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demeDem (ger.)

  • A local population of closely related plants or animals; also used as the second element of more precise terms, as in ecodeme, gamodeme, topodeme, etc. (OED 2011)

    Deme: any assemblage of taxonomically closely related individuals.

    Gilmour, J.S.L. & Gregor, J.W. (1939). Demes: a suggested new terminology. Nature 144, 333.

    Simpson, G.G. (1953). The Major Features of Evolution; Wright, S. (1955). Classification of the factors of evolution. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 20, 16-24; Mayr (1963): 137.

    deme: […] any group of individuals of a specified taxon

    Gilmour, J.S.L. & Heslop-Harrison, J. (1954). The deme terminology and the units of micro-evolutionary change. Genetica 27, 147-161: 152.


    The smallest unit of population that has evolutionary significance is a group of individual animals (of one species or subspecies) so localized that they are in easy and more or less frequent contact with each other […]. That minimal population unit is called a deme.

    Simpson, G.G. (1961). Principles of Animal Taxonomy: 176.


    deme A local interbreeding group; panmictic unit; also used loosely to refer to any local group of individuals of a given species; used as a neutral term in combination with qualifying prefixes, [...].

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 65.