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Microscopic Subspecies

C. B. Linton
Publication Information
4 (July-August)
From Field and Study

Microscopic Subspecies

While collecting along the Kern River, Greenhorn Range, Southern Sierras, about 45 miles from Bakersfield, Kern County, California, I secured several vireos which upon comparison were determined to be Vireo huttoni. Upon sending them to Mr. H. C. Oberholser, however, he identifies them as V. h. oberholseri Bishop.

In discussing V. h. oberholseri in November CONDOR, described by Dr. L. B. Bishop (CONDOR September, 1905, pp. 142-143), Mr. Grinnell states that his series of 47 skins from Los Angeles County (inclusive) to Siskiyou County, are distinctly V. huttoni; but the specimen from Escondido, San Diego County, is different, and referable to V. h. oberholseri, as described by Dr. Bishop.

Doesn't it seem a bit curious that Vireo huttoni oberholseri be found fairly common in February and March in Kern County, with V. huttoni on all sides?

Of course, being an amateur in ornithology, I can only open the question and leave it to more advanced ornithologists to elucidate. I wish to add, however, that Mr. Oberholser identified my Santa Cruz Island Vireos (Vireo mailliardorum Grinnell) as V. huttoni. Mr. Grinnell identified my Kern County specimens as V. huttoni! My specimens from Los Angeles County they both identified as V. huttoni.

I do not mean this to be discourteous to the gentlemen who are responsible for these subspecies. It is merely an example of existing conditions regarding the microscopic differences upon which many subspecies are based; and to show the position in which young ornithologists are placed thereby. I have a large number of subspecies that have been variously identified by leading ornithologists.


Long Beach, California

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