Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thriving Hybrid Salamanders Contradict Common Wisdom

Date:
October 2, 2007
Source:
University of California, Davis
Summary:
A new study not only has important findings for the future of California tiger salamanders, but also contradicts prevailing scientific thought about what happens when animal species interbreed. They found that more of the hybrid young survived in the wild than did young of the native or the introduced species -- quite a surprise, since animal hybrids are usually less fit than their parents ("hybrid vigor" is largely limited to plant crosses).

Photo shows three types of salamander larvae: native California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium), and the hybrid offspring born when the two species mated.
Credit: Bruce Delgado, U.S. Bureau of Land Management

A new UC Davis study not only has important findings for the future of California tiger salamanders, but also contradicts prevailing scientific thought about what happens when animal species interbreed.

The study, by former UC Davis doctoral student Benjamin Fitzpatrick (now on the faculty of University of Tennessee, Knoxville) and professor Bradley Shaffer, was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' online edition.

The salamander experts studied the survival rates and genetic makeup of three types of salamanders: native California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), which are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act; barred tiger salamanders that were introduced in California from Texas in the 1950s (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium); and the hybrid offspring born when the two species mated.

They found that more of the hybrid young survived in the wild than did young of the native or the introduced species -- quite a surprise, since animal hybrids are usually less fit than their parents ("hybrid vigor" is largely limited to plant crosses).

That raises difficult questions for managing endangered native salamander populations, Shaffer said. Some conservationists might say that hybrids are an acceptable change, since they are favored by natural selection, and "improve" the original species. Others might consider hybrids to be genetically impure and regard them as threats to the native salamanders, their competitors and their prey.

Such questions will arise more frequently, Shaffer said, as humans both create new opportunities for hybridization with introduced species, and improve the genetic analyses that detect them.

The study, titled "Hybrid vigor between native and introduced salamanders raises new challenges for conservation," was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Agriculture, CALFED Bay-Delta Program, and UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Davis. "Thriving Hybrid Salamanders Contradict Common Wisdom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926143355.htm>.
University of California, Davis. (2007, October 2). Thriving Hybrid Salamanders Contradict Common Wisdom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926143355.htm
University of California, Davis. "Thriving Hybrid Salamanders Contradict Common Wisdom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926143355.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins