Here is the thing: a freak to a fish was caught in western Finland in 2009, and a picture of this putative hybrid – together with a tissue sample – landed to the University of Helsinki premises. We were asked if the hybrid origin of the fish could be confirmed genetically.
With a little bit of jiggling in the lab, followed by subsequent analyses of data on eight microsatellite loci and mtDNA sequences, we concluded that the focal fish is indeed a backcross between perch (Perca fluviatilis) and pike-perch (Sander lucioperca) hybrid and either of the parental sepcies. A similar case – but genetically unconfirmed such – has been recorded from Finland in early 1960′s. Hence, the fish we analyzed is the first confirmed hybrid between these two species. Blimey.
While still working with the analyses, the news about this fish broke prematurely to the public. Some of this coverage can be found from the following links:
Now the scientific article about this case has been accepted for publication:
Kahilainen K, AGF Teacher, K Kähkönen, M Vinni, H Lehtonen & J Merilä 2010. A case of natural hybridization between pikeperch Sander lucioperca and perch Perca fluviatilis. Annales Zoologici Fennici, in press.