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Monotypy

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Monotypy

"Monotypic" redirects here. For the type of printmaking, see monotyping.

In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group which contains only one immediately subordinate taxon.[1][2] For example, a monotypic species is one that does not include subspecies or smaller, infraspecific taxa. Although the phrase appears to indicate that a taxon has a single type specimen (with no syntypes, lectotypes, or other types), this is not the usage.

The term's usage differs slightly between taxonomy and conservation biology.

In taxonomy

Just as the term "monotypic" is used to describe a large taxon including only one subdivision, one can also refer to the contained taxon as monotypic within the larger taxon, e.g. a genus monotypic within a family. (In the case of monotypic genera, the term "unispecific" is sometimes preferred.)Template:Ctn Some examples of monotypic groups are listed below.

  • The family Cephalotaceae includes only one genus, Cephalotus, and only one species, Cephalotus follicularis – the Albany pitcher plant.
  • The aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is monotypic within the genus Orycteropus, which is monotypic within the family Orycteropodidae, which is itself monotypic within the order Tubulidentata.
  • The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is a monotypic species; no subspecies have been distinguished within the species.
  • The bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus) has a few subspecies across its range, but belongs to the genus Panurus which current knowledge considers monotypic (the only genus) within the family Panuridae.

Conservation biology

In conservation biology, a monotypic habitat is a habitat that is dominated by a single species, often an invasive one, at the expense of biodiversity.[3]

The monotypic habitat occurs in botanical and zoological contexts. In restoration ecology of native plant communities or habitats, some invasive species create monotypic stands that replace and/or prevent other species, especially indigenous ones, from growing there. A dominant colonization can occur from retardant chemicals exuded, nutrient monopolization, or from lack of natural controls such as herbivores or climate, that keep them in balance with their native habitats.Template:Ctn

  • A botanical example of a monotypic habitat is the area in California invaded by the Mediterranean yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), where it currently dominates over 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2).[4][5]
  • A zoological example of a monotypic habitat is the parts of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed colonized by the freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) of southern Russia. A single female can produce upwards of one million eggs per year; without its home-range predator control, it chokes out competing fauna.

See also

Biology portal

References

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