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Allopatric Speciation

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  • Last Updated : 05 Dec, 2022
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The main objective of the evolution process is to produce new species. Evolution is a non-ending process of nature. It helps to create modernized species around the globe. From the ancestor, a new species is developed with the help of evolution. Natural Selection, Genetic changes help to create new species. The creation of new species can’t take place within a week or two. It is a very large process that takes several years to complete. After creating a new species evolution still works on the species. It helps to further develop. Evolution is a large process that is completed by small processes like Speciation.

What Is Speciation?

Speciation is the most important step of the evolution process. The main goal of evolution is to create new species. In simple words, Speciation is the process by which a new species can be developed from the ancestor species. This Speciation is more related to the Divergent Evolution process. In the Divergent Evolution process also from a single ancestor species two or more species developed.

Speciation mainly works on a single species. The main driving force behind Speciation is isolation. A group of creatures of the same species gets isolated. They start developing themselves as per the rule of their habitat. In this way, they produced a new trait in them. This new trait will make a difference from the ancestor species. Hence, the Speciation process is being developed.

The Speciation process can be divided into four groups. They are the Allopatric Speciation, Parapatric Speciation, Peripatric Speciation, and Sympatric Speciation. Every group of Speciation is unique. Speciation leads to making new species in nature.

Allopatric Speciation

Speciation

 

Allopatric Speciation is an important Speciation process. In this case, a barrier forms in nature. A certain barrier divides the species into two or more groups. These groups will create new species in the far future. In a certain area, a species was developing. But due to physical barriers in nature, the groups of species are divided into subgroups. So, they are forced to live in separation. In this form, they have to stay for a long time.

Spending a long time of separation, the genetic structure of the subgroups of the species developed differently. They occur different abilities into them as per the environment of the habitat. In this way, they will be completely in the reproductive isolated stage. This means that between these two subgroups there can’t be any reproduction process will happen.

These traits will be transferred to the next generation of subgroups. Years by year, the two different subgroups are going from two different species. Hence the Speciation process happened there. This particular process of forming species is known as Allopatric Speciation. In this Speciation process, a species doesn’t want to separate & create new species. But nature forces them to create new species in this case.

Steps Of Allopatric Speciation

Creation Of Barrier

This is the first step of Allopatric Speciation. Here, first, a physical barrier is created. Physical barrier means those types of things that act as a hazard in between two spaces. Like an earthquake, the soil can be divided into two parts. That can act as a barrier. Sometimes any mountain can be created. That can act as a barrier. This will start the process of Allopatric Speciation.

Genetic Change

Due to the creation of the barrier, any species divides into two or more subspecies. These subspecies can able again meet together. This is a long process. In this long process, the subspecies will meet huge changes in them. These changes will not occur overnight. This is the process of genetic change. In one generation, some new traits occur due to physical barriers. This change will be inherited by the next generation. This will influence the genetic change process. In this way, two or more new species developed.

Reproductive Isolation

After a huge change in the genetic structure, those two or more subspecies can’t able to reproduce among themselves. It means intra-subspecies reproduction will get stopped from a certain point. This is the previous step of making a new species from those subspecies. When two subspecies can’t able to reproduce then it is an indication of the creation of new species. This happens as the genetic structure of those subspecies is completely different.

Creation Of New Species

After reproductive isolation is completed successfully, it is a matter of time to make a new species. The barrier is the main driven force here. It is the natural selection process. Here, the species which can able to incur new traits among them will survive in nature. Other subspecies will get disappeared.

Types Of Allopatric Speciation

Depending upon the structure of the physical barrier, the Allopatric Speciation can be divided into two models. The type of physical barrier is the main key point to making two models in the Allopatric Speciation. Though the base of these divisions is not much strong.

Peripatric Type

In this type of Allopatric Speciation, the physical barrier is completely unstable. This means the presence of the physical barrier is not last long. In such cases, due to the creation of the barrier, one species is divided into two or more subgroups. But after some time, when the barrier gets disappeared, they are free to mate again. But due to long separation, they can’t come close to each other for the reproductive isolation process.

Like in the case of a flood, the water may act as a barrier. But after a long time, the flood can get disappeared from that area. This might act as an unstable barrier. So, the groups are now free to again mate. In these cases, it is completely the choice of the groups whether they will again meet or not. But in the evolution process, their habitat will again overlap with this theory.

Vicariant Type

This is the traditional type we can see. In such cases, the barrier is stable in condition. This means that once created, the barrier is hard to disappear from nature. In such cases, the habitat will not overlap in the evolution process. The groups have to say in separation till the creation of the new species.

Like in the case of mountain creation. In such cases, a mountain will act as a stable barrier to nature. It is hard to disappear from a mountain from nature like a flood. So, it will be a barrier until the new species is created. This is the most seen Allopatric Speciation type in nature.

Features Of Allopatric Speciation

  1. Only the geographical barrier is the major reason behind Allopatric Speciation.
  2. The Allopatric Speciation process is only driven by the Natural Selection process. Natural Selection helps to develop new species.
  3. Reproductive isolation is the key feature in Allopatric speciation. In any other speciation process, reproductive isolation is often can be seen.
  4. Allopatric Speciation takes more time to develop a species than any other Speciation process. As it is completely reliant on nature, it takes more time to create a new species.
  5. Allopatric Speciation is more common in nature. In both plants & animals, this type of speciation can be observed. But it is more frequent in animal.

Importance

  • This process is important. As it helps to incur new traits against the need of the species. The species don’t need to get a new characteristic among them. But due to the creation of the barrier, they need to survive in the new habitat. This is the driving force to develop new traits among them.
  • Allopatric Speciation is a process by which any species evolved into a new species with the help of nature.
  • It is the process by which nature gets variations in the species. As the barrier creates a variety of species from common ancestors.
  • This process forcefully separates the species into subspecies. The barrier prevents regular mating among those separated species. This helps to create vast changes in the genetic structure.
  • Allopatric Speciation is helpful to create biodiversity in nature. Biodiversity is important to change & balance the ecosystem in nature.

Can Allopatric Speciation Occur In Plants?

Allopatric Speciation can be mostly found in animal species. In plant species, it is a very rare & impossible kind of speciation. In plants, only Sympatric Speciation can occur in a large number. As in Sympatric Speciation, isolation is not a mandatory process. The theory of Allopatric Speciation proves it is not possible in the plant.

In Allopatric Speciation, due to the creation of the barrier, the species divide into two or more subgroups & then create new species. But in the case of a plant, a barrier can’t divide a tree species into two or more subgroups. As the tree cannot move or change its habitat. so, Allopatric Speciation is mostly not possible in plants. Also, in Allopatric Speciation, reproductive isolation should be created. for plants, it is also not possible.

Allopatric Speciation

Sympatric Speciation

Due to the creation of the physical barrier in nature, a species divides into two or more subgroups, this is known as Allopatric Speciation. Without changing the habitat when two or more species developed from a single ancestor known as Sympatric Speciation.
Natural Selection is the main driving force in Allopatric Speciation. Changes in the feeding pattern are the main reason behind Sympatric Speciation.
There should be a physical barrier in the Allopatric Speciation. In Sympatric Speciation, there is not any barrier present.
Allopatric Speciation can mostly view in animals. Sympatric Speciation can mostly occur in the plant.
The speed of Allopatric Speciation is slow compared to Sympatric Speciation. The speed of Sympatric Speciation is fast compared to Allopatric Speciation.

Examples of Allopatric Speciation

Wood Warbler

Wood Warbler is a type of bird that can be found in North America. This is an example of Allopatric Speciation. This species is now divided into four species. As one species resides in the east, they are known as the Eastern Species. The remaining three species reside in the west. That is why they are known as Western Species. Scientists believe that four glaciers are the main reason behind this Speciation. One glacier divided the species into two parts. The Eastern Part & Western Part. The Eastern Part remains the same. But three more glaciers divided the Western Part into three new species. Hence, a total of four species developed there.

Finches Of Darwin

Finch is another type of bird. They mainly reside on the mainland. But due to some challenges, a group of finch birds started to stay at Galapagos Island. By the time, when the sea started to expand, the island started divided into some isolated parts. So, the sea becomes the barrier in this case. So, all those finches started evaluating in different ways. And they created 13 distinct finch species. Evolutionist Darwin first discovers that. That is why it is often referred to as Darwin’s Finches.

Arizona Canyon Squirrel

The Arizona Grand Canyon performs as the barrier in this case. There used to live a squirrel species. But the creation of the Canyon divides the species of the squirrel into two subspecies. Those subspecies developed two distinct species. They are known as the Northern Species & Southern Species. It is also an example of Allopatric Speciation.

FAQs on Allopatric Speciation

Question 1: What is Allopatric Speciation?

Answer:

Allopatric Speciation is a type of speciation. Here, due to the creation of a barrier, a species divides into two or more subspecies. This division leads to genetic changes between those subspecies. After millions of years, those subspecies will show reproductive isolation status among them. Hence, a new species will evolve. This is known as the Allopatric Speciation.

Question 2: In any species, due to a conflict two or more groups started living in different habitats. Is it an example of Allopatric Speciation?

Answer:

No, The first step in the Allopatric Speciation is the creation of the barrier. Without the existence of a barrier, Allopatric Speciation can’t happen. Barriers prevent those separated species from their regular mating. But in the above case, that is not possible. So, the above scenario is not under the Allopatric Speciation category.

Question 3: What does reproductive isolation mean?

Answer:

Reproductive isolation is a certain step in Allopatric Speciation. It is the process when the intra subspecies reproduction can’t possible. This is the process that prevents regular mating among the species. This is caused by the genetic changes in species.

Question 4: Does Human Evolution fall under the Allopatric Speciation category?

Answer:

It is very difficult to commit to Human evolution. Scientists believe that human evolution is an example of every type of Speciation process. As this process was large & huge enough. Scientists believe that, at some point in human evolution, there will be an example of every type of Speciation process. So, it can say that human evolution is the combination of all the Speciation processes.

Question 5: Other than Allopatric Speciation, what are the other types of speciation?

Answer:

Speciation can be divided into four processes. Other than the Allopatric Speciation, there are three other types of Speciation. Depending upon the process by which the new species is being developed, Speciation can be the following types:

  • Parapatric Speciation
  • Peripatric Speciation
  • Sympatric Speciation

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