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Complex (of species)   [ Taxonomy ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

Synonyms: Group, Aggregate (of species)

  A species is referred as a "complex"  (also group or aggregate) when several different subspecies, variety and forms often with subtle variation in morphology are described from across its vast range.  

The variability in such a “complex” may be due to polymorphisms among different populations and individuals of the same species which are ecologically or geographically separated and whose members exhibit high, but not complete, specificity. Otherwise a complex may be due to the presence of multiple distinct (but morphologically similar) species living together in the same habitat.

The classification of a "complex" species remains problematic. There are in fact  two tendency about how to classify species : by their differences or by their similarities depending on  personal approach of  taxonomists to recognizing differences or commonalities between organisms (See also: Lumpers & splitters)






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