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Posted by troy h on November 26, 2002 at 08:45:32:
In Reply to: whats the problem with allegheniensis? more... posted by vvvddd on November 25, 2002 at 17:33:21:
we've addressed this a time or two on here, but the splits in Elaphe obsoleta and supposed barriers to gene flow are nonsense. Ratsnakes readily swim large bodies of water (i.e. the mississippi and apalachicola rivers) and populations on either side of both rivers are identical in appearance (=same thing). further, the researcher failed to sample mt passes for ratsnakes, and many of us with experience with these snakes will tell you that these mountains represent no barriers to gene flow. in other words, burbink has failed to demonstrate that his clades in Elaphe obsoleta are genetically isolated. sure, the clades are real lineages, but they are not "species", by any species concept (excepting perhaps the author's).
yes, subspecies are often overused to describe poorly differentiated slices of clines, and occassionally, subspecies mask real divesity (i.e. real species). however, splitting up an obviously interbreeding population of organisms into several "species" serves absolutely no purpose (other than adding a publication to some Ph.D.'s CV).