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ecospecieseco-espéce (fr.); Ökospezies (ger.)

  • Each of two or more populations of a species that can interbreed without a decline in fertility, though being distinct on ecological grounds such as in their range of distribution, usual habitat, morphology, or behaviour. (OED 2008)

    In the efforts made by the writer to arrive at an understanding of the Linnean species from an ecological point of view—of the ecospecies, as I prefer to say in the following—studies have been made of a number of plant species.

    Turesson, G. (1922). The species and the variety as ecological units. Hereditas 3, 100-113: 102.


    In view of the necessity of keeping the distinction between ecological and purely genetical units in mind, the term ecospecies has been proposed (Turesson, 1922) to cover the Linnean species or genotype compounds as they are realized in nature.

    Turesson, G. (1922). The genotypical response of the plant species to the habitat. Hereditas 3, 211-350: 344.


    Ökospezies: Eine Amphimiktenpopulation deren sämtliche in der Natur vorkommenden Konstituenten miteinander vitale und fertile Nachkommen geben, die aber mit Konstituenten jeder anderen Population in der Natur weniger vitale und mehr oder weniger sterile Nachkommen gibt. […]

    Ecospecies: An amphimict-population the constituents of which in nature produce vital and fertile descendants with each other giving rise to less vital or more or less sterile descendants in nature, however, when crossed with constituents of any other population. (Illustrated by Geum rivale, Salix viminalis, Viola arvensis, etc.).

    Turesson, G. (1929). Zur Natur und Begrenzung der Arteinheiten. Hereditas 12, 323-334: 332; 333.


    ecospecies A group of populations or ecotypes having the capacity for free exchange of genetic material without loss of fertility or vigour, but having lesser capacity for such exchange with members of other ecospecies groups; closely approximates to a biological species q. v.; oekospecies.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 75.