Ecotype - Examples


  • Tundra reindeer and forest (or woodland) reindeer are two ecotypes of reindeer. The first migrate (travelling 5,000 km) annually between the two environments in large numbers whereas the other (who are much fewer) remain in the forest for the summer. Currently, and since 1961 classification, tundra reindeer comprise five subspecies and woodland reindeer two.
  • Arabis fecunda, a herb endemic to some calcareous soils of Montana, USA, can be divided into two ecotypes. The one "low elevation" group lives near the ground in an arid, warm environment and has thus developed a significantly greater tolerance against drought than the "high elevation" group. The two ecotypes are separated by a horizontal distance of about 100 km.
  • It is commonly accepted that the Tucuxi dolphin has two ecotypes - the riverine ecotype found in some South American rivers and the pelagic ecotype found in the South Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, it is accepted that the Common Bottlenose Dolphin has two ecotypes in the Western North Atlantic.
  • The Warbler finch and the Cocos Island Finch are viewed as separate ecotypes.
  • The Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) has 20 different ecotypes in an area from Scotland to Siberia, all capable of interbreeding.
  • A very subtle case of ecotype is the following: It has been observed that two populations of the same Helix (gastropod) species separated by a only few hundred kilometers prefer not to cross-mate, i.e. they reject one another as mates. This event probably occurs during the process of courtship, which may last for hours.

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