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Species Concepts

Last updated about 3 years ago

Species Concepts are concepts that were developed to help taxonomists define or identify a species. There are many different concepts such as the Biological Species Concept, Morphological species concept, Phylogenetic species concept and the Genetic species concept.

  • 25856_88_88 Animalia > Cheirogaleidae


    Mouse Lemurs

    Morphological species concept- organisms can be classified is on the basis of morphology, or physical features. Issue with using this concept - example: mouse lemurs look very similar to each other but are actually at least 18 distinct species.

    Alexandra Mushegian, University of Basel
  • 46119_88_88 Animalia > Canidae

    Canis lupus familiaris


    Domestic dogs, for example, can look very different but are actually all one species capable of interbreeding

    Alexandra Mushegian, University of Basel
  • 17566_88_88 Animalia > Felidae

    Panthera tigris


    If lions and tigers are brought together in captivity they can occasionally produce a hybrid called a liger or tigon, but these hybrids are not themselves able to reproduce

    Alexandra Mushegian, University of Basel
  • 46343_88_88 Animalia > Pantherinae Pocock, 1917

    Panthera leo


    Biological species concept- a species is a group of organisms with a shared, closed gene pool. For example, lions produce offspring with other lions.

    Alexandra Mushegian, University of Basel
  • 84246_88_88 Animalia > Ursidae

    Ursus americanus

    American Black Bear

    Ursus americanus is the genus species name for the American black bear. The first part of the name is the genus, a group of related species (in this case bears); the second part of the name is the species within the genus. In some cases, a subspecies can also be designated to further distinguish groups within a species, indicated by the addition of a third name. Ursus americanus has several subspecies, for example, Ursus americanus californiensis and Ursus americanus altifrontalis; these subspecies names refer to the geographical locations in which they’re found.

    Alexandra Mushegian, University of Basel
  • 27208_88_88 Animalia > Pipunculidae


    This is a difficult group and variation in genitalia within species may indicate the presence of species complexes. Molecular data should be included in future revisions of this genus as an independent test of species concepts.

    Jeff Skevington,Tree of Life web project