Journal article Open Access

Haldane's rule and American black duck × mallard hybridization

Kirby, Ronald E.; Sargeant, Glen A.; Shutler, Dave

Species ratios and rangewide distributions of American black ducks (Anas rubripes Brewster, 1902) and mallards (Anas platyrhynchos L., 1758) have undergone recent changes. Mechanisms behind these changes are not known with certainty, but recent investigations have focused on the possibility of competitive exclusion and the consequences of hybridization. Consequences of hybridization have been difficult to assess because of the difficulty in identifying hybrids beyond the F1 generation and lack of means to quantify introgression in wild populations. We documented a postmating isolating mechanism between the two species that follows Haldane's rule in controlled, interspecific matings in captive populations. Hybridization reduces the proportion of F1 females available to return to the breeding grounds in the subsequent year. This effect, although likely small in overall population consequences in any year, may be of local significance and may contribute to recent reports of range shifts in both American black ducks and mallards.

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