Species definitions

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Thu Sep 6 15:47:45 EDT 2001

Hello again.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kenelm Philip" <fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu>
Re: Species definitions!

I'm a bit confused now. When I quoted the first sentence of Ron's

> 1) Are there, and do we know - that plants and animals are different?
> If so, then the rank of Kingdom is clearly defined to a 3 year old -
> even though they don't know the terms, Plantae/Animalia.

and commented:
What about the single-celled organisms that may, or may not, contain
chlorophyll? Back when there were only two kingdoms, it was totally
unclear as to whether these were plants or animals. The hypothetical
3 year old might have a bit of trouble dealing with five kingdoms, let
alone the Woese system of domains with _lots_ of kingdoms.

Ron's reply was:

> RG - This is why I said
> "Simple, in our Order, they have sex all the time and reproduce (repli-
> cate) themselves ...."   By our Order I meant Lepidoptera ( the Order
> at hand - not one of the 5 current Kingdoms)

That reply does not address my comment--which is limited to plants
versus animals, and has nothing to say about Lepidoptera--which I mentioned
later on in my note.

    New stuff RG - That is because the "what about" was to me a deviation
from the subject of species definitions, specifically re Lepidoptera. I was
moving through a series of _broad_ examples to address Leps species - not
refined peripheral what ifs - not some exception to a rule.  I was not
trying to take us to the edge of home plate to discuss when a strike
becomes a ball. I was trying to direct the focus to the center of the
plate - to common knowledge where not even an umpire (=cladist) is needed.
Perhaps I should have said   "..plants (trees, grass, flowers) and animals
(dogs, cats, people)..."  Let me rephrase.   _Within_ the animal Kingdom is
an Order called Lepidoptera which is made up of species - the center of the
contextual plate.  The ten examples I gave are all just parts of a single
illustration. The injection of how many Kingdoms, other theoretical
systems, etc. is like bringing up how baseballs are manufactured into a
discussion on where the center of the strike zone is.  From this
perspective my reply makes sense - I was saying the one celled
organism is irrelevant to the topic of sexually reproductive species
the Order Lepidoptera  _within_ the Animal Kingdom.

Perhaps my problem is that in the original question I read it as "What
makes a _butterfly or moth_ a species?"     Rather than - " In dealing with
mitochondrial DNA sequences, specifically in relation to understudied areas
like COI or ND5 (at least in Lepidoptera) -- and  considered exclusive of
any nuclear protein coding -- how are species defined, assuming they can be
delineated from such limited material examination, and at what point or
loci absent of additional examination of other amino acids? "
> Then to my comment on Rhopalocera/Heterocera Ron said:
> > RG -- Ken you're an old guy what are you doing b[r]inging this up

    I was just being light and social = not serious.  I had also posted a
lot of verbiage
that day and was self-conscious about hogging the Kbytes. I also just
didn't want to get into that at that time - or now.  Someone else can do
that :-)

Cheery Ronnie

PS  I guess my problem is that I think to much like a 3 year old. Must be
because I am around one so much - my well hung grandson of last post. 8^)


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