Ring species (#Inktober2019 has begun)

ring_sp_JMLandin_webA ring species includes a series of populations set around a large barrier. Each population is a little different from its neighbors, but those differences add up as the distance increases. So, as the populations meet each other on the other side of the barrier, they’ve built up so many differences that they no longer breed. It’s a wonderful example of evolution (parapatric speciation, if you’re interested).

This cutie is the Ensatina salamander which surrounds the San Joaquin valley of California.

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