Hybrids: the good, the bad, and the really ugly

Sooo, Leapons and Narlugas. Amazing hybrid animals.

But what's a hybrid?  It's the result of a mating between two animal species, subspecies, genera, or family.

Hybrids are interesting because they're unusual...most animals that hybridize do so because of scarcity of mates in their own species, or changing territory patterns due to weather or other pressures.

Narlugas are the offspring of beluga whales and narwhals.  Though seen in the wild, there has not been one actually captured.
Check out the photos below:

Here's a good photo of a Narluga face:

There are actually a lot of hybrids around.  We've already looked at the more exotic Wolphin, the Zonkey, the Tigon, and the Pizzly.  

And check this out...a beached hybrid of a Harbor and Dall's porpoise:
But are hybrids good or bad?  The answer is...sometimes they're really good and sometimes they're really bad. And sometimes....they're just plain ugly!

Hybrids - the good:
A very famous hybrid is...the mule!  The mule has the staying power of its donkey father added to the strength of its horse mother. And it's rumored to have more intelligence, courage, and personality than either of its parents.

Can you believe a mule can even kill a cougar?  Check out one story here

So don't get on the bad side of a mule with an attitude!

Also, the hybrid crossing of Florida panthers and Texas cougars have resulted in a stronger, more resilient Florida panther population.  That's good!

Hybrids - the bad:

Killer bees! A cross between African wild bees and the European honeybee, they are highly aggressive and will pursue intruders for long distances.  Many injuries and even deaths by killer bees have been reported.

Or ... the hybrid Tiger salamander with its huge mouth and voracious appetite! Reports are it's swallowing anything that fits in its mouth in Northern California. 

a. Tiger salamander   b. Barred tiger salamander   c. Monster tiger salamander!

And ... the ugly:
Okay, most hybrids are not particularly ugly, except in the dog world, where the Ugliest Dog Contest was won by a boxer crossed with...well, even the owner didn't know.
He looks mean, but the judges voted him to have a very sweet nature...

But in the wild, there's the really ugly Mallovy, a hybrid Mallard/Muscovy duck. 
Unlike the mule, this guy is definitely not getting the best traits of both parents!

So what do you think of hybrids now? Good idea, bad idea?  Let me know!


Lois said...

Very cool but also, as you pointed out, sometimes very ugly. :)

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