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races, patternclasses, ssp


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Posted by troy h on December 16, 2002 at 12:29:51:

In Reply to: Re: Assumptions, definitions and generalizations posted by emoneill on December 14, 2002 at 13:26:03:

i haven't seen grismer's definition of a "pattern class", however, i would think that this term could be used to describe different variants found within the same region, such as striped/banded cal kings or blairs/alterna phase gray-banded kings.

geographic race or ssp have a geographic affinity. subspecies does seem to imply that speciation is in the process of occuring, and this is a problem that many researchers have with the use of this term, especially when they uncover patterns of evolution and speciation that do not follow the boundaries of the subspecies as recognized. perhaps then "race" would better distinguish these geographically identifiable subsets of a population?

case in point: if i say "yellow rat snake" or give its trinomial "Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata" you have a clue of what the snake looks like, the habitat it came from, and its geographic affinity. that's easier than saying "an Elaphe obsoleta of the striped pattern-class originating from the oak hammocks of penninsular florida".

further - if you catch 10 "E. allegheniensis" from Liberty County Florida, on the east side of the Blountstown/Bristol Bridge, and then you catch 10 "E. spiloides" from Calhoun County, FL, on the west side of the same bridge, put them in a bag together and shake them up, could you correctly ID them?

troy


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