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Old 08-18-2005, 03:30 PM
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Default Using Aphids for Color

Ok, Im posting this here because more people come throught this page than the Food page....
I found a few milkweed aphids on a butterfly weed... they were all bunched together in typical aphid hangout style, I plucked the leaves and stems they were on, and fed them to my frogs. My auratus and imitators loved them the first feeding but the second time around they werent as excited. Could the yellow color help with coloring up frogs with yellows, oranges and reds? They seem like they would be very easy to culture. I dont have time to try them on fava beans but they love milkweed, butterfly weed, and a few other common garden plants.




And here is what my auratus gave me in return.


You can clearly see the yellow aphids in the fecal. Does this occure with ff and other feeders, but you just cant see them as well? Does the passing of the yellow color rule out the possibility of these bugs helping with color?
Sorry for the fuzzy pictures... I didnt have much light, and didnt feel like taking out the tripod.
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:15 PM
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Not all colored insects can help with increasing color in dart frogs (or other amphibians for that matter). The colors need to be the result of carotenoids and not flavenoids, pterins or iridiopores.

I am doubtful that they will help with the color in the frogs as many aphid species are colored at birth and do not intensify over time....

If possible I would suggest not using aphids off of plants such as butterfly weed (Asclepsis) or milkweed as they are potentially toxic and are probably very bitter due to the alkaloids contained in the plants. This bitterness and possible partial poisioning may be why the frogs were less than enthusiastic the second time....

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Old 08-18-2005, 04:58 PM
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Feeding frogs insects loaded with alkaloids is probably not a good idea, you might end up with "hot" frogs. That could easily ruin your day.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:05 PM
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Thanks Ed,
I wasnt too excited about using bugs from this plant either, but there doesnt seem to be any harm done. I wont be feeding these aphids to my frogs again unless I can get them to culture on fava beans. Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:29 PM
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Monacrh butterfly larvae live solely on milkweed and are rarely taken more then once as a food source by any predator. This also holds true for adults. Also note the bright colors of the larvae and adults.

http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_butterfly.htm
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:32 PM
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Yes and the bright colors of the Milkweed aphid!! Our little hoppers can handle em :twisted:
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:47 PM
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There are many species of aphids, and most are rather specialized to a certain kind of plant, i.e. "pea aphids" would probably do all right on fava beans or other legumes, but those you find on Asclepias might not adapt to a different plant family. Those I find on cabbage leaves (Brassica) are especially popular with my darts. I should think the legume specialists would be the most convenient to attempt to culture on fava beans and would be safe to feed.
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Old 08-19-2005, 12:46 AM
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I found some aphids in my garden ther other day on a cornstalk that grew up beside the pond.

I havent used these green little guys yet because Im nervous about using live food from outside. But Im very tempted.

Plus I have alot of plants inside my tanks and outside of them .
Kinda nervous about possible infestation of aphids.


very tempting though.

do they climb as much as fruit flies?
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:32 AM
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As long as you don't have pesticide or herbicide residue in your yard, it's safe to feed these aphids to your frogs. Of course, the presence of these residues is difficult to ascertain in a city neighborhood where you don't know what your neighbor is spraying with, even if you don't spray at all. Even here, way out in the boonies, some of this stuff may drift from aerial spraying of farms even miles away. I usually do collect field plankton and aphids for my frogs because significant contamination is pretty slim as neither I nor my nearest neighbors spray with anything at all.

If you just collect the aphids and put them leaf and all into your frog tank, the chances of them infecting your house plants (or plants within the tank) are relatively slim. Although they don't crawl about, and won't climb out like fruit flies do, some species have a flighted phase, where they do take off and fly elsewhere. They aren't likely to complete this cycle within your frog tank, as the frogs will gobble them up in no time. I'd go ahead and try it. On the off chance that an aphid infecting an incidental corn plant would also infect any of your house plants, you would at least have a source of an occasional decadent dessert for the frogs. :wink: They are really just a dessert, as most are rich in sugar exudates as part of a commensual relationship with certain ants, and probably wouldn't make a good staple item for feeding darts. I'm certainly not an entymologist, so am not sure all species of aphids are either commensual with ants or strictly particular about the plant families they infect--but in a practical sense and in my own organic horticultural experiences, this seems to be generally true.
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