A place to look at hybrids

Any pictures of any animal hybrids?

  • How do hybrids occur in the wild

Hybrids occur when two different species mate, i.e in captivity, people breed lions with tigers, to get ligers or something. Obviously, this would never happen in the wild, as a lion and a tiger would never meet.

Now, you could not breed a dog with a cat, they have to be in the same genus, or close to it, I think. Like the mallard x mottled duck hybrids, they’re both in the Anas genus. A female mottled duck looks quite simular to a female mallard, so I’m pretty sure the instinct to breed takes over the fact that this is a totally different species red flag.

Mules, for example, are one of the most common, if not the most common, hybrids in the world. A horse and a donkey are quite similar, and humans have benefitted from the hybrids. This type of hybrids can occur in the wild, unlike ligers.

With reptiles, they can hybridize in captivity, but the only one I know is the common-ish crested gecko x chahoua.

With anoles, male green anoles have a pink dewlap, and male brown anoles have a red/orange dewlap. This is to prevent interbreeding between the two species, i.e. the female green anole recognizes the pink dewlap as her kind, while the brown anoles recognize the red/orange dewlap as her kind too…

And then there are intergrades. Ugh. I hate them when it comes to IDing reptiles and amphibians.

For example, the term North American Racer (black racer/black snake) includes all the subspecies. The Everglades Spp. is in Miami, and obviously, the Everglades. The Southern Black Racer spp. covers most of the rest of FL, but in certain places, sometimes like Fort Myers, or Tallahassee, two subspecies meet. So we ID as North American Racer, to cover all the possible subspecies. These aren’t technically hybrids, though.

And there are complexes, with the eastern/gray ratsnake complex, or the gray/copes tree frog complex, these are basically the same thing, and when they are in the middle of to species border, they will often get IDed as this. I’m no expert and still learning all of this.

Plants can also hybridize, but I know nothing about this so…

You can check out this article: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/kuppies-catdogs-and-other-pet-hybrids-that-are-too-good-to-be-true


hybrids can be from parents in different genera, and even (rarely) different families [but yes, as you said, the upper level taxa are still closely related ones]


A good place to look is the concept of ring species, for example, Ensatina salamanders.

Well, I have found an expert! :grin: :sweat_smile: I once succeeded in hybridizing two snail species, a ramshorn and a pond snail, but it looked pretty much normal.

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There are several natural hybrids of whiptail lizards in the Southwest: I believe the new mexico whiptail, desert grassland whiptail, and chihuahuan spotted whiptail are all hybrids of other nearby species.

Many groups are just ok with hybridization, take Galloanseres which has 2 orders of ducks and chickens, both groups are very likely to hybridize inside themselves, iconic example is mallard where males are ready to copulate with anything, duck or goose, and it results in normal offspring!
Another example I like is Emberiza citrinella × leucocephalos, two buntings that look very different and sing different but not that far genetically, they had their ranges connected by people and now we have their numerous hybrids.

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Hybrids are quite common in nature! Mules are only the most well-known since they are bred by humans, but there are thousands of combinations of wild species that regularly breed together to produce hybrid offspring. In the most extreme cases, such as mules, the hybrids will be almost completely sterile because the DNA of the two parental species has incompatibilities. There is a full spectrum though, from sterile hybrids to fertile hybrids, and even in some cases, hybrids that are fitter than their parental species!

There are two blogs that specializes in the latest research on bird hybrids here: https://avianhybrids.wordpress.com/ (this one is more technical)
and here: http://birdhybrids.blogspot.com/ (this one is more about identification)


Lepomis (Panfish) hybrids are very common in North America as well, with some ponds containing almost all hybrids and almost actual species! Some species tend to hybridize more than others (such as pumpkinseed and green sunfish) but I think pretty much every sunfish species has been found to be a parent to a hybrid.

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Lions and Tigers historically occurred together in the wild, and possibly still do. The whole “lions and tigers would never meet in the wild thing” is kind of a myth.


Intergrades are hybrids. That’s why it’s called an intergrade zone- the zone where the two species/subspecies meet and breed. It’s why where black kingsnakes and speckled kings meet there can be research grade observations of both species, as well as ones that just say “Lampropeltis” because the organism involved in the observation is an intergrade, or hybrid, of the two species.

The complexes are just there because you can’t physically tell the difference between cope’s gray and gray unless you hear them calling. Makes it easier instead of just putting it at genus “hyla” in which there are way more species than just those two in the area.

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Well I just heard that Homo sapien and homo neanderthalensis mating making some modern humans . I think then we can call ourselves hybrid


I think I read that outside of Africa, most human populations have 2-4% Neanderthal genes. So, depending on the definition of hybrid, it seems you are right.

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Don’t forget heidelbergensis mixes! And I believe early African species were hybridizing heavily too, cause why not.


The term intergrade generally refers to where two subspecies of the same species meet and intermix. Intergrade zones occur naturally in the wild and may cover a large area. Hybrid zones, which are usually narrower, generally refer to where two separate but closely-related species co-occur and interbreed in the wild. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re dealing with intergrades (same species) or hybrids (different species) and different interpretations of that interbreeding affects how some related pairs of organisms are classified.

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The Olympic Gull is a hybrid which outnumbers both of its parent species in the zone where it occurs. And there are several similar hybrid zones of gulls, involving different parent species in each case.


Does that mean it’s parent species are so genetically close that they can breed interspecies

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All Larus species are fairly young and easily hybridize.


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