Date of this Version
Mech LD, Asa CS, Callahan M, Christensen BW, Smith F, Young JK (2017) Studies of wolf x coyote hybridization via artificial insemination. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184342. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184342
Following the production of western gray wolf (Canis lupus) x western coyote (Canis latrans) hybrids via artificial insemination (AI), the present article documents that the hybrids survived in captivity for at least 4 years and successfully bred with each other. It further reports that backcrossing one of the hybrids to a male gray wolf by AI also resulted in the birth of live pups that have survived for at least 10 months. All male hybrids (F1 and F2) produced sperm by about 10 months of age, and sperm quality of the F1 males fell within the fertile range for domestic dogs, but sperm motility and morphology, in particular, were low in F2 males at 10 months but improved in samples taken at 22 months of age. These studies are relevant to a long-standing controversy about the identity of the red wolf (Canis rufus), the existence of a proposed new species (Canis lycaon) of gray wolf, and to the role of hybridization in mammalian evolution.