Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Peppered moths on wikipedia


On Wed Aug 30, Chrνstυ wrote
>' . . A taxonomist decides whether to recognize a subspecies or not. A common way to decide is that organisms belonging to different subspecies of the same species are capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring, but they do not usually interbreed in nature due to geographic isolation, sexual selection, or other factors. The differences between subspecies are usually less distinct than the differences between species . . '

The wikipage has more: the different moth colours are called ‘forms’ and distinguished from sub-species by ‘f.’, e.g. Biston betularia f. carbonaria

‘ . . individuals of each morph interbreed and produce fertile offspring with individuals of all other morphs; hence there is only one peppered moth species.

By contrast, different subspecies of the same species can theoretically interbreed with one another and will produce fully fertile and healthy offspring but in practice do not, as they live in different regions or reproduce in different seasons. Full-fledged species are either unable to produce fertile and healthy offspring, or do not recognize each other's courtship signals, or both . .

European breeding experiments have shown that in Biston betularia betularia, the allele for melanism producing morpha carbonaria is controlled by a single locus. The melanic allele is dominant to the non-melanic allele . . ‘

These pages are not linked and were evidently created independently.

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