Crossbreeding between the rare California tiger salamander and an invasive species has given the mixed offspring a surprising boost in survival, say geneticists.
Though the lineages of barred tiger salamanders and the California tigers split some 5 million years ago, the species crossbreed in the Salinas Valley, according to Benjamin M. Fitzpatrick of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Fish-bait entrepreneurs imported young barred salamanders from Texas about 60 years ago.
Mixing species often doesn't work out well for the kids. But in this case, the mixed-parentage hatchlings survive their perilous first few weeks better than the young of either parent species do, report Fitzpatrick and Bradley Sh