subspecies

noun
sub·spe·cies | \ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz, -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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from subspecies

subspecific \ˌsəb-spi-ˈsi-fik \ adjective

Examples of subspecies in a Sentence

There are two subspecies of bison in North America.

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Since March 31, an additional 57 cases of the salmonella subspecies have been reported. Nathan Seppa, WIRED, "Pet Frogs Transmit Salmonella," 25 Oct. 2010

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.

See More

First Known Use of subspecies

1681, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for subspecies

New Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subspecies

Share subspecies

Statistics for subspecies

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subspecies

The first known use of subspecies was in 1681

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for subspecies

subspecies

noun

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 \

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 \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on subspecies

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about subspecies

Comments on subspecies

What made you want to look up subspecies? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!