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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
Perhaps a lame question that may belong in the beginner section, but i figured I'd try it here first.
I've heard that dusting w/ paprika will bring out reds in amphibians, but any ideas as to what will bring out blues? Greens? Yellows?
Have any of you noticed that in frogs of poor condition that their colors are significantly less 'bright'??
Thanks in advance!
~B
 
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EDs Fly Meat has an enhanced fly meat, which is supposed to bring out the greens and blues in Dendrobates. It does work! Actually too well :) I have a pair of oyopoks that had their white markings turn lime green when I fed them flies cultured in ED's enhanced fly meat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
THanks for the quick reply!
Do you happen to know the specific components of the powder that does this?

Thanks again!
~Ben
 
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Try dusting your food items with powdered blue-green algae (chlorella and spirulina). I have been doing this with a small group of suriname cobalts and the colors are subtly becoming more vibrant. Hope this helps.

-Bill J.
 

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To my knowledge, i dont believe theres a way of enhancing blue. Although i havnt tried eds fly meat yet. Any comments?

M.N
 

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Sprulina and Chlorella, mentioned before, do bring out the blues on animals that are diet sensitive (there is variation in species and morphs on how much diet affects color). This is the "magic suppliment" in EDs enhanced media... among other things.

The legs of azurues with supplimented diets can get to such a deep blue they start looking purple in some pictures.

Peprika and beta caritone (which I can never spell right) enhance reds and yellows. I use this to color up my tricolors... peprika in the FF media and the pinhead crickets were fed a diet that was half sweet potatoes half dark leafy romaine lettuce. No "bubblegum pink" tricolors at my place, the santa isabels were screamers. The pink tricolors aren't really unhealthy, they are just lacking the beta caritone in their diets so they can't color up.

I love the EDs FF medias. I dont' use the "enhanced" version though, I usually add my own sprulina/chlorella (which you can also get from EDs) as well as peprika.
 

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BillJohnson said:
Try dusting your food items with powdered blue-green algae (chlorella and spirulina). I have been doing this with a small group of suriname cobalts and the colors are subtly becoming more vibrant. Hope this helps.

-Bill J.
FYI: I've noticed that spirulina powder sticks to crickets alot better than fruit flies.
 
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Brian,

While I don't feed crickets, I haven't really had much trouble getting the powder to stick to flies. I'm not one to dust food with vits at every feeding but I do like having something powdery to coat them with as it makes for an easy way to measure out the food as well as slow them down a bit to give the frogs a better chance at finding them. All in all, the days that I dont supplement with vits/cal, I'll have 2 feeding cups for dusting...one with blue-green algae and the other with paprika power.

-Bill J.
 

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Definately not a beginner questions and a good one too. I posted something on the orange bastimentos thread but it doesn't look like it made it to the board so here goes again.

Paprika and spirulina have been covered nicely already. Thanks Corey and others for the actual observations on spirulina and green pigment. I've used spirulina as a dust and always thought it helped bring out the color in auratus but could never tell if it was just my imagination or maybe the result of something else in the diet.

Red colors have plagued me most. I don't keep any tricolor but have seen the results with paprika. However, I'm not sure how well paprika works on pumilio. I've maintained vibrant red in wc blue jeans since 1999 by feeding meadow plankton and canthoxanthin (more on that later). They are just as bright as when they were freshly imported. The cb have been more of a challenge. Typically they start off as dull, tiny froglets and then may, or may not, color up. In some cases they have colored up pretty nicely but not quite as nice as the wc adults but then faded to brownish orange later.

I use paprika but am not all that consistent with it so it could just be inconsistency but it doesn't seem to put on the color in pumilio like I would like. When not feeding meadow plankton, I've been dusted about once a month with canthoxanthin. It's gotten a bad rep because it is a potent form of vit A and can lead to liver damage. However, at one dose per month or less, it's not so bad. I've been reluctant to use it much on froglets because of their size and the fact their organs are still developing. I have used it very sparingly but with the results mentioned above. However, lately I decided to mix 1/2 capsule of canthoxanthin with a full bottle of Dendrocare (which is suppose to be low in vit A) and then I mix this powder 50/50 with either calcium powder or Herptivite and I've been dusting with this mix once a week. The idea is to provide a very low but chronic dose of canthoxanthin to see if it can safely pigment the frogs. A couple days ago I saw my newest froglet next to an adult and they were both screaming red. No difference in the color of the cb offspring and the wc adult. I don't know if the coloration will last as this frog is about half grown. Also, I have been leaving froglets in the breeding viv much longer than before and it could be the available microfauna in this large viv that is responsible. It's hard to say.

Also, I have a paper at home that talks about red pigment in some frogs (not necessarily pumilio) being derived from rhodopsin. If memory serves, rhodopsin is the stuff that makes up visual purple in the eye. Anyone know anything about this or whether it might be used to our advantage to color up red frogs?

Finally, has anyone tried culturing red bugs like red spider mites? I'm particularly interested in adding mites to the list of cultured bugs because PDF consume a lot of them in the wild and many of them contain red pigment. I've always wondered if there were a connection.

Obviously this topic is of interest to me so I look forward to hearing about other's ideas and experiences. I'm particularly interested in pumilio because even though we are starting to see breeding success, I think we have a long way to go before we actualy "have it right". We need to get the F1 and later to color up like their parents. Of course I'm also interested in any additional ideas about greens and blues too.
 

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pumilio colors

Brent, I'd be really interested in the rhodopsin paper. I honestly don't know much about it and you've tickled my interest as usual :eek:

Tricolor are the most diet-dependent colored frogs I've had and raised. All my other frogs, with the exception of pumilio (BJs who's colors eventually went to crap), have developed color on their own no problem. While I've noticed interesting twists with color variation in truncatus (bloodline stuff), I don't have the animals to test this out. Thumbnails seem to do just fine on their own color wise.

My best experience with the ranges of pumilio come from NAIB. They were having a hell of a time with their BriBris doing the mucky brown/orange thing. The use of sweet potatos fed to the pinheads that were their primary food colored them up rather well (and these were consistantly fed), but I didn't see WCs to compare them to (but still, they were red not orangy brown mucky things they were before). Actually, maybe the parents were WC.... but I'm not sure. The bocas panama frogs obviously were some of the most colorful frogs I've seen, the cayo nancys being a favorite. The froglets were the same highlighter orange of the adults. I don't know if they had color changes in their lives, but it seemed like the nancies didn't have issues keeping color. While I've seen variation in shades of blue pumilio, I don't recall them being diet dependent as much as just variation in the population (and they were all blue, not blueish). CBs were just as bright as their parents. Isla Pope greens seemed to be similar. Like I said, maybe I missed points in their development, but check out the F1s they have on display. There is a Isla Colon pic on this forum, an F1 from display at NAIB, that doesn't seem to be having an color issues.

Am I completely missing something or is it the Costa Rica morphs that are the seemingly diet dependent, with the panama morphs not being as much? It'd be interesting to see when some of these panama imports start producing froglets.

I cannot think of a primarily blue or green PDF that is as diet dependent for color as tricolors and the Costa Rican Red pummies. Sure we can improve those colors, but I can't think of one that needs it like the Tris and Pummies. Maybe the blue morphs of species that also occur in yellows (I'm thinking blue trucatus and bassleri, not tincs) might be more diet dependent... but truncatus doesn't seem to be very diet dependent and bassleri can change color with mood and sex... so I don't know.

Matt M. pointed out green = blue + yellow..... the yellow can be effected by diet and thus the green can be skewed... but he couldn't think of a really diet dependent green or blue frog either. I'm guessing chlorella and sprulina could skew the blue... but skewing doesn't mean diet dependent like the reds mentioned earlier.

Your expirements with canthoxanthin sound interesting.... possibly just enough without being too much? Or maybe supplimenting could start after their juvie stage.... i've gotten some bright santa isabels, but they aren't red like their WC parents/ancestors and thats with peprika. Sounds like another experiment to try...
 

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hmm, the best way to bring out blues is take a packet of blue rasberry cool aid, then, dump some on your frog. The color should start to soak into the skin after the powder gets moist. Food coloring might work to. hehe, just kidding, I don't have any idea on how to make blues and greens more vibrant. None of my mantella's have the blue or green coloration, and my auratus are very vibrant as it is. however, where can you get this paprika stuff to make reds more vibrant. I would like to try it on my cb mantella aurantiaca's. They aren't really vibrant yet, and I was hoping something like this might help.
Ed
 

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The colour in Mantella aurantiaca develops as they age, starting with brown and turning orange or reddish, depending on the genetic background of the parents. There are reddish and orange populations in the wild, mine are the "classic" orange ones:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/alan.cann/Maurantiaca.html
I don't think any colour supplementation is necessary with this species, just patience :)
 

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All of the NAIB pumilio offspring looked different then the parents except the blues. I could clearly tell a difference even in the popes and bocas. There was one back up hidden life that held a group of bocas and histrios (both produced well in this enclosure) and every now and then the offspring were removed (many of which had reached maturity) and you could clearly pick the F1's from the WC. The F1's were nearly blue in some instances and all lacked the deep yellow throats of the WC. Even long term captive WC's would noticably reduce yellows oranges and reds. I have a group of the latest import pums (nice yellow/gold with blue/grey legs) and they are almost ready to deposit a clutch in the brom...i will be interested to see what hops out....
 

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Great thread! I remember this topic coming up years ago and someone mentioned that blue and green coloration in animals tend to be caused by molecule structure that causes light to reflect in certain spectra whereas the orange, yellow, and red tend to be pigments stored in lipids. I don't know much about that but could explain the differences in color response due to diets for the different color ranges. I don't think this rules out the possibility of some blue or green pigments being stored in skin which could serve to enhance the underlying structural coloration. Anyone know more about this?
 

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I have been thinking how this might work on other amphibians. And I think my albino axolatl would be a great canidate. Now he gets a diet of earth worms and feeder fish. So I know you can gutload worms by mixing calcium and vitamins in with there soil. So I wonder if I were to mix spirulina or paprika in the soil would the worms retain this in a way that could be used to color the axolatl? Im thinking that it would just turn the worms green or redish. Dusting might work because he is hand fed and will come to the surface for food so mabey enough of the powder would stay on if fed from the surface. He is so white that I think you would be able to notice any subtle change.
 

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Ryan said:
Could UV light be the key to getting pums to color up? Has that been tested?

Just a thought

Ryan
I haven't looked in a long time but the Vivaria Projects site use to have a little article with some anecdotal evidence suggesting that UV light might improve color in pumilio. However, I've been keeping UVB on all of my pumilio for several years for other reasons and have still seen problems with coloration. I still don't rule out the possibility that there is a connection with UV light and pigmentation though.
 

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Has anyone tried bee pollen? When I use to raise quadricornis and pfefferi chameleons I would raise mealworms in a mix of 5 parts Wheat Germ to one part Bee Pollen. When the mealworm morphed to the beetle the would lay eggs but the eggs would not hatch due to lack of moisture. I would add a thinly sliced piece of orange to the top of the germ/pollen mix and two days late (I believe) there would be hundreds of 1/4 ish sized meal worms!
 

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Noncaretenoid colorations

The following are excerpts from Amphibian Biology Volume 1, The Integument, 1994, Surrey, Beatty and Sons. (I think Herplit has a copy if anyone is interested). This is based on my first skim through the chapter and not based on a fuller reading so I am citing the sections).

Anurans and other amphibians have been shown to have noncaretenoid based colors in their patterns and skins. Many of these are derived from pterins which are synthesized from purines.
A point to consider with color development is that melanin is the first skin pigment produced embryonically. The color containing xanthophores differentiate next but iridiophores may develop much later in a species dependent fashion. The manner in which these differentiate in the metamorphed animal can explain why some species are dull in the beginning and then color up as they get older as the pigment is synthesized and stored (or with the case of caretenoids picked up and stored). Pterins can be responsible for some or all of the color yellow, red and orange.

Colors are also based on the presence or lack of an xanthophore layer (example blue pumilio) however it has been shown that some of the pigment containing segments of cells can convert to other pigment containing segements (iridiophores to melanophores and xanthophores to melanophores) which can be induced dietarily (feeding allopurinol to wild type axolotls).

Some thoughts,

Ed
 
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