Sympatric speciation, unlike allopatric speciation, is speciation which takes place in the same physical environment or ecological niche. Such speciation may also take place after a gross genetic change in a population. It appears that this type of evolution is more common in plants, whose reproductive cycles make them especially prone to both changes in lifestyle and chromosomal makeup.

The question of whether speciation can occur in sympatry has been among the most contentious in evolutionary biology. In recent years a growing number of studies have provided empirical evidence that it has occurred [1][2]


  1. Barluenga, M et al Sympatric speciation in Nicaraguan crater lake cichlid Nature439:719
  2. Savolainen, V. et al. Sympatric speciation in palms on an oceanic island Nature441, 210 - 2130

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