Excuse Me, I’m Changing! Specialization At It’s Finest

I’ve noticed a few things in the landscape in the last few weeks. Ever wonder why one branch of a shrub looks different than the other? Natural Selection! Plant and animal breeders use this  knowledge to earn big bucks. These are different than a chimrea.

There are four ways for this to happen:

Genetic Material Went MIA:

Species sometimes lose abilities from lack of use or for defense. When fish began to breathe air, crickets stopped singing and birds lost the capacity to fly, these sometimes become different species in different areas. Related species in another area often retain the capacity to breathe underwater, sing or fly.
Science has generally taught that the loss of genetic material leads to a new species. However, it’s most likely the genes are activated or deactivated, not really lost in these species. So, in short, genes are deactivated when the conditions do not require the features in question. Thus, a flightless cormorant is not a lesser species to a flying cormorant, just simply a cormorant with the genes for flight switched off.


This annual had this random pink bloom. Was it recessed or ? The ninebark (Physocarpus opulus) was originally a green plant. Everyone loves the burgundy ‘Diablo’ version. This one has lost its variation of the burgundy leaves in a few branches.

Mix it up! = Hybridization:

Hybridization is not usually ideal because it can cause loss in fertility. Some animals, insects and plants are prone to hybridization which can lead to viable species.
A Donkey is the descendant of the African wild ass. Donkeys are a different species than a horse, but in the same family. Mules = female horse and a male donkey or “jack” (hence the word “jackass”).Hinny = male horse and a female donkey bred together.
So, the main difference between a donkey, mule, and a horse is genetics. Horses have 64 chromosomes; donkeys have 62, leaving the mule and hinny with 63.


Red Spotted Purple likes to mix it up with White Admirals (Limenitis camilla). This hybridization helps both species go on when one or the others numbers are low.

Breed selection:

Each species has built-in possibilities for variation and if certain characteristics are selected through breeding, a number of deceptively separate species can result. Examples would be the wide variety of dog, cat, pigeon, poultry, the list goes on. This occurs in nature as well, such as the corn snake, which differs in color and scale number according to its location.

Changes in chromosome structure and number:

Sometimes chromosomes can fuse forming longer chromosomes or they can split to form two shorter chromosomes. These changes in structure create different characteristics, which scientists often use as a criterion for a new species.
Animals have an massive capacity for variation, especially under conditions of stress or where organisms enter new adaptive zones or low mate selection. Dogs and wolves of the genus canis have 78 chromosomes, while foxes have a varied number from 38-78 chromosomes. The common number in canid dogs can be due to free interbreeding over a wide area and foxes live in small family groups and smaller territories and less likely to breed with other species.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

8 thoughts on “Excuse Me, I’m Changing! Specialization At It’s Finest

  1. that’s like doing magic without a wand… my grampy once tried to create a pear-apple as he was a freshman of an agricultural college. the result was an epic fail and he really ended like Mickey Mouse with the broomsticks:o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! You crack me up!
      This was the post I should have referenced the sandhill and the brolga cranes. Gosh, time flies whether you’re having fun or not…
      I love learning. And if I learn something cool, I like to share. There are a few folks that think the same and not that the Kardashians are important. 😛😛😛

      Liked by 1 person

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