Mustelid Hybrids

Otters, Weasels, Badgers, Skunks




Sea otters
(Enhydra lutris)

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Aonyx capensis [African Clawless Otter]
× Aonyx congicus (♀) [Congo Clawless Otter] ONHR. CON: Democratic Republic of Congo (vicinity of Garamba National Park) and Cameroon. Contact occurs at the interface of savanna and forest biomes. The Tervuren Museum has probable hybrids. In these specimens, which have been treated as A. capensis, the patch between eye and nose is more conspicuous than is usual. Jacques et al. 2002.

Aonyx cinereus [Oriental Small-clawed Otter]
× Lutrogale perspicillata [Smooth-coated Otter] CHR. CON: southeast Asia, western Indonesia. Melisch and Foster Turley 1996.

Enhydra lutris [Sea Otter]
+ Phoca vitulina (♀) [Harbor Seal] No hybrids have been reported, but along the California coast, matings between southern sea otters (E. l. nereis) and young harbor seal females (weaned pups) have been repeatedly observed (Channel Islands and Monterey Bay). Typically, the sea otter hauls out on the beach near a harbor seal and then harasses it into the water (or accosts it in the water). It then grasps the seal from behind with its teeth and forepaws, bites it on the nose and face, mounts it, and engages in copulatory behavior. Actual intromission frequently occurs (often many times repeated). Such encounters commonly result in the injury, or even death, of the female seal. Harris et al. 2010; Hatfield et al. 1994.

Lontra canadensis [Northern River Otter]
× Lontra longicaudis (♀) [Neotropical River Otter] Hybridization in captivity has been reported (Davis 1978). Although the customary ranges of these two otters are not contiguous, the two may come into occasional contact in northeastern Mexico or southern Texas.
× Ovis aries [Domestic Sheep] See the separate article "Northern River Otter × Domestic Sheep."

Lontra longicaudis [Neotropical River Otter] See: Lontra canadensis.

Lutrogale perspicillata [Smooth-coated Otter] See: Aonyx cinereus.

Martes americana [American Marten]
× Martes martes [Pine Marten] ENHR(UK). M. americana is introduced in England. Kyle et al. 2003.

Martes foina [Beech Marten]
× Felis catus [Domestic Cat] NHR. See the separate article "Domestic Cat × Marten."
× Martes martes [Pine Marten] CANHR. ENHI. Pocock (p. 322) notes that a population, intermedia, of central Asia (the Altai and southward to Afghanistan), treated as a race of M. foina, was so named because its describer (Severtzow) considered it “intermediate between martes and foina.” In addition, he says (p. 323), intermedia is “exceedingly variable.” High levels of variation are generally a sign of hybridization. There have also been separate reports of probable natural hybrids. Streuli reports that hybrids were produced in captivity after repeated, failed attempts. Ackermann 1898 (p. 56); Anonymous 1890; Antonius 1951b; Pocock 1941; Severtzow 1876 (p. 45); Streuli 1932.
× Mustela putorius [European Polecat] NHR? CON: Europe, western Russia. The report in question, in German, refers to a "marder" from the vicinity of Bremen, which might refer either to M. foina or M. martes. Ackermann (1898, p. 57) citing J. F. Jahns in Bremen Weserzeitung, vol. 5, 1884.

Martes martes [Pine Marten]
See also: Martes americana; M. foina.
× Felis catus [Domestic Cat] NHR. See the separate article "Domestic Cat × Marten."
× Martes zibellina [Sable] CAENHR. HPF(♀♀). CON: Russia. The hybrid is known as a “kidus”or “kidas” (pl. kiduses, kidases).They are common in regions where the pine marten and sable both occur (Urals, Pri-Urals, Ob Valley). The natural hybrids are highly variable, spanning the full range of morphologies between the two parental types. According to Heptner et al. (p. 834) the typical kidas of the upper Pechora River often has white on the head (as do sable) and a short tail, compared to marten (but longer than in sable). The fur is typically dark or black in color, more luxuriant than a marten’s, but coarser than a sable’s (although, depending on the individual in question, it may be more or less similar to the fur of either parental type).A bright, well-demarcated throat patch is particularly characteristic. Heptner et al. say kidases outnumber sables on the Pechora (population percentages were: 58.8% martens, 29.6% kidases, and 11.6% sables). Dabczewski 1958; Grakov 1981, 1994; Heptner et al. 2001 (pp. 833-836); Yurgenson 1947.
× Mustela putorius [European Polecat] NHR? CON: Europe, western Russia. The report in question, in German, refers to a "marder" from the vicinity of Bremen, which might refer either to M. foina or M. martes. Ackermann (1898, p. 57) citing J. F. Jahns in Bremen Weserzeitung, vol. 5, 1884.

Martes zibellina [Sable] See: Martes martes.

Meles anakuma [Japanese Badger]
× Meles leucurus [Asian Badger] ENHI(eastern Asia). Baryshnikov et al. (2002, p. 145) state that “in size and morphometric characters the badgers from north-eastern China and northern Korea occupy an intermediate position between other continental populations [of M. leucurus] and the Japanese population [M. anakuma].” Thus, although the taxonomic entity anakuma is generally equated with populations restricted to the Japanese islands, real-world populations are geographically and morphologically intermediate, and are therefore PHPs of this cross.

Meles leucurus [Asian Badger]
See also: Meles anakuma.
× Meles meles [Eurasian Badger] ENHR(western Russia). A parapatric contact zone extends northward from the Caspian Sea nearly to the Arctic Ocean. Baryshnikov et al. (2002, p. 144) state that in the Zhiguli Nature Reserve on the right bank of the Volga River both these badgers “occur everywhere, forming [a] hybridization zone.” Presumably, then, hybridization also occurs in other regions along the lengthy zone of contact. A second, presumaly altitudinal contact zone exists in the Tien Shan Mountains. The Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg has a specimen (#ZIN O.34606) of this hybrid.

Meles meles [Eurasian Badger] See: Meles leucurus.

Mustela altaica [Altai Weasel | Mountain weasel]
× Mustela putorius [European Polecat] CHR. DRS. A hybrid is in the collection of the Siberian Zoological Museum, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia. On the basis of a picture showing it side-by-side with its parents, it is approximately twice as long, and on the order of ten times as heavy as either. Nobuyuki Yamaguchi (personal communication).Internet Citations: ALTAI.

Mustela ermina [Stoat | Ermine | Short-tailed Weasel]
× Mustela furo (♀) [Ferret] CHR. HPF(♂&♀). Alfred Heneage Cocks produced four successive generations of hybrids (Cocks 1899; Hill and Webb 1903, p. 87). Also see: Wu and Chang 1973
× Mustela putorius (♀) [European Polecat] HPF(♂&♀). There seem to be no direct reports of this cross. However, since hybrids between the stoat and ferret are partially fertile in both sexes, and because the ferret is a domestic form of the European polecat, hybrids of this type can also be expected to be at partially fertile in both sexes.

Mustela eversmanii [Steppe Polecat]
× Mustela furo [Ferret] CHR. HPF(♂&♀). Heptner et al. (2001, p. 1116) say ferrets are “unrestrictedly fertile” in crosses with M. eversmanii. See Mustela eversmanii × M. putorius.
× Mustela nigripes [Black-footed Ferret] CHR. DRS.Williams et al. 1996; Williams and Montali 1998.
× Mustela putorius [European Polecat] CAONHR. HPF(♂&♀). CON: eastern Europe. These taxa are sometimes lumped.Three-way hybrids have been produced with female M. lutreola. M. furomay be derived from this cross.Blandford 1987; Grafodatskii et al. 1985; International Zoo Yearbook 1989 (p. 330); Ternovskii and Ternovskaya 1981; Youngman 1982.
× Mustela sibirica [Siberian Weasel] ONHR. CON: Russia. Heptner et al. (2001, p. 1057) says that in western Siberia sometimes “giant kolonok [i.e. giant Siberian weasels] occur with significantly larger dimensions than usual.” He goes on to say that these animals have a commercial skin length of 80-88 cm (vs. 59-60 cm for ordinary Siberian weasels), and that their coat color varies greatly. He says they are apparently hybrids between M. eversmanii and M. sibirica, but are known only from skins which are obtained in the region of parental contact (Barabin Steppe).

Mustela furo [Ferret]
See also: Mustela ermina; Mustela eversmanii × M. putorius.
+ Felis catus [Domestic Cat] See the separate article "Domestic Cat × Marten."
× Mustela putorius (↔) [European Polecat] CAENHR(Wales, southwestern England). HPF(♂&♀). M. furo is feral in the UK, and more widespread than the native polecat. M. putorius was nearly extinct in Britain, but is now expanding from a Welsh refugium. The ferret is generally considered the domestic equivalent of the European Polecat, and Heptner et al. (2001, p. 1116) say it is “unrestrictedly fertile” in crosses with M. putorius. Davison et al. (p. 19) say that “in Britain, some local populations of polecats may now be most closely related to feral ferrets through hybridization.” Prokhorova and Gruzdev (1980) say that in Russia these hybrids are maintained as research animals and that they reach sexual maturity at 9-10 months of age, and that females can bear two litters a year totaling 18-20 young. Bednarz 1960a, 1960b; Davison et al. 1999; International Zoo Yearbook 1970 (p. 263), 1971 (p. 274), 1972 (p. 327), 1978 (p. 386); Lynch 1995; Pitt 1921; Poole 1972, 1974; Verfurth 1983.
× Mustela lutreola (♂) [European Mink] CHR. In a small scale study using artificial insemination, fertilized ova developed and implanted, but degeneration occurred at various stages. Some ova achieved advanced development (some hybrid embryos survived about a month). No fertilized ova were obtained from the reciprocal cross despite repeated inseminations. Chang 1965b, 1968; Chang and Hancock 1967.

Mustela lutreola [European Mink]
See also: Mustela furo.
× Mustela putorius (♂) [European Polecat] CAENHR(Russia, Finland). HPF(♂&♀). See the separate article “European Mink × European Polecat.”
× Mustela vison [American Mink] CHR. Natural hybridization many occur, too, in Europe in regions where the American minkhas been introduced. These forms are occasionally lumped. Gaffrey 1961; Harris and Yalden 2008.

Mustela nigripes [Black-footed Ferret] See: Mustela eversmanii.

Mustela putorius [European Polecat]
See also: Martes foina; M. martes; Mustela altaica; M. ermina; M. eversmanii; M. lutreola.
× Felis catus [Domestic Cat] A cat-polecat hybrid mentioned in Pallas (1812, pp. 48-49), which is an English translation of Bemerkungen auf einer Reise in die südlichen Statthalterschaften des Russischen Reichs in den Jahren 1793 und 1794 (Pallas 1803), mistranslates the German word Marder as polecat, but the correct meaning is marten. See the separate article “Domestic Cat × Marten".
× Mustela vison [American Mink] CHR. DRS. Harris and Yalden 2008.

Mustela sibirica [Siberian Weasel] See: Mustela eversmanii.

Mustela vison [American Mink] See: Mustela lutreola, M. putorius.

Spilogale gracilis [Western Spotted Skunk] Two populations (gracilis, leucoparia), treated as races of S. gracilis, hybridize in Arizona (near Flagstaff). They have a parapatric contact zone that extends from the Colorado to Arizona’s eastern border. Hoffmeister 1986 (Map 5.76 and p. 508).

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

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