Infraspecific categories in insects



Infraspecific categories are widely used for Lepidoptera, probably because of the attention from collectors that this order has received, but in other groups of insects their use is more restricted. The terms subspecies, race, form, variety, aberration, phase and caste are all employed by entomologists but with no great consistency. This is unfortunate because the phenomena which they are intended to describe are easily categorized; it should be possible to achieve a more standardized usage.

Since genetic isolation is necessary to permit the divergence of a population to a state on which it may be appropriate to bestow an infraspecific label, factors contributing towards a state of isolation in insect populations are discussed.