsonianus'') is a large gull that breeds in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost ...

American herring gull
; the notation within the parentheses means that some consider it a subspecies of a larger
herring gullHerring gull is a common name for several birds in the genus ''Larus'', all formerly treated as a single species. Three species are still combined in some taxonomies: * American herring gull (''Larus smithsonianus'') - North America * European her ...

herring gull
species and therefore call it ''Larus argentatus smithsonianus'', while others consider it a full species and therefore call it ''Larus smithsonianus'' (and the user of the notation is not taking a position).


Criteria

A subspecies is a taxonomic rank below species – the only such rank recognized in the zoological code, and one of three main ranks below species in the botanical code. When geographically separate populations of a species exhibit recognizable
phenotypic right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of petal color in pea plants. The letters B and b represent gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen ...

phenotypic
differences, biologists may identify these as separate subspecies; a subspecies is a recognized local variant of a species. Botanists and mycologists have the choice of ranks lower than subspecies, such as variety (varietas) or form (forma), to recognize smaller differences between populations.


Monotypic and polytypic species

In biological terms, rather than in relation to nomenclature, a polytypic species has two or more genetically and phenotypically divergent subspecies, races, or more generally speaking,
population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size of the resident population within their jurisdiction by a process called a ...

population
s that differ from each other so that a separate description is warranted. These distinct groups do not interbreed as they are isolated from another, but they can interbreed and have fertile offspring, e.g. in captivity. These subspecies, races, or populations, are usually described and named by zoologists, botanists and microbiologists. In a
monotypic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
species, all populations exhibit the same genetic and phenotypical characteristics. Monotypic species can occur in several ways: * All members of the species are very similar and cannot be sensibly divided into biologically significant subcategories. * The individuals vary considerably, but the variation is essentially random and largely meaningless so far as genetic transmission of these variations is concerned. * The variation among individuals is noticeable and follows a pattern, but there are no clear dividing lines among separate groups: they fade imperceptibly into one another. Such clinal variation always indicates substantial
gene flow In , gene flow (also known as gene migration or geneflow and flow) is the transfer of material from one to another. If the rate of gene flow is high enough, then two populations will have equivalent allele frequencies and therefore can be cons ...

gene flow
among the apparently separate groups that make up the population(s). Populations that have a steady, substantial gene flow among them are likely to represent a monotypic species, even when a fair degree of genetic variation is obvious.


See also

*
Breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the Science, sciences and statistics relating to the Uniformity (chemistry), uniformity of a Chemical substance, substa ...
*
Glossary of scientific naming This is a list of terms and symbols used in scientific names for organisms, and in describing the names. For proper parts of the names themselves, see List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names. Note that many of the abbreviati ...
* Cultivar in botany *
Form (botany) In botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from Alpha taxonomy, taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classifying plants; botanical nomenclature ...
*
Form (zoology) In zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolution, Biological ...
*
Landrace A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art an ...
*
Polymorphism (biology) In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
*
Race (biology) In Taxonomy (biology), biological taxonomy, race is an informal group (taxonomy), informal Taxonomic rank, rank in the taxonomic hierarchy for which various definitions exist. Sometimes it is used to denote a level below that of subspecies, while ...
*
Strain (biology) In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
*
Variety (botany) In botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the ...
*
Species complex In biology, a species complex is a group of closely related organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms a ...
*
Ecotype Image:Ecotypes of Physcomitrella patens.JPG, 224x224px, Four different ecotypes of ''Physcomitrella patens'', stored at the International Moss Stock Center In evolutionary ecology, an ecotype,Greek: ''οίκος'' = home and ''τύπος'' = type ...
*
Phenotype right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of petal color in pea plants. The letters B and b represent gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen ...

Phenotype


References


Citations


Sources

* * *


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Subspecies Botanical nomenclature 1rank25 rank25 Biology terminology