Mon Feb 7 12:38:53 EST 2000

Cris and listers,

	I was going to just let it go, but then realized that Cris Guppy 
mentioned a couple of things that I just had to respond to.

	Cris clearly *does* view subspecies in a completely different 
light than I do.  For him, a subspecies name can simply be used 
as a tag on a geographically separated population, whether there is 
anything biologically distinct going on in that population or not.  To 
me, this is simply insufficient.  There is also clearly nothing I can 
say that would convince him that this is an inappropriate use of the 
subspecific concept.  I also need to state clearly that, although it 
probably sounded different in my first message, that it is *not* the 
subspecies concept per se that I am opposed to, it is its typical 
*use*.  I would bet that the vast majority of subspecies in *most 
organisms are named based on *visible* marking differences, or 
size differences, or some other kind of difference that, although it 
may be quantifiable, may have nothing to do with anything 
important in the biology of the populations involved.  Indeed, the 
reason why I cringed when I saw the *Systematics on Western 
Butterflies* book advertised with a statement about 210 new 
subspecies being described, is because I feared that all of these 
subspecies would be described precisely as I stated above, and, 
after looking at the book, it's true!!  This subspecies can be 
*recognized* by the slightly larger subterminal spot on the 
forewing, that subspecies can be recognized by the slightly darker, 
more olive coloration on the underside of the hindwing, etc.  In 
virtually all cases, there is *nothing* in the description of these 
subspecies describing anything about the *biology* of these new 
subspecies *being different* from other subspecies.  In my opinion, 
it doesn't matter whether *we* can recognize some population as 
slightly different, it is whether or not the *populations* treat each 
other as something distinct.  This is my biggest complaint with the 
use of the subspecies concept -- rarely are subspecies 
investigated in terms of their biology in relationship to other 
subspecies; indeed, I doubt sincerely that the biology of a lot of the 
already *existing* "subspecies" is well known before new ones are 

	Now I'm done!


Dr. James K. Adams
Dept. of Natural Science and Math
Dalton State College
213 N. College Drive
Dalton, GA  30720
Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533
U of Michigan's President James Angell's 
  Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"

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