flying squirrels team up!

Many species have responded to contemporary climate change through shifts in their geographic range. This could lead to increased sympatry between recently diverged species; likely increasing the potential for hybridization.

Recently, following a series of warm winters, southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) in Ontario, Canada rapidly expanded their northern range limit resulting in increased sympatry with the closely related northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus).

To our knowledge, this is the first report of hybrid zone formation following a range expansion induced by contemporary climate change. This is also the first report of hybridization between North American flying squirrel species.

“Global Change Biology, Volume 16, Issue 1 January 2010 Pages 113–121