Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Sat Nov 9 02:09:16 EST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stanley A. Gorodenski" <stanlep at>

Subject: Re: Cynthia

> Just a thought that I do not expect to be answered: Could this dilemma
> be a symptom of the failure of taxonomists to have a valid species
> concept to guide their work? I think so. Taxonomists base
> classifications on similarities and dissimilarities without regard to
> evolutionary considerations.

I disagree completely.  I don't think I've described a taxon in the last 6
years that did not include an evolutionary theory as to its origin.  I have
also proposed a new kind of subspecies - phenosyncronic.  A type of
parallel evolution.  Further, I have stated that this type of subspeciation
is more significant that simple morphological or phenotypic subspeciation.
I would say that cryptic species come through the route of phenosyncronic
subspecies.  Euphyes bayensis and Euphyes dion are examples.  They do not
differ in genitalia and many males are very difficult to distinguish by
human sight.  Now, I do think that the reason a lot of folks don't like
(butterfly) subspecies is that there was a period when subspecies where
being described simply by simple "similarities and dissimilarities".  But a
great many taxa have been presented with a lot of evolutionary
consideration and mapping - esp. biogeographical.

 As a result, there will always be cases,
> such as the one currently being discussed, where taxonomic
> classifications are discordant with the reality of evolutionary
> lineages, i.e., species in two different genera (the taxonomic
> classification) hybridize (an indication of the evolutionary lineage).
> In this context, it seems the value of taxonomic work is lessened if
> there is not a valid species concept underlying it.

There is no such thing a _A_ valid species (taxonomic) concept.  A concept
is just a human conception.  Living things have not arrived at the state
they are presently at by concept.  They have arrived at where they are in
their inter and intra relationships by the way they got there.  It is a
great folly for systematists to stupidly argue over whose concept if the
correct ONE.  There are many routes  - including the constructed biota
concept.  Except this is no longer a concept, it is a fact.  A fact we call
genetic engineering.  A couple hundred years from now we may even have a
new Order of new genera and species totally reproductively stable resultant
from human genetic engineering.  Just as there are elements made by humans.

Who cares if so-n-so "likes" ______ concept.  One concept renders this
model and another concept renders that model and another another.   This is
why when I approach a taxon I try to hear what it is saying, not try to
shoe horn it into my concept(s).  Some say they took the train, some
walked, and some have not stayed put.   Not only are our concepts only
valid if there is an organic reality that exists (existed) of that pattern,
but they are detrimental to science if there is no actual reality of them.

I think it is dangerous to draw too many conclusion from hybrids.  Read too
much into what such an "event" actually indicates.   One freak (hybrid) is
why we have the massive generic lumping under Callophrys.

Ron Gatrelle


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