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Posted by Jaffo on September 12, 2002 at 12:16:07:
Frank, and whoever else... you need to think about something. If hybrids occur, it is a freak accident, and is not common. Otherwise more people would find them, and not many do.
More importantly, there are biological barriers to hybridization to preserve the gene pool, and there is a reason for that. For example, female tigris will have distict pheromones that attract male tigris. Accidental breeding can occur, sure. But maybe more with some species than others. The point is, if hybridization were so common and easy, we wouldn't have distinct species, would we? You have to think in terms of evolution, and how long that takes. Suggesting common hybridization between specks and tigris is like suggesting common hybridization between scutulatus and cerastes.
Tigris and mitchelli are so drastically different in terms of biology, natural history, and anatomy. I very HIGHLY doubt hybridization occurs on a regular basis between this species. In fact, there is only a very small portion of their range where they would have such an opportunity, and I live in the middle of one of those areas. If hybrids are so common, how did either species last this long?
Frank, there is no reason to expect a hybrid rattlesnake of any mix not to make it very long. They may not be able to reproduce for some reason, but they are still equipped to survive in the ecosystem they came from. They're hybrids, not albinos.