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27
HYBRIDISM


often confounded by naturalists, are in reality quite distinct. For the sterility may obtain between the two parent species when first crossed, or it may first assert itself in their hybrid progeny. In the latter case the hybrids, although possibly produced without any appearance of infertility on the part of their parent species, nevertheless prove more or less infertile among themselves, and also with members of either parent species.

3. The degree of both kinds of infertility varies in the case of different species, and in that of their hybrid progeny, from absolute sterility up to complete fertility. Thus, to take the case of plants, “when pollen from a plant of one family is placed on the stigma of a plant of a distinct family, it exerts no more influence than so much inorganic dust. From this absolute zero of fertility, the pollen of different species, applied to the stigma of some one species of the same genus, yields a perfect gradation in the number of seeds produced, up to nearly complete, or even quite complete, fertility; so, in hybrids themselves, there are some which never have produced, and probably never would produce, even with the pollen of the pure parents, a single fertile seed; but in some of these cases a first trace of fertility may be detected, by the pollen of one of the pure parent species causing the flower of the hybrid to wither earlier than it otherwise would have done; and the early withering of the flower is well known to be a sign of incipient fertilization. From this extreme degree of sterility we have self-fertilized hybrids producing a greater and greater number of seeds up to perfect fertility.”

4. Although there is, as a rule, a certain parallelism, there is no fixed relation between the degree of sterility manifested by the parent species when crossed and that which is manifested by their hybrid progeny. There are many cases in which two pure species can be crossed with unusual facility, while the resulting hybrids are remarkably sterile; and, contrariwise, there are species which can only be crossed with extreme difficulty, though the hybrids, when produced, are very fertile. Even within the limits of the same genus, these two opposite cases may occur.

5. When two species are reciprocally crossed, i.e. male A with female B, and male B with female A, the degree of sterility often differs greatly in the two cases. The sterility of the resulting hybrids may differ likewise.

6. The degree of sterility of first crosses and of hybrids runs, to a certain extent, parallel with the systematic affinity of the forms which are united. “For species belonging to distinct genera can rarely, and those belonging to distinct families can never, be crossed. The parallelism, however, is far from complete; for a multitude of closely allied species will not unite, or unite with extreme difficulty, whilst other species, widely different from each other, can be crossed with perfect facility. Nor does the difficulty depend on ordinary constitutional differences; for annual and perennial plants, deciduous and evergreen trees, plants flowering at different seasons, inhabiting different stations, and naturally living under the most opposite climates, can often be crossed with ease. The difficulty or facility apparently depends exclusively on the sexual constitution of the species which are crossed, or on their sexual elective affinity.”

There are many new records as to the production of hybrids. Horticulturists have been extremely active and successful in their attempts to produce new flowers or new varieties of vegetables by seminal or graft-hybrids, and any florist’s catalogue or the account of any special plant, such as is to be found in Foster-Melliar’s Book of the Rose, is in great part a history of successful hybridization. Much special experimental work has been done by botanists, notably by de Vries, to the results of whose experiments we shall recur. Experiments show clearly that the obtaining of hybrids is in many cases merely a matter of taking sufficient trouble, and the successful crossing of genera is not infrequent.

Focke, for instance, cites cases where hybrids were obtained between Brassica and Raphanus, Galium and Asperula, Campanula and Phyteuma, Verbascum and Celsia. Among animals, new records and new experiments are almost equally numerous. Boveri has crossed Echinus microtuberculatus with Sphaerechinus granularis. Thomas Hunt Morgan even obtained hybrids between Asterias, a starfish, and Arbacia, a sea-urchin, a cross as remote as would be that between a fish and a mammal. Vernon got many hybrids by fertilizing the eggs of Strongylocentrotus lividus with the sperm of Sphaerechinus granularis. Standfuss has carried on an enormous series of experiments with Lepidopterous insects, and has obtained a very large series of hybrids, of which he has kept careful record. Lepidopterists generally begin to suspect that many curious forms offered by dealers as new species are products got by crossing known species. Apellö has succeeded with Teleostean fish; Gebhardt and others with Amphibia. Elliot and Suchetet have studied carefully the question of hybridization occurring normally among birds, and have got together a very large body of evidence. Among the cases cited by Elliot the most striking are that of the hybrid between Colaptes cafer and C. auratus, which occurs over a very wide area of North America and is known as C. hybridus, and the hybrid between Euplocamus lineatus and E. horsfieldi, which appears to be common in Assam. St M. Podmore has produced successful crosses between the wood-pigeon (Columba palumbus) and a domesticated variety of the rock pigeon (C. livia). Among mammals noteworthy results have been obtained by Professor Cossar Ewart, who has bred nine zebra hybrids by crossing mares of various sizes with a zebra stallion, and who has studied in addition three hybrids out of zebra mares, one sired by a donkey, the others by ponies. Crosses have been made between the common rabbit (Lepus cuniculus) and the guinea-pig (Cavia cobaya), and examples of the results have been exhibited in the Zoological Gardens of Sydney, New South Wales. The Carnivora generally are very easy to hybridize, and many successful experiments have been made with animals in captivity. Karl Hagenbeck of Hamburg has produced crosses between the lion (Felis leo) and the tiger (F. tigris). What was probably a “tri-hybrid” in which lion, leopard and jaguar were mingled was exhibited by a London showman in 1908. Crosses between various species of the smaller cats have been fertile on many occasions. The black bear (Ursus americanus) and the European brown bear (U. arctos) bred in the London Zoological Gardens in 1859, but the three cubs did not reach maturity. Hybrids between the brown bear and the grizzly-bear (U. horribilis) have been produced in Cologne, whilst at Halle since 1874 a series of successful matings of polar (U. maritimus) and brown bears have been made. Examples of these hybrid bears have been exhibited by the London Zoological Society. The London Zoological Society has also successfully mated several species of antelopes, for instance, the water-bucks Kobus ellipsiprymnus and K. unctuosus, and Selous’s antelope Limnotragus selousi with L. gratus.

The causes militating against the production of hybrids have also received considerable attention. Delage, discussing the question, states that there is a general proportion between sexual attraction and zoological affinity, and in many cases hybrids are not naturally produced simply from absence of the stimulus to sexual mating, or because of preferential mating within the species or variety. In addition to differences of habit, temperament, time of maturity, and so forth, gross structural differences may make mating impossible. Thus Escherick contends that among insects the peculiar structure of the genital appendages makes cross-impregnation impossible, and there is reason to believe that the specific peculiarities of the modified sexual palps in male spiders have a similar result.

The difficulties, however, may not exist, or may be overcome by experiment, and frequently it is only careful management that is required to produce crossing. Thus it has been found that when the pollen of one species does not succeed in fertilizing the ovules of another species, yet the reciprocal cross may be successful; that is to say, the pollen of the second species may fertilize the ovules of the first. H. M. Vernon, working with sea-urchins, found that the obtaining of hybrids depended on the relative maturity of the sexual products. The difficulties in crossing apparently may extend to the chemiotaxic processes of the actual sexual cells. Thus when the spermatozoa of an urchin were placed in a drop of seawater containing ripe eggs of an urchin and of a starfish, the former eggs became surrounded by clusters of the male cells, while the latter appeared to exert little attraction for the alien germ-cells. Finally, when the actual impregnation of the egg is possible naturally, or has been secured by artificial means, the development of the hybrid may stop at an early stage. Thus hybrids between the urchin and the starfish, animals belonging to different classes, reached only the stage of the pluteus larva. A. D. Apellö, experimenting with Teleostean fish, found that very often impregnation and segmentation occurred, but that the development broke down immediately afterwards. W. Gebhardt, crossing Rana esculenta with R. arvalis, found that the cleavage of the ovum was normal, but that abnormality began with the gastrula, and that development soon stopped. In a very general fashion there appears to be a parallel between the zoological affinity and the extent to which the incomplete development of the hybrid proceeds.

As to the sterility of hybrids inter se, or with either of the parent forms, information is still wanted. Delage, summing up the evidence in a general way, states that mongrels are more fertile and stronger than their parents, while hybrids are at least equally hardy but less fertile. While many of the hybrid products of horticulturists are certainly infertile, others appear to be indefinitely fertile.

Focke, it is true, states that the hybrids between Primula auricula and P. hirsuta are fertile for many generations, but not indefinitely so; but, while this may be true for the particular case, there seems no reason to doubt that many plant hybrids are quite fertile. In the case of animals the evidence is rather against fertility. Standfuss, who has made experiments lasting over many years, and who has dealt with many genera of Lepidoptera, obtained no fertile hybrid females, although he found that hybrid males paired readily and successfully with pure-bred females of the parent races. Elliot,