Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hey, guys.

So, as a junior evolutionary biologist, I get quite excited about learning who came first and what the most recent common ancestor of which species is which.

But then I stumbled onto this -- Dynastes alcides?  I've never heard of this species before. I have to assume it lives somewhere in the Americas since the map says it's closely related to both Dynastes hercules and Dynastes neptunus.

So, does anyone know anything at all about this species? Is it new or is the map wrong? And am I reading this map right?

Capture.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that by current nomenclature, Dynastes alcides is synonymous with D. hercules baudrii, a subspecies of D. hercules present in Martinique and St Lucia.  Formerly, D. alcides (Fabricus, 1781) seems to have been a name used for D. hercules in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, then mystery solved. Thanks, Goliathus.

Also, I'm reading this paper, and from my understanding, it seems to be saying that there should really not be as many subspecies of D. hercules as we describe, right?

And that they should really be classified as wholly different species. For example, instead of D. hercules lichyi we should just say D. lichyi.

Am I correct in this?

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/138820

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the main reason for dividing a species up into various, separate species (or at least, subspecies) is that it provides the opportunity for taxonomists to write papers.  D. hercules has a wide distribution, with many geographical races separated by natural boundaries of one kind or another.  There's probably no significant reason to start dividing up all of these subspecies into separate species - they're all capable of interbreeding, anyway.  D. hercules can hybridize with D. hyllus - could hyllus actually be a ssp. of hercules?  Or, might it actually be a ssp. of granti?  D. tityus and granti can hybridize and produce fertile offspring.  Might tityus and granti just be geographical variations of the same species?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, what you're saying is that it's irrelevant whether they're separate species or not since they can all, to some degree, hybridize and produce fertile/viable offspring?

Makes sense. I just want to know if it's ok to call D. hercules lichyi that or just say D. lichyi. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the general consensus is that lichyi is indeed a ssp. of hercules.  It seems that so long as two species are not separated by any more than about 2 million years of speciation, they should (theoretically) be able to naturally hybridize.  It is suspected that in some cases, even species separated by more than 2 million years may still be able to naturally hybridize.  Mismatched numbers of chromosomes don't always prevent this.  If two species are capable of hybridizing with each other, they will, if the opportunity arises.  Whether or not the offspring of such crossings are fertile however - the results tend to be rather mixed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, gotcha.

Thanks for clarifying that for me, Goliathus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×