Frankensteinean Monsters

Frankensteinean Monsters - Southern Africa : To pull together all observations of in situ hybrid invasions caused by man. To qualify as Frankeflora or Frankenfauna or Frankenfungi an alien or extralimital species or subspecies must have been introduced into an area (or escaped from nearby) where

To pull together all observations of in situ hybrid invasions caused by man.

To qualify as Frankeflora or Frankenfauna or Frankenfungi an alien or extralimital species or subspecies must have been introduced into an area (or escaped from nearby) where it is wiping out or transforming an indigenous species by hybridizing with it.

This project does not include hybrids or cultivars running amok: there must be a component of threat by hybridization to a local taxon.

The Cape Flora seems to have several examples. Perhaps because of the high biogeographical richness and endemicity translocations seem especially prone to result in hybrids. A classical case is in Protea, where members of the Beard and White Sugarbushes form hybrid swarms in gardens or restoration work and then escape into the veld hybridizing with the local species.

Another clear example is Agapanthus - where the praecox planted on Table Mountain has wiped out the local africanus with a hybrid swarm.
From further afield, on the Cape Peninsula alien Celtis species in city gardens are breeding with Celtis africana in the wild, resulting in a new generation of hybrids.
There is a fear that subspecies of Bitou - brought in by the nursery industry from KZN and EC - are hybridizing with local subspecies in the Table Mountain National Park with unknown effects. This has not been investigated.
Plantings of Keurboom (Virgilia oroboides subsp. ferruginea and V. divaricata) from the Garden Route have resulted in hybrids with the Indigenous subspecies (Virgilia oroboides subsp. oroboides): the extent and impacts of this have not been studied.

Animalwise, the Blesbontbok and Blackanblue Wildebeest are the best known examples, but Roan-Sable crosses are being introduced into hunting areas because of their superior trophy qualities.

This is the tip of an iceberg of unknown proportions. Please tell us of any examples that come to your attention.

09 May 2016
Tony Rebelo