Species complex

species groupsuperspeciescryptic speciescryptic species complexcomplexsibling speciesspecies-groupspecies flockspecies paircryptic
In biology, a species complex is a group of closely related organisms that are very similar in appearance to the point that the boundaries between them are often unclear.wikipedia
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Species concept

biological species conceptSpecies problemgood species
Recognizing similar but distinct species is important for disease and pest control, and in conservation biology, although drawing dividing lines between species can be inherently difficult.
One common, but sometimes difficult, question is how best to decide which species an organism belongs to, because reproductively isolated groups may not be readily recognizable, and cryptic species may be present.

Grizzled skipper

Pyrgus malvaegrizzledgrizzled skippers
The informal classification, superspecies, can be exemplified by the grizzled skipper butterfly, a superspecies that is further divided into three subspecies.
Referenced as a superspecies, Pyrgus malvae includes three semispecies: malvae, malvoides, and melotis.

Ring species

Rassenkreisring distribution
Examples are ring species or species with subspecies, where it is often unclear if these should be considered separate species.
This is often characterized by sub-species level classifications such as clines, ecotypes, complexes, and varieties.

Morphology (biology)

morphologymorphologicalmorphologically
It may represent an early stage after speciation, but may also have been separated for a long time period without evolving morphological differences.
Cryptic species are species which look very similar, or perhaps even outwardly identical, but are reproductively isolated.

Hybrid speciation

hybrid specieshybridHomoploid hybrid speciation
Hybrid speciation can be a component in the evolution of a species complex. Hybrid speciation can lead to unclear species boundaries through a process of reticulate evolution, where species have two parent species as their most recent common ancestors.
Rapidly diverging species can sometimes form multiple hybrid species, giving rise to a species complex, like several physically divergent but closely related genera of cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi.

Amanita muscaria

fly agaricA. muscariaAmanita
Such methods have greatly contributed to the discovery of cryptic species, including such emblematic species as the fly agaric or the African elephants.
muscaria'' as it stands currently is, evidently, a species complex.

Apomixis

apomicticagamospermyapogamy
Also, asexual reproduction, such as through apomixis in plants, may separate lineages without producing a great degree of morphological differentiation.
They are therefore often called microspecies.

DNA barcoding

DNA barcodebarcodingbarcoded
They are identified by the rigorous study of differences between individual species, making use of minute morphological details, tests of reproductive isolation, or DNA-based methods such as molecular phylogenetics or DNA barcoding.
DNA barcoding enables the identification and recognition of cryptic species.

Reproductive isolation

reproductively isolatedisolating mechanismsisolating mechanism
They are identified by the rigorous study of differences between individual species, making use of minute morphological details, tests of reproductive isolation, or DNA-based methods such as molecular phylogenetics or DNA barcoding.
For example, in the semi-species of the group ''D.

Reticulate evolution

Hybrid speciation can lead to unclear species boundaries through a process of reticulate evolution, where species have two parent species as their most recent common ancestors.
Reticulate evolution can happen between lineages separated only for a short time, for example through hybrid speciation in a species complex.

Taxonomic rank

superfamilysuperfamiliesrank
As informal taxonomic ranks, species group, species aggregate, and superspecies are also in use.

Subspecies

nominate subspeciesnominotypical subspeciesnominate
Examples are ring species or species with subspecies, where it is often unclear if these should be considered separate species.

Bactrocera tryoni

Bactrocera tyroniQueensland fruit flyQueensland Fruit Fly (Bactrocera tyroni)
Examples are cryptic species in the malaria vector genus of mosquito, Anopheles,the fungi causing cryptococcosis, and sister species of Bactrocera tyroni, or the Queensland fruit fly.
These are called sibling species.

Allopatric speciation

allopatricvicarianceallopatry
A Dictionary of Zoology (Oxford University Press 1999) describes a species group as complex of related species that exist allopatrically and explains that this "grouping can often be supported by experimental crosses in which only certain pairs of species will produce hybrids."
Some examples of abutting species and superspecies (an informal rank referring to a complex of closely related allopatrically distributed species, also called allospecies, ) include:

Pristimantis ockendeni

Eleutherodactylus ockendeni
As an examples, the Amazonian frog Pristimantis ockendeni is actually at least three different species that diverged over 5 million years ago.
Research published in early 2008 suggested that in Ecuador the species is actually at least three different cryptic species that diverged at least 5 million years ago.

Darwin's finches

finchesGalapagos finchesGalápagos finches
The first species flock to be recognized as such was the 13 species of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos Islands described by Charles Darwin.

Organism

organismsflora and faunaliving organisms
In biology, a species complex is a group of closely related organisms that are very similar in appearance to the point that the boundaries between them are often unclear.

Biological specificity

conspecificcongenerconspecifics
Two or more taxa once considered conspecific (of the same species) may later be subdivided into infraspecific taxa (taxa within a species, such as bacterial strains or plant varieties), but this is not a species complex.

Infraspecific name

infraspecific taxainfraspecific taxoninfraspecific
Two or more taxa once considered conspecific (of the same species) may later be subdivided into infraspecific taxa (taxa within a species, such as bacterial strains or plant varieties), but this is not a species complex.

Strain (biology)

strainstrainsmember virus
Two or more taxa once considered conspecific (of the same species) may later be subdivided into infraspecific taxa (taxa within a species, such as bacterial strains or plant varieties), but this is not a species complex.

Variety (botany)

varietiesvarietyvar.
Two or more taxa once considered conspecific (of the same species) may later be subdivided into infraspecific taxa (taxa within a species, such as bacterial strains or plant varieties), but this is not a species complex.

DNA

deoxyribonucleic aciddouble-stranded DNAdsDNA
They are identified by the rigorous study of differences between individual species, making use of minute morphological details, tests of reproductive isolation, or DNA-based methods such as molecular phylogenetics or DNA barcoding.

Molecular phylogenetics

molecular phylogeneticmolecularmolecular phylogeny
They are identified by the rigorous study of differences between individual species, making use of minute morphological details, tests of reproductive isolation, or DNA-based methods such as molecular phylogenetics or DNA barcoding.