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paraspeciesParaspezies (ger.)

  • 1) Taxonomic category of organisms which are only available as fragmented fossils. (HWB)

    A majority of […] fragmentary fossils can be classified readily on form characters and are found to have much importance in stratigraphic paleontology. A retarding influence in describing and illustrating fossil fragments, however, is the great difficulty which has been encountered in devising a suitable system of nomenclature for them. […] Solution of the problem is offered in proposing for fragmental remains of animals a distinct category of classificatory units termed parataxa (associate taxa) which are subject to all zoological rules like taxa. Such names applied to paragenera, paraspecies, etc., would not be transferable to correlative taxa used for whole animals.

    Moore, R.C. & Sylvester-Bradley, P.C. (1956). Problem of scientific nomenclature applicable to fragmentary fossils. J. Paleontol. 30, 999.

  • 2) The smallest unresolved group in phylogenetic analyses of speciation.

    terminal taxa of the E. core kind, or ‘residues’ of the D. gilippus sort, we term paraspecies. (This is not to be confused with the form- or para-species of palaeontologists—Blackwelder, 1967.)

    Ackery, P.R. & Vane-Wright, R.I. (1984). Milkweed Butterflies, Their Cladistics and Biology. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Publ. No. 893: 21.


    Ackery and Vane-Wright […] suggested that “positively” monophyletic units be called “cladospecies” and that the smallest unresolved units be called “paraspecies”. The term “paraspecies” might perpetuate the failure to distinguish clearly between “positively paraphyletic” groups and unresolved groups, and for this reason Queiroz et al. (MS in prep.) use “metaspecies” for the smallest unresolved groups.

    Donoghue, M.J. (1985). A critique of the biological species concept and recommendations for a phylogenetic alternative. Bryologist 88, 172-181: 179.