Kangaroo Hybrids

Family Macropodidae

EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS

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Note: Most reported marsupial hybrids are products of macropodid crosses.

Bettongia gaimardi Tasmanian Bettong
Bettongia gaimardi

Bettongia gaimardi [Tasmanian Bettong]
× Bettongia penicillata [Brush-tailed Bettong] CHR. DRS. London Zoo had three hybrids in 1874 and 1875. In this cross Bettongia penicillata was originally reported as “Hypsiprymnus ogilbyi,” but ogilbyi is now treated as a subspecies of B. penicillata. Flower 1929a (p. 362); Sclater 1863; Zuckermann 1953.
× Macropus sp. [Kangaroo] NHR?? CON: Tasmania. The following notice appears on page 5, column 3, of the June 21, 1937, issue of The Mercury, a newspaper published in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (source). “Kangaroo Freak Near George Town - The capture of a freak animal was reported yesterday by the Minister for Lands and Works (Major T. H. Davies), who said that it had been caught eight miles from George Town by Mr. H. Geale. The animal is half the size of a full grown kangaroo, and is a female, said Major Davies. The legs are the same as those of a kangaroo rat. The head is that of a kangaroo, and the eyes and mouth those of a kangaroo rat. The fur at the back of the neck is distinctly of the kangaroo type, but on the back it is as soft as opossum fur. The tail is half white, half grey. The legs and the underpart of the body are white.” B. gaimardi is the only bettong (rat-kangaroo or kangaroo-rat) native to Tasmania. There are only two kangaroos native to Tasmania, the Red-necked Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus, and the considerably larger, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Macropus giganteus, so the former is the more likely participant in this cross.

Bettongia penicillata [Brush-tailed Bettong] See: Bettongia gaimardi.

Dendrolagus dorianus [Doria’s Tree Kangaroo]
× Dendrolagus notatus [Ifola Tree Kangaroo] ENHI. CON: highlands of eastern New Guinea. The IUCN (Internet Citations: NOTAT) states that the forms dorianus and notatus were until recently treated as conspecific and are in parapatric contact (along a line running north-northeast from the vicinity of Kwletta to the coast near Lae). Presumably, then, these very similar animals hybridize throughout the area where they come into contact.

Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo
Dendrolagus goodfellowi

Dendrolagus goodfellowi [Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo]
× Dendrolagus matschiei [Huon Tree Kangaroo] CHR. The Cleveland Zoo (Ohio, USA) had a hybrid (Internet Citations: GOODF). These highland forms are separated by the Ramu River valley, but may come into contact there.

Dendrolagus inustus [Grizzled Tree Kangaroo]
× Dendrolagus ursinus [Vogelkop Tree Kangaroo] CHR. CON: northwestern New Guinea. A male hybrid was born at Philadelphia Zoo (Pennsylvania, USA) on December 23, 1935. It was transferred to the National Zoo (Washington, D.C., USA) on December 1, 1936, and died there on July 13, 1943 at an age of 7 years, 6 months. Its skin and skull are now in the Smithsonian Institute (USNM 271183). Flannery et al. 1996; Mann 1938; Weigl 2005.

Dendrolagus matschiei [Huon Tree Kangaroo] See: Dendrolagus goodfellowi.

Dendrolagus notatus [Ifola Tree Kangaroo] See: Dendrolagus dorianus.

Dendrolagus ursinus [Vogelkop Tree Kangaroo] See: Dendrolagus inustus.

oldfield thomas Oldfield Thomas
(1858-1929)

Dorcopsis luctuosa [Grey Dorcopsis]
× Thylogale browni [New Guinea Pademelon] ENHI. Thomas (1888, p. 92) says Dorcopsulus macleayi (Macleay’s Dorcopsis) “is in many ways intermediate between Dorcopsis and Macropus, so that it seems just possible that the type specimen may be a hybrid between D. luctuosa and Macropus [i.e., Thylogale] browni, both of which occur in Southern New Guinea. Pending, however, the arrival of further material bearing on this suggestion, I provisionally retain D. macleayi as a somewhat doubtful species of the genus to which its describer referred it.” In fact, D. luctuosa and T. browni are nearly in parapatric contact in Papua New Guinea, with D. macleayi occurring between them so that its range appears to be configured almost as one would expect if it were a hybrid population derived from hybridization between luctuosa and browni (especially if one allows for the vagaries of mapping the distributions of animals living in such a remote locale). This morphological and geographic intermediacy on the part of D. macleayi suggest it as a PHP of this cross. Wikipedia describes Oldfield Thomas (1858-1929) as a British zoologist who “worked at the Natural History Museum on mammals, describing about 2,000 new species and subspecies for the first time,” which is rather remarkable given that there are only about 4,000 mammalian species recognized.

Dorcopsulus macleayi [Macleay’s Dorcopsis] See: Dorcopsis luctuosa × Thylogale browni.

Macropus sp. [Kangaroo]
See also: Bettongia gaimardi.
× Bos taurus [European Domestic Cattle] The following notice appears on page 10, column 6, of the June 6, 1874, issue of The Argus, a newspaper published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (source). “The Evelyn Observer says:—‘One of those curious freaks of nature which every now and then crop up to astonish and mystify the untutored rustic and the learned savant alike occurred in the neighbourhood of Queenstown (Caledonia), a short time since. This lusus naturae was rendered the more remarkable, too, from the fact of there being several instances of a similar character occurring about the same time, viz., cows giving birth to calves minus the fore legs, and this happened, we are informed on reliable authority, in five different instances, each within a short time of the other. These monstrosities, our informant tells us, were as much like kangaroos as could be without being veritable marsupials and were possessed of two little fore paws instead of the usual and orthodox legs and feet, but they lacked that very necessary adjunct to kangaroo felicity, the tail, possessing only the comparatively useless member common to the bovine kind.’” A related report #1 >> A related report #2 >>
× Canis familiaris [Dog] See the separate article “Dog-kangaroo Hybrids?”.
× Equus caballus [Horse] On page 27 of the December 21, 1934, issue of The Advertiser, an Australian newspaper published in Adelaide, South Australia (source), an article entitled "FIFTY YEARS AGO, From "The Advertiser" December 22, 1884" quoted the following from a fifty-year-old report: “There is on view in Hindley street a living freak of nature, which is stated to be "half horse and half kangaroo." The animal, which is two years and ten months old, was bred on the Wild Horse Plains. The only portion of the creature that at all resembles a kangaroo is the near foreleg, which appears to be withered, and the hoof of which is parted.” However, this distant cross seems not to have been reported elsewhere, nor can even the report quoted be unambiguously interpreted as being solely consistent with such a hybrid. Mere deformity might just as well account for the phenotype in question. A related report >>
× Felis catus [Domestic Cat] See the separate article “Cat-kangaroo Hybrids?”.
× Ovis aries [Domestic Sheep] On the front page, column 7, of the November 2, 1849, issue of Geelong Advertiser, an Australian newspaper published in Geelong, Victoria (source), the following notice appears: “A few days ago a lusus naturae, in the shape of a lamb with a kangaroo’s head, might he seen on the [sheep] station of Mr. T. Malcolm. The likeness was exact, ears, eyes, head, and even the incisors, which in sheep are [only] in the under jaw, were, in this lamb’s, in strict resemblance of its prototype, in the upper. It did not live more than a few hours after being yeaned, as it could not suck. In every other respect it was like an ordinary lamb.” A related report >>

Macropus agilis [Agile Wallaby]
× Megaleia rufa (♀) [Red Kangaroo] CHR. CON: northern Australia. LFH. Hybrids of both sexes reported. Johnson 1985; Martin and Kirkpatrick 1971.
× Macropus rufogriseus (♀) [Red-necked Wallaby] CHR. CON: coastal northeastern Australia, near Rockhampton. HPF(♀♀). Lowry et al. 1995; Smith et al. 1979; Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.
× Wallabia bicolor (♂) [Swamp Wallaby] CHR. CON: northeastern Australia (Cape York Peninsula). London Zoo had 5 hybrids in 1968. Zool. Society of London Ann. Rep., 1968, p. 43 (as “Protemnodon bicolor × P. agilis”); International Zoo Yearbook 1968 (p. 289), 1970 (p. 250), 1971 (p. 260).

Note: Macropus dorsalis is probably extinct in the wild.

Macropus dorsalis [Black-striped Wallaby]
× Macropus eugenii (♂) [Tammar Wallaby]CHR. McKenzie and Cooper 1995; Smith et al. 1979; Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.
× Macropus parma[Parma Wallaby] CHR. HPF(♂&♀). CON: eastern Australia, south of Brisbane. Sharman 1974 (p. 151).

Macropus eugenii [Tammar Wallaby]
See also: Macropus dorsalis.
× Macropus parma(♂) [Parma Wallaby] CHR. CON: Kawau Island (New Zealand). LFH. Close and Lowry 1990; Taylor et al. 1999.
× Wallabia bicolor [Swamp Wallaby] CHR. DRS. Waugh-O’Neill et al. report a massive amplification of retrotransposons in a hybrid individual of this type. Reinsertion of amplified elements was limited to the centromeric regions of Tammar-Wallaby-derived chromosomes in the hybrid genome. They also detected very low levels of methylation throughout the hybrids genome in comparison with levels in genomes of either parent. Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.

Macropus fuliginosus [Western Grey Kangaroo]
× Macropus giganteus (♀) [Eastern Grey Kangaroo] CAENHR. HPF(♀♀). CON: southeastern Australia. Common in captivity. Hybrids of both sexes are known. In almost every case, F₁ females preferred to mate with Western males. A backcross to Eastern lacked eyes and was a unilateral cryptorchid male. A male produced from a second backcross to M. fuliginosus was partially fertile. In hybrids, the mean length of the estrus cycle and gestation period (37.6 and 34.1 days, respectively) are intermediate between those of the parents (fuliginosus: 34.9 and 30.6; giganteus: 45.6 and 36.4). Length of gestation in backcrosses to fuliginosus was 31.6 days. Poole and Catling 1975 (p. 349) say mixed mobs occur in all areas where these kangaroos are in contact. Calaby and Poole 1971; Cooper et al. 1971; Coulson and Coulson (2001) reported natural hybrids in Willandra National Park, western New South Wales (33˚13´S, 145˚07´E). Using molecular markers, Neaves et al. (2010) documented extensive hybridization with backcrossing. International Zoo Yearbook 1987 (p. 398), 1988 (p. 447), 1990 (p. 423); Kirsch and Poole 1967, 1972; Neaves et al. 2010; Poole 1969, 1970; Poole and Catling 1974, 1975.
× Megaleia rufa (♀) [Red Kangaroo] CHR. CON: southern Australia. LFH. Hybrids of both sexes reported. Calaby and Poole 1971; Poole 1970; Poole and Catling 1975 (p. 349); Richardson et al. 1971.

Macropus giganteus [Eastern Grey Kangaroo]
See also: Macropus fuliginosus and Bettongia gaimardi × Macropus sp.
× Macropus parryi (♂) [Whiptail Wallaby] CHR. CON: eastern Australia. Calaby and Poole 1971; Poole 1970; Richardson et al. 1971.
× Macropus robustus (♂) [Common Wallaroo | Euro] CHR(Ireland). CON: eastern Australia The Dublin Zoo had a hybrid in 1899. Anonymous 1900 (pp. 36, 52).
× Megaleia rufa (↔ usu. ♀) [Red Kangaroo] CHR. CON: eastern Australia. LFH. Hybrids of both sexes reported. In an old report Baron Rothschild (1898) comments that he had kept a wide variety of kangaroos at his facility, but that none of these “would live well in a free state, and of all of them I only had in 1895 one female Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus, left at liberty. This animal paired with a male ‘Boomer’ (Macropus giganteus), and produced, at the beginning of 1897, a female hybrid which, strange to say, was exactly like the mother and showed no trace of the father. At the time, knowing the many freaks which appear in hybrids, I took little notice of this creature, but this year (i.e., end of 1897) the same female Red Kangaroo produced a male hybrid from a Boomer which is of the most brilliant red colour, much brighter than any pure-bred Red Kangaroo I have seen, and also shows no trace of the male parent in its appearance. It seems therefore that in this case the female has more influence on the progeny than the male.” Calaby and Poole 1971; Poole 1970; Poole and Catling 1975 (p. 349); Richardson et al. 1971; Rothschild (1898).

Macropus hagenbecki [Hagenbeck's Kangaroo] See: Macropus antilopinus × Megaleia rufa.

Macropus magnus. See: Macropus robustus × Megaleia rufa.

Macropus parma [Parma Wallaby] See: Macropus dorsalis; M. eugenii.

Macropus parryi [Whiptail Wallaby] See: Macropus giganteus.

Note: The Euro and Wallaroo were once treated as separate species (Macropus erubescens Sclater 1870 and M. robustus Gould 1841, respectively), but have long been treated as conspecific. Although female erubescens × robustus hybrids are about as fertile as parental females, male hybrids are sometimes sterile, or at least of very low fertility. Cooper et al. 1971; Johnston and Robinson 1986; Johnston et al. 1976; Poole and Merchant 1987; Sharman 1974 (p. 151).

Macropus robustus [Common Wallaroo | Euro]
See also: Macropus giganteus.
× Megaleia rufa (↔ usu. ♀) [Red Kangaroo] CANHR. CON: Australia. LFH. Hybrids of both sexes have been reported. Schwarz (1931c) thought a specimen that Rothschild described as a species was this hybrid (Macropus magnus Rothschild, 1905; Macropus hagenbecki Rothschild, 1907). Cooper et al. 1971; Iredale and Troughton 1934 (p. 53); International Zoo Yearbook 1978 (p. 368), 1979 (p. 346); Richardson et al. 1971; Schwarz 1931c; Sharman and Johnson 1974; Smith et al. 1979.

Macropus rufogriseus [Red-necked Wallaby]
See also: Macropus agilis and Bettongia gaimardi × Macropus sp.
× Thylogale thetis (♀) [Red-necked Pademelon] CHR. CON: Australia (eastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales). Frankfurt Zoo had a hybrid in the 1860s. Ackermann (1898, p. 38) says the mature animal resembled its mother in color and size. The cross was with M. r. bennetti. Niemeyer 1868 (p. 69).
× Wallabia bicolor (♂) [Swamp Wallaby] CHR. CON: eastern Australia. In a hybrid, the number of Y chromosomes was not constant from one lymphocyte to another (the number observed varied from 0 to 8). W. bicolor has an unusual multiple sex chromosome system (XX females, XY₁Y₂ males). Sharp and Hayman 1981; Smith et. al 1979; Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.

red kangaroo Red Kangaroo (Megaleia rufa)

Megaleia rufa [Red Kangaroo] See: Macropus agilis; M. fuliginosus; M. giganteus; M. robustus.

Note: In northeastern Australia rock-wallaby populations (Petrogale) differing in karyotype form a series of hybrid zones. The degree of sterility in hybrids is generally greater when the number of chromosomal structural differences between the parental types is larger. Bee and Close 1993; Briscoe et al. 1982; Sharman et al. 1990.

Petrogale sp. [Rock-wallaby]
× Oryctolagus cuniculus [European Rabbit] The following report appeared on page 6 of the November 13, 1926, issue of Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser, a newspaper published in Kyogle, New South Wales, Australia (source): “FREAK ANIMAL. Mr. Jack Kuhn had a freak animal on view at Manilla [New South Wales] recently. This hybrid was practically devoid of hair, and had a tail about four inches long, which was also practically hairless. The head resembled that of a rock wallaby, and the animal was about the size of a three-quarter grown rabbit. On its hindquarters were little tufts of hair, very much like that of a hare, and its feet were also like that of the same animal. This extraordinary creature was caught in a rabbit trap.” O. cuniculus is introduced in Australia, where it is numerous and widespread.

Petrogale assimilis [Allied Rock-wallaby]
× Petrogale inornata (↔) [Unadorned Rock-wallaby] CAONHR(coastal northeastern Australia). HPF. The wallabies differ in karyotype. The contact zone between chromosomal types lies along the Burdekin and Bowen river valleys. Male hybrids are sterile (or at least of very low fertility). Bee and Close 1993; Close and Bell 1997; Close et al. 1996; Sharman et al. 1990; Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.
× Petrogale mareeba (↔) [Mareeba Rock-wallaby] CHR. Parapatric contact zone northeastern Queensland (just north of Townsville). HPF(♀♀). Close and Bell report a three-way hybrid with P. penicillata. Sharman et al. 1990; Close and Bell 1997; Close et al. 1996.
× Petrogale sharmani (♂) [Sharman’s Rock-wallaby] CANHR. Bee and Close (p. 31) say a male hybrid had many abnormal spermatozoa. Parapatric contact zone extends northwest from Townsville (northeastern Queensland). Until recently P. sharmani was known as the “Mt. Claro race” of P. assimilis. Bee and Close (1993); Close et al. 1996; Eldridge et al. 1988; Sharman et al. 1990.

Petrogale coenensis [Cape York Rock-wallaby]
× Petrogale godmani [Godman’s Rock-wallaby] Bee and Close (1993, p. 33) say that these wallabies seem to be isolated by distance, but that there is some evidence for hybridization (on the basis of mtDNA haplotypes).

Petrogale godmani [Godman’s Rock-wallaby]
See also Petrogale coenensis.
× Petrogale mareeba (♂) [Mareeba Rock-wallaby] ENHR(ne Australia). HPF(♀♀). Male hybrids have minute, aspermatic testes. Parents differ in karyotype. Structural heterozygotes are present in the zone (southeastern York Peninsula, along the Mitchell River), but not elsewhere. Bee and Close 1993; Briscoe et al. 1982; Close and Bell 1997; Close et al. 1996; Eldridge 1991; Sharman et al. 1990; Waugh-O’Neill et al. 1998.
× Petrogale purpureicollis (♂) [Purple-necked Rock-wallaby] CHR. DRS. HPF(♀♀)? Sharman et al. 1990.

Petrogale herberti [Herbert’s Rock-wallaby]
× Petrogale inornata [Unadorned Rock-wallaby] Parapatric contact zone in coastal northeastern Australia (extending inland from Rockhampton). No hybrids as yet reported (these two closely related types are separated by the Fitzroy River). Bee and Close 1993; Close et al. 1996; Eldridge et al. 1990.
× Petrogale penicillata (↔) [Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby] HPF(♂&♀). CAENHR(coastal e Australia, northeastern of Brisbane, headwaters of Brisbane River). A stable hybrid zone exists in southeastern Queensland. Structural heterozygotes are present in the zone, but not elsewhere. Parents differ in karyotype. Despite bridge and fragment formation in hybrids during meiosis, mature spermatozoa were produced. Bee and Close 1993; Close and Bell 1997; Sharman et al. 1990.

Petrogale inornata [Unadorned Rock-wallaby]
See also: Petrogale assimilis; P. herberti.
× Petrogale purpureicollis (♂) [Purple-necked Rock-wallaby] CHR. DRS. Close and Bell 1997.

Petrogale lateralis [Black-fronted Rock-wallaby]
× Petrogale purpureicollis (♀) [Purple-necked Rock-wallaby] CHR. HPF(♀♀). DRS. Eldridge et al. found that while meiosis was severely disrupted in 73% (8 out of 11) germ cells collected from two female hybrids, the remaining eggs showed normal pairing between homologous chromosomes. Meiotic abnormalities included “major pairing difficulties and irregularities, including regions of asynapsis, hairpin synapsis, tangled asynapsis and the formation of chains of multiple axes.” Bell et al. 1995; Close et al. 1996 (p. 105); Eldridge et al. 2001.
× Petrogale rothschildi (♂) [Rothschild’s Wallaby] CHR. CON: northwestern Australia. Calaby and Poole 1971; Kirsch and Murray 1969.

Petrogale mareeba [Mareeba Rock-wallaby]
See also: Petrogale assimilis; P. godmani.
× Petrogale sharmani (♂) [Sharman’s Rock-wallaby] CHR. NHR? HPF(♂&♀). Parapatric contact zone in northeastern Queensland (175 km northwest of Townsville, headwaters of Burdekin River). Bee and Close (1993, Table 3) say natural hybridization may be occurring. Close and Bell 1997; Close et al. 1996; Eldridge et al. 1988.

Petrogale penicillata [Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby]
See also: Petrogale herberti.
× Petrogale purpureicollis (♀) [Purple-necked Rock-wallaby] CHR. DRS. Close and Bell 1997.

Petrogale persephone [Proserpine Rock-wallaby]
× Petrogale xanthopus (♂) [Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby] CHR. HPF(♀♀). DRS. A female hybrid produced an offspring. Close and Bell 1997; Sharman et al. 1990.

Petrogale purpureicollis [Purple-necked Rock-wallaby] See: Petrogale godmani; P. lateralis.

Petrogale rothschildi [Rothschild’s Wallaby] See: Petrogale lateralis.

Petrogale sharmani [Sharman’s Rock-wallaby] See: Petrogale assimilis; P. mareeba.

Petrogale xanthopus [Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby] See: Petrogale persephone.

Thylogale browni [New Guinea Pademelon] See: Dorcopsis luctuosa.

Thylogale bruni [Dusky Pademelon] See: Thylogale browni.

Thylogale stigmatica [Red-legged Pademelon]
× Thylogale thetis (♀) [Red-necked Pademelon] CHR. HPF(♀♀). CON: eastern coastal Australia (southeastern Queensland, northeastern New South Wales). Calaby and Poole 1971; Close and Bell 1997; International Zoo Yearbook 1977 (p. 298).

Thylogale thetis [Red-necked Pademelon] See: Macropus rufogriseus; Thylogale stigmatica.

Wallabia bicolor [Swamp Wallaby] See: Macropus agilis; M. eugenii; M. rufogriseus.

Incertae sedis >>

dog-cow hybrid A dog-cow hybrid?

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Biology Dictionary >>

By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).


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