Friday, August 1, 2008

Miscegenation in the Riverbeds

Scientists from the University of Wyoming have found three species of sucker fish have hybridized to form a new, third species that they call the "muttsucker."

Muddy Creek, where the survey was conducted, had two native species of suckerfish. The flannelmouth sucker and the bluehead sucker coexisted, but were isolated by reproductive barriers. Then the white sucker was introduced into the area, and was able to crossbreed with both species. The resulting muttsucker incorporates genes from all three species.

It's a shocking display of the impact that introducing non-native life to a marine environment can have. You may already know about the problem with zebra mussels in the Great Lakes region. And remember when those amphibious snakehead fish started showing up in the U.S.? Bad news.

Digg this Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
ss_blog_claim=59c833aa066112eeabade1b22648d49b ss_blog_claim=59c833aa066112eeabade1b22648d49b