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Posted by Mike M. on September 13, 2002 at 12:59:51:
In Reply to: But we are talking simply about interspecific breeding ... posted by Rich G.cascabel on September 13, 2002 at 11:15:14:
: mostly within one genus, two if ya count Sistrurus which is in some contention right now from what I understand. But how do you explain such hybrids as the crosses between Lampropeltis getula and Elaphe gutatta, or either of these two forms with Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae?
>>>I would explain the hybridization of rat and king snakes by saying that they are very related to each other genetically, and have similar enough reproductive strategies to be compatible with each other. Either our current taxonomy is not necessarily indicative of reproductive possibilities, or they share a very recent common ancestor from which both genera evolved. The evolution of the two genera wasn't extreme enough that individuals of either genus would be unable to reproduce with each other. Like you said, our understanding of reptilian genetics and taxonomy has a long way to go - just look at all the new DNA studies that are being done, trying to tease out the real relationships between the species or subspecies of today. I really can't wait to see the results of some of the studies that are being done!