|Title||Hybridization in geese : A review|
|Author(s)||Ottenburghs, Jente; Hooft, Pim van; Wieren, Sipke E. van; Ydenberg, Ronald C.; Prins, Herbert H.T.|
|Source||Frontiers in Zoology 13 (2016)1. - ISSN 1742-9994|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Anatidae - Behaviour - Captivity - Extra-pair copulations - Fertility - Hybridization - Introgression - Nest parasitism|
The high incidence of hybridization in waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans) makes this bird group an excellent study system to answer questions related to the evolution and maintenance of species boundaries. However, knowledge on waterfowl hybridization is biased towards ducks, with a large knowledge gap in geese. In this review, we assemble the available information on hybrid geese by focusing on three main themes: (1) incidence and frequency, (2) behavioural mechanisms leading to hybridization, and (3) hybrid fertility. Hybridization in geese is common on a species-level, but rare on a per-individual level. An overview of the different behavioural mechanisms indicates that forced extra-pair copulations and interspecific nest parasisitm can both lead to hybridization. Other sources of hybrids include hybridization in captivity and vagrant geese, which may both lead to a scarcity of conspecifics. The different mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and it is currently not possible to discriminate between the different mechanisms without quantitative data. Most hybrid geese are fertile; only in crosses between distantly related species do female hybrids become sterile. This fertility pattern, which is in line with Haldane's Rule, may facilitate interspecific gene flow between closely related species. The knowledge on hybrid geese should be used, in combination with the information available on hybridization in ducks, to study the process of avian speciation.