Natural hybridization between steelhead trout salmo gairdneri and coastal cutthroat trout salmo clarki clarki in 2 puget sound washington usa streams
Campton, D.E.; Utter, F.M.
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 42(1): 110-119
ISSN/ISBN: 0706-652X Accession: 005958689
A genetic investigation of anadromous trout populations in the Puget Sound area revealed numerous juvenile individuals from 2 streams with electrophoretic phenotypes consistent with those expected for hybrid descendents of steelhead trout (S. gairdneri) and coastal cutthroat trout (S. clarki clarki). The likelihood of hybridization was evaluated with a hybrid index measuring the relative probability that the combined genotype for a particular fish at several diagnostic loci could have arisen by random mating within each of the 2 Salmo spp. The distribution of hybrid index scores among fish from the 2 creeks clearly demonstrated the genetic distinctness of the 2 spp. and the intermediate genotypic composition of the unknown fish. Apparently, these electrophoretically intermediate fish were natural steelhead-cutthroat hybrids based on their restricted occurrence at specific sample sites in only 2 of 23 streams surveyed, the linear distributions of juveniles from the 2 parental species within each stream, and the distribution of hybrid index values for a hatchery population of known mixed ancestry. Further, from estimates of gametic disequilibria and the absence of a consistent excess of heterozygotes backcrossing may have occurred. The existence of these natural hybrids raises many questions concerning the biological bases for maintaining species integrities in regions of sympatry and indicates the need to fully understand the biological consequences of present and future management practices.