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Old 01-18-2017, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: The Importance of Letting Frogs be Frogs?

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post

I also think that the overall health of the captive population in the hobby would benefit if we don't 'coddle' every batch of eggs that gets laid. I think in the end, we're doing ourselves a disservice by taking that approach. I would argue that we'd better served by letting a little natural selection take place, i.e. the less is more strategy, as far as genetic fitness is concerned.
There are problems with respect to "healthy" genetics in both the pull and no pull scenarios. Both of these are forms of selection but the selection is not "natural" as it is directed by the actions of the keeper and it should not be described as natural. As there is a lack of predators and normal environmental system upsets, it is in no way natural selection, it is artificial ...

Both of those scenarios result in adaptation to captivity (as animals that are maladapted die or don't breed) and both result in the loss of genetic diversity to the captive population particularly since the hobbyists have little interest in keeping a genetically diverse captive populations.

In both scenarios the process of domestication is going continue, the question is just when does the population has lost sufficient genetic diversity that it becomes susceptible to disease or environmental factors and is lost to captivity.

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
In all Dendrobatid species currently kept in the hobby, (at least as far as I'm currently aware) male frogs provide some measure of parental support. That support, at minimum, involves transporting tadpoles to a deposition site.
Not all males transport, consider the Oophaga genus or even some dendrobatids that utilize small phytotelmata see for example

Caldwell, Janalee P., and Maria Carmozina Ara˙jo. "Cannibalistic Interactions Resulting from Indiscriminate Predatory Behavior in Tadpoles of Poison Frogs (Anura: Dendrobatidae) 1." Biotropica 30.1 (1998): 92-103.

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
I think, in the end, it's more important to the health of the population as a whole, that these tadpoles essentially be left behind, rather than what seems to be recommended too often these days:
The problem with this idea is that your making the assumption that these tadpoles have a negative fitness but that is is problematic as hatching is dependent on humidity and temperature as well as genetic factors. Eggs within the same clutch could have different thermal exposures changing the rate of development (example light spot hitting one side of a covering leaf ...

What you are advocating is that the frogs showing the best adaption to captivity that includes parental care should be bred the most frequently but this has no bearing on other important genetic contributions such as variation in the histocompatability complex and again is a form of direct selection.

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
2)Douse them in methylene blue or tadpole tea or whatever in a petri dish
A lot of these practices originated back in the days when there was frequent deaths of eggs and tadpoles before hatching which based on anecdotal evidence has decreased significantly since preformed retinoids have been included in the supplements of the frogs so in a way they are outdated or archaic practices.

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
Yes, doing it this way *will* yield higher numbers of frogs, absolutely. But on the whole, I believe that the overall fitness of individuals in a population is being lowered faster than it needs to be through the generations with this practice.
The directed selection you are commenting on effects are pretty much dwarfed by the habit of breeding siblings together for each generation. For those that choose "unrelated" animals (which they don't actually know they are unrelated"), there isn't enough people doing this to move the directed selected you are discussing up the ladder of risks to the captive population. Pretty much

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
In the vast majority of species/locales the hobby is currently working with, we don't particularly need them either;
They may not be "needed" as specimens in the established section of the hobby but they could be sold wholesale which would relieve some of the issues with the swamping of local markets, put pressure on those selling hybrids to the wider market and potentially lure more people to the hobby.

Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
whether it's from a genetic diversity standpoint or even in many species, from a demand standpoint. Obviously there are outlier species or locales that do demand some special treatment do to low population numbers, I won't argue that point, but in most instances I think we breed more than what the demand is, so we could probably stand to produce a little less.
The problem here is that there isn't any way to know which populations are in decline until they actually crash or are lost to the hobby. So to make this recommendation without that data should be considered as suspect as there isn't any test to know when a morph or species is in decline before it has really bottomed out.

This entire argument only really works if there is some way to determine and manage, the genetic relatedness of the frogs in question as anything other than that information renders the whole argument pretty much useless as the argument is for genetic diversity which is going to pretty much continue to be an unknown. The hobby has more than once made a lot of noise about good genetics but that didn't slow down the purchase of sibling groups or other bad choices genetically ...

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