In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group which contains only one immediately subordinate taxon. For example, a monotypic species is one that does not include subspecies or smaller, infraspecific taxa. Although the phrase appears to indicate that a taxon has a single type specimen (with no syntypes, lectotypes, or other types), this is not the usage.
Just as the term "monotypic" is used to describe a large taxon including only one subdivision, one can also refer to the contained taxon as monotypic within the larger taxon, e.g. a genus monotypic within a family. (In the case of monotypic genera, the term "unispecific" is sometimes preferred.) Some examples of monotypic groups are listed below.
- The family Cephalotaceae includes only one genus, Cephalotus, and only one species, Cephalotus follicularis – the Albany pitcher plant.
- The aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is monotypic within the genus Orycteropus, which is monotypic within the family Orycteropodidae, which is itself monotypic within the order Tubulidentata.
- The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is a monotypic species; no subspecies have been distinguished within the species.
- The bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus) has a few subspecies across its range, but belongs to the genus Panurus which current knowledge considers monotypic (the only genus) within the family Panuridae.
The monotypic habitat occurs in botanical and zoological contexts. In restoration ecology of native plant communities or habitats, some invasive species create monotypic stands that replace and/or prevent other species, especially indigenous ones, from growing there. A dominant colonization can occur from retardant chemicals exuded, nutrient monopolization, or from lack of natural controls such as herbivores or climate, that keep them in balance with their native habitats.
- A botanical example of a monotypic habitat is the area in California invaded by the Mediterranean yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), where it currently dominates over 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2).
- A zoological example of a monotypic habitat is the parts of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed colonized by the freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) of southern Russia. A single female can produce upwards of one million eggs per year; without its home-range predator control, it chokes out competing fauna.
- Race (classification of human beings) (a more detailed definition of monotypes in the context of humans, Homo sapiens)
- Conservation biology
- Category:Monotypic genera
- Mayr E, Ashlock PD. (1991): Principles of Systematic Zoology (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-041144-1
- McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.; Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.; Reine, W.F.P.h.V.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J. (2012). International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6. article 38.6
- Theel Heather J., Dibble Eric D., Madsen John D. (1948). "Differential influence of a monotypic and diverse native aquatic plant bed on a macroinvertebrate assemblage; an experimental implication of exotic plant induced habitat". Cat.Inist and Springer, Dordrecht, PAYS-BAS. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- PDF (286 KiB), Mount Diablo Interpretive Association. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
- 1970 distribution of yellow starthistle in the U.S., a map from UCD's Yellow Starthistle Information website