(abbreviation subsp. or ssp.)
noun (plural same)Biology
A taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g., (in zoology) Ursus arctos horribilis or (in botany) Beta vulgaris subsp. crassa. Compare with form (sense 3 of the noun) and variety (sense 2).
- Japan's Iriomote cat was recently demoted from a distinct species to an island subspecies of leopard cat.
- At the time, it was thought that all the subspecies were separated geographically, at least on the breeding grounds if not entirely in winter.
- For the data analysis, subspecies and varieties were treated as full species.
- Example sentences
- Genetic data based on mitochondrial DNA generally support current subspecific classifications based on phenotypic traits.
- Molecular genetic studies of Song Sparrows across North America have also had difficulty finding concordance between genetic variation and subspecific designations based on phenotype.
- Our original tree included a handful of subspecific taxa as well, but these have been excluded for the present analyses.
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