Whats the difference between a species, a mutation and a breed?

Free as a bird

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Hi.
I thought a species could only breed with its own kind but apparently that's not true. So now I'm a bit confused. What does define a species? The more i try look into it the more confused I get.

Let's take cockatiels and conures for example. There is only one species of cockatiel but several mutations and they can all interbreed. With conures there are several species that can also interbreed. So what's the difference then?

Breed is a term not really used in the bird world but is really common with dogs and they have many breeds. It seems like a breed is the same thing as a species or mutation.

Can anyone explain the difference here? Your responses are much appreciated
 

Jcas

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Good question! I don’t have the answer but I’m interested to see what insight others have to offer!
 

texsize

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Reed in dog’s does seem much like mutation in cockatiels to me.

you have a dog born with shorter legs than normal (a genetic mutation) and then you selectively breed for that trait and over time you got your dachshund..
I am sure I am simplifying.

But how is that different from breeding for a specific color?
Why isn’t a yellow ring neck parakeet a breed of ring neck?

It’s a good question.
Maybe chat gtp the ai thing can answer
 

Keet_Krazy

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Breed isn't just colour it's a set of traits that generally have to "breed true". You breed a poodle with a poodle you're not going to get a great dane, you get a poodle. But they're all the same species Canis familiaris.
I keep chickens, I have breeds and i have mutts they're all still chickens.
Mutation is generally a colour, pattern or something else like a feather mutation.
One could argue that budgies are the only parrot that truely has "breeds". English, american/Australian, and Bush. They're all the same species, budgies, and can be crossed together, but are generally bred to be quite different.
As for breeding between species, this is often possible but the resulting offspring is a  hybrid, think mules, ligers, etc. not a crossbreed.
No one would say a mule is a crossbreed, as Donkeys and Horses are seperate species. It works the same way for parrots.
 

DonnaBudgie

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Hi.
I thought a species could only breed with its own kind but apparently that's not true. So now I'm a bit confused. What does define a species? The more i try look into it the more confused I get.

Let's take cockatiels and conures for example. There is only one species of cockatiel but several mutations and they can all interbreed. With conures there are several species that can also interbreed. So what's the difference then?

Breed is a term not really used in the bird world but is really common with dogs and they have many breeds. It seems like a breed is the same thing as a species or mutation.

Can anyone explain the difference here? Your responses are much appreciated
"Breed" would be the dog world equivalent to " mutation".

"Species" would be a Sun Conure, for example, which is a separate species from a Jenday Conure, but they are closely related and can breed together to make SunDay Conures. Wolves, Canis lupus, are related closely enough to Canis familiaris, the dog, to interbreed to make wolfdogs.
Homo sapiens (us people), at one time interbred with Homo neanderthalensis. Homo neanderthalensis also interbred with Homo erectus. All are different species.

Then there are subspecies which are separated from each other by geography and look very similar but can interbreed.
 
OP
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I do see a difference between breed and mutation.
If poodle mates with a poodle you always get a poodle.
But if a blue budgie mates with a blue budgie you can still get a different colour budgies.
So I don't think breed and mutation are the same thing.

I know that a horse and a donkey are two separate species. If they mate they have a mule but that mule is infertile.

A quick look at Google regarding the liger, a cross between a tiger and a lion, it says the females are fertile but the males aren't. Interesting

There are hybrids. A successful hybrid of two different species is one that produces fertile offspring I'm reading. So then doesn't that justify its own species.

Then there are subspecies and by now I'm just confused to be honest
 
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DonnaBudgie

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I do see a difference between breed and mutation.
If poodle mates with a poodle you always get a poodle.
But if a blue budgie mates with a blue budgie you can still get a different colour budgies.
So I don't think breed and mutation are the same thing.

I know that a horse and a donkey are two separate species. If they mate they have a mule but that mule is infertile.

A quick look at Google regarding the liger, a cross between a tiger and a lion, it says the females are fertile but the males aren't. Interesting

There are hybrids. A successful hybrid of two different species is one that produces fertile offspring I'm reading. So then doesn't that justify its own species.

Then there are subspecies and by now I'm just confused to be honest
I guess it would be more clear to say that mutations cause breeds.
Since blue is recessive in budgies, two blue budgies can only make blue/white budgies (not green/yellow).
 

Vampiric_Conure

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What was described to me some years ago, is that mutation only considers the way a critter looks while breed also considers the look AND personality, and/or other bred-for trait such as flying ability (Ie: pigeons). Poodle is a breed, Apricot colored poodles are a mutation within a breed.

Species is the critter's main family, ie: dog, cat, horse, zebra. HYbrids happen when you cross closely related families, ie: Horse/donkey to produce a mule/hinny.
 

texsize

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"Breed" would be the dog world equivalent to " mutation".

"Species" would be a Sun Conure, for example, which is a separate species from a Jenday Conure, but they are closely related and can breed together to make SunDay Conures. Wolves, Canis lupus, are related closely enough to Canis familiaris, the dog, to interbreed to make wolfdogs.
Homo sapiens (us people), at one time interbred with Homo neanderthalensis. Homo neanderthalensis also interbred with Homo erectus. All are different species.

Then there are subspecies which are separated from each other by geography and look very similar but can interbreed.
I was in the local Petco some while ago.
You know how lots of people bring their pets in.
Well there was this dog…..
Firs thing came out of my mouth was “is that a wolf or a dog”
The owner said she had been told it was part wolf and I believe it.
It was amazing.
It wasn’t just huge, there was a definite wildness in it.
to bad I didn’t think to take a picture.
I didn’t really like dogs but it was in another class.
 
OP
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What would be a human mutation?
Would it be things like eye, skin and hair colour?
 

DonnaBudgie

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What would be a human mutation?
Would it be things like eye, skin and hair colour?
Those traits and other things, too, like hemophilia, started as mutations. My understanding is that a change in a gene during cell division is a mutation. If the change occurs in a sex cell (ovum or sperm) it can cause a change in the offspring made by that sex cell. If the changed gene is dominant only one copy would be needed for the offspring to have (express) the trait. If recessive, two copies (one from each parent) would be needed. Most gene mutations in sex cells are recessive and are never expressed. When animals are inbred, with siblings especially, the chances of the changed, mutated gene meeting up with another like gene increases. Since many mutations are harmful, inbreeding is discouraged.
A mutation in a non-sex cell can result in out of control abnormal cell growth (cancer). That's my understanding, anyway.
 

Jcas

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I'm a bit late but I had written a thread article about it - it's on conures but it works with other parrots the same: https://www.parrotforums.com/thread...rt-1-species-vs-subspecies-vs-mutation.92671/

I didn't mention breeds because parrots don't have breeds - they are among cats, dogs etc
Ah, I think this helps me make sense of the differences. So if I were to use say, wolves as an example, wolf ( Canis lupus) is the species, a Timber Wolf would be a subspecies, and a black Timber Wolf would be a mutation. Wolves and dogs are different species ( but both of the family Canis) so a wolf/ dog cross would be a hybrid. Correct? Thanks for the breakdown!
 

DonnaBudgie

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Hi.
I thought a species could only breed with its own kind but apparently that's not true. So now I'm a bit confused. What does define a species? The more i try look into it the more confused I get.

Let's take cockatiels and conures for example. There is only one species of cockatiel but several mutations and they can all interbreed. With conures there are several species that can also interbreed. So what's the difference then?

Breed is a term not really used in the bird world but is really common with dogs and they have many breeds. It seems like a breed is the same thing as a species or mutation.

Can anyone explain the difference here? Your responses are much appreciated
If the two species are very closely related (in the same genus for sure) they can interbreed. And sometimes if the are extremely closely related the offspring are fertile. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule about this and scientists are obviously not even aware of all species that can interbreed because it generally only occurs in captivity when the animals do not have a mate of their own kind available to them.
 

DonnaBudgie

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If the two species are very closely related (in the same genus for sure) they can interbreed. And sometimes if the are extremely closely related the offspring are fertile. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule about this and scientists are obviously not even aware of all species that can interbreed because it generally only occurs in captivity when the animals do not have a mate of their own kind available to them.
Read the Wikipedia article on hybrids. Good information.
 

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Ah, I think this helps me make sense of the differences. So if I were to use say, wolves as an example, wolf ( Canis lupus) is the species, a Timber Wolf would be a subspecies, and a black Timber Wolf would be a mutation. Wolves and dogs are different species ( but both of the family Canis) so a wolf/ dog cross would be a hybrid. Correct? Thanks for the breakdown!
I'm not a wolf person so I had to google for Timber wolves to check their taxonomy. Actually it's more complicated because few (sub)species can be called like that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Wolf

And yes, crossing a dog and a wolf would be a hybrid
 

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