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In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group (taxon) which contains only one immediately subordinate taxon. Although the phrase appears to indicate that a taxon has a single type specimen (with no syntypes, lectotypes, or other types) and no heterotypic/junior synonyms, that is not the usage.
A monotypic species is one that does not include subspecies or smaller, infraspecific taxa. In the case of genera, the term "unispecific" is sometimes preferred.
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. 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 Cream-spotted cardinalfish (Ozichthys albimaculosus), found in tropical Australia and southern New Guinea, is the type species of the monotypic genus Ozichthys.
- The flowering plant Breonadia salicina is the only species in the monotypic genus Breonadia.
In Botany, monotypic is more used than monospecific with the same meaning.
- Race (classification of human beings) (a more detailed definition of monotypes in the context of humans, Homo sapiens)
- 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. articles 38.5 and 38.6
- Fraser, T.H. (2014): A new genus of cardinalfish from tropical Australia and southern New Guinea (Percomorpha: Apogonidae). Zootaxa 3852 (2): 283–293.