subspecies

noun
sub·​spe·​cies | \ ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz How to pronounce subspecies (audio) , -sēz \

Definition of subspecies

: a subdivision of a species: such as
a : a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a species and designates a population of a particular geographic region genetically distinguishable from other such populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs
b : a named subdivision (such as a race or variety) of a taxonomic species
c : subgroup sense 1 a political subspecies

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Other Words from subspecies

subspecific \ ˌsəb-​spi-​ˈsi-​fik How to pronounce subspecific (audio) \ adjective

Examples of subspecies in a Sentence

There are two subspecies of bison in North America.
Recent Examples on the Web The evolutionary scientists who followed Darwin suggested that a subspecies represents an early stage of species formation. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A PhD student proved one of Darwin's theories of evolution 140 years after his death," 19 Mar. 2020 The zoo births using frozen sperm are part of efforts to develop knowledge needed to save a subspecies called the northern white rhino, officials say. USA TODAY, "Operation Santa, missing Jesus, Future the rhino: News from around our 50 states," 12 Dec. 2019 Mites that cause scabies in humans are a different subspecies called Sarcoptes scabiei hominis. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Backyard deer raise concerns about spread of disease: Health Matters," 8 Dec. 2019 Both subspecies, the Ozark and Eastern hellbenders, live exclusively in cool, fast-moving water and are sensitive to pollution and changes in habitat. Jackson Landers, Smithsonian, "Giving ’Em Hell(benders) at the Saint Louis Zoo," 1 June 2017 The majority of wild tigers left are of the Bengal subspecies, while the other four—Siberian, Indochinese, Malay, and Sumatran—are highly endangered. Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic, "Tiger Kills Zookeeper in 'Freak Accident'," 30 May 2017 The local subspecies can weigh up to 8 pounds and the largest birds can have a wingspan of 7 feet or more. NOLA.com, "How the brown pelican came back from the brink of extinction," 26 May 2017 The most distinctive type of slime is a subspecies called floam, thickened by a spoonful of Styrofoam pellets. Jamie Lauren Keiles, The New Yorker, "The “Oddly Satisfying” Pleasures of Slime Porn," 17 May 2017 In China, a subspecies called the white-handed gibbon may have gone extinct as well. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Most Primate Species Threatened With Extinction, Scientists Find," 18 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subspecies.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subspecies

1681, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for subspecies

New Latin

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Time Traveler for subspecies

Time Traveler

The first known use of subspecies was in 1681

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Cite this Entry

“Subspecies.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subspecies. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for subspecies

subspecies

noun
How to pronounce subspecies (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subspecies

: a group of related plants or animals that is smaller than a species : a division of a species

subspecies

noun
sub·​spe·​cies | \ ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz, -sēz How to pronounce subspecies (audio) \

Medical Definition of subspecies

: a subdivision of a species: as
a : a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a species and designates a population of a particular geographical region genetically distinguishable from other such populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs
b : a named subdivision (as a race or variety) of a species

Other Words from subspecies

subspecific \ ˌsəb-​spi-​ˈsif-​ik How to pronounce subspecific (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on subspecies

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subspecies

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about subspecies

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