Allopatry – Definition & Meaning

Allopatry is a term used in the field of biology to describe the geographical separation of two or more populations of a species, leading to the formation of new species. This concept has been widely studied and is crucial in understanding the evolution of different species.


The term allopatry is derived from the Greek words “allos” meaning other, and “patris” meaning country. Thus, the term refers to populations that are separated by a geographical barrier such as a mountain range, ocean, or desert. This separation can lead to the development of different genetic traits and eventually to the formation of new species.


The concept of allopatry was first introduced by the German biologist Ernst Mayr in 1942. Mayr proposed that geographical isolation was a critical factor in the formation of new species. He argued that populations that were separated by geographical barriers would evolve independently, leading to the development of unique genetic traits.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The term allopatry is defined differently in various dictionaries. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, allopatry is “the state of being geographically separated from other members of the same species, so that interbreeding is prevented.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the occurrence of related organisms in separate geographical areas with no overlap.”


Allopatry is closely associated with the concept of speciation, which refers to the formation of new species from existing ones. It is also linked to the study of biogeography, which is the study of the distribution of species across different geographical regions.


Some synonyms of allopatry include geographic isolation, geographical separation, and vicariance.


The antonyms of allopatry include sympatry, which refers to the occurrence of related organisms in the same geographical area, and parapatry, which refers to the occurrence of related organisms in adjacent geographical areas.

The same root words

The root word “allo” is used in other biological terms such as allosteric, which refers to the regulation of enzymes by molecules that bind to a site other than the active site, and alloimmunity, which refers to the immune response to foreign antigens.

Example Sentences

  1. The allopatric populations of birds had evolved different beak sizes due to their geographical separation.
  2. The formation of new species through allopatry is a slow and gradual process.
  3. The study of allopatry has helped scientists understand the evolution of different species.
  4. The allopatric distribution of certain plants is due to the presence of natural barriers such as rivers and mountains.
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Words Wiki
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: