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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently been going over the different frogs out there, and the different morphs that pop up from time to time. I was introduced to the albino auratus that a gentleman in France has, and was mesmerized all over again. What an absolutely amazing set of colors on this frog!!! I have already been through the "I wanna fly to France and get it" talk with the wife, and then a friend said "Are you sure it is an albino?"

I did not know what to say. I was into reptiles and amphibians since I was too small to catch them, and would bawl hysterically in frustration about it. Over the years, I learned to identify the different natural morphs of these different animals.

The easiest to identify in an animal , far and away, is the trait known as Leucistic. An animal born leucistic, according to the biology dictionary, will be born with only one color - WHITE. There are no other colors. The eyes are blue, and that is that. Very cut and dried.

Albinism will be a lack of dark pigments, like black, brown, or a lack of pigment altogether in the eyes, leaving just red reflected from the blood vessels taking oxygen to the brain. (thus the red color)

Melanism is the opposite of albinism, or albino, and is often referred to as black albino. Nevertheless, it is a form of albino. In this instance, you will lack all light pigments.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because there are folks out there spreading incorrect knowledge in regards to a few frogs that are being worked with. The albino ventrimaculatus, for instance. I have heard it referred to as "hypomelanistic"; I have never been able to find anything that gives a positive definition beyond "vibrant coloring" and I do not consider it a "trait" other than a really pretty animal. But everyone has seen an albino vent, and just in case someone out there has a bunch of these but was told that they are hypomelanistic, that statement is false.

I also recently saw a photo of an Alanis that was called leucistic - Yet in the photo it can be clearly seen that it is not a leucistic animal due to the brilliant yellowy gold pattern on the top of the head.

Let's try to get these things right, and not start any fights about who knows more about this or that. Have a geneticist look at the animal, and give his or her opinion on what they see - Knowing what we are selling is just as important as not crossing our animals with something completely different and calling it something completely different.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hey John,

Hypomelanistic animals have a reduced amount of melanin (dark pigment), and thus tend to be brighter than normal animals. They appearer in between Normal and Amelanistic (albino). Hypomelanism is a recessive mutation. In corn snakes they have found at least 3 different types of hypomelanism. Generally the eyes stay darker and are not red.

I have only seen pics of the vents. Some times the eyes look red, but others they look black. Do you have any pics you could post of them?


I do agree that we need to "get it right"
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AWESOME

First, Melissa, let me say what an incredibly good job you have done documenting the tadpole development stages of the alanis tad that was different. THAT is scientific data at it's finest when it comes to identifying the different species of darts. How they develop and what changes occur when and how are the meat and potatoes. For those interested, I would say go to Tor Linbo's site, and watch the tadpole growth pictures he has setup for side by side comparison of different tadpoles. A link to his site can either be found at my site, or I can try to post it here
http://natures-web.org/fg/MainP/main_page.html

Melissa, I have seen a picture of your little alanis morphed out, and I would definately say that he is albino, and rides right up there with the albino auratus that I saw on a different forum line on this board. What an awesome looking frog!!

A good person for the idea of creating a website for taking pictures of tadpoles on a side by side would be Tammy, because of her SLR camera that she has, and the awesome closeups that can be captured. (I am going to be going after Jennifer to get one of these.)

Perhaps we could make a site on Dendroboard of tadpole development, week by week, of every species kept in the US. As long as the water temp was kept the same across the board, and the feedings were the same time all the time, we could learn alot - Average or good guesstimates of how long to morph out, when color should appear, that sort of thing. It could also be very useful to identify possible albinos, and other color morphs.

Regardless of what folks think about albinos, they exist, are strikingly gorgeous, and deserve recognition, especially now that we know there are at least one population of albinos in the wild. (vents.)

What do people think?

On a side note, I plan on building a semi-incubation chamber for my tadpoles, where I will ensure that the water stays at 78, and the feeding is every monday and thursday, and perhaps I can get some decent picture graphs going of the different frogs. Any help would be appreciated.

All I have to wait for now is my landlord to get off his ass and finish the floor in the basement, so I can get in there and start setting up the tanks. He cut off 50 dollars worth of rent last month, and 100 this month, and while getting cheaper rent is great, I would rather have a nice frog room with a cement floor with a drain, a big industrial sink with a hose that can reach every tank, and all that kind of nice thing. Wish me luck folks!
 

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Re: AWESOME

Believe it or not, that picture of the alanis you say was not one of mine. A 2nd person is producing those, and I am fairly certain I know the common denominators involved with both our animals.

We are actually going to try and document the first month of a clutch which will be hatching tonight. I want to capture the gradual color loss of the tads, which will occur over the next couple weeks.

That is one of the things that makes me think these might not be a 'true' albino. They develop in the egg black, once they hatch, they slowly loose their color and look like the ones on our web site after a few weeks. Don't most of the albino species begin to turn white while still in the egg?

I actually want to submit some of the photos and observations to determine if they are albino, etc.... I will keep everyone up to date.

Tincs.com said:
Melissa, I have seen a picture of your little alanis morphed out, and I would definately say that he is albino, and rides right up there with the albino auratus that I saw on a different forum line on this board. What an awesome looking frog!!
 

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Here is a link that discusses the general concepts of leucistic animals, albinism, etc. as they relate to birds. While I'm sure the genes and some of the pigments vary between darts and birds, it seems like there should be some global concepts that should be consistent. I'm sure others will have citations to more accurate and applicable publications, and I'm sure that there are differences of opinions as to what consitutes a leucistic individual as opposed to a partial albino (or whether there is a difference at all).

Maybe we could use this thread to come up with some hard definitions that we can use in the community so that we are all on the same page, or maybe someone can give us some more appropriate definitions than those that occur on the link.

http://www.birdhobbyist.com/parrotcolou ... ckley.html
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: AWESOME

Y'know, I have no idea how people get that little white box around their quotes, so I am going to just leave it out.

Actually, the eggs will come out representing the color of the mother frog. If she is normal colored, the eggs will be normal, and the tad will develop as it goes along into an albino. If the mother is albino, and the father is normal, the eggs will be laid white, and the tads will gain pigment as they go. If both are albino, then the eggs laid will be white, and the tads will stay white and form as albinos. (completed experiment with albino vents.)

Also, for Homer, birds are farther along the evolutionary scale than amphibians and reptiles - More chromosomes equal more variations. I do not think that they are capable of partials in either leucistic or albinism. If there are any geneticists on this board that would have first hand knowledge of this kind of thing, (Tor Linbo comes to mind, but I am unsure as to whether or not he is listed here) they should pipe in. A microbiologist would be a good one too.

Hopefully we all can develop a greater love for albinos, their beauty, and that they are natural. (I can't wait to get some!!)
 

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I have studied genetics and animal breeding (aka applied genetics) quite a bit in school. I don't have time for a good response at the moment since my 2 year old is trying to help me type. I am thinking that corn snake genetics might give some possible insight since they have been studied thoroughly. I might shoot an email to my former genetics professor and ask his oppinion on the matter.

I am really enjoying the discussions we are having lately, I am getting some interesting ideas for research projects. I need to come up with one for next semester, I am thinking of doing something related to tadpole development in darts.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is not intruding on what anyone said, and I am not positive this still applies. But in albino humans, there is a reduction of tyrosinase which is used in melanocytes to produce melanin. This melanin is what gives humans their skin color. I learned this from a very reputable teacher. I wasn't sure if this would help anything at all, but if this same principle applies you could link it to true albinoism. If there is a possibility to record the amount of tyrosinase in these frogs, you might have a true way to tell. Hope this helps at all.

Brian Hoff
 

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Tincs.com said:
Also, for Homer, birds are farther along the evolutionary scale than amphibians and reptiles - More chromosomes equal more variations. I do not think that they are capable of partials in either leucistic or albinism. If there are any geneticists on this board that would have first hand knowledge of this kind of thing, (Tor Linbo comes to mind, but I am unsure as to whether or not he is listed here) they should pipe in. A microbiologist would be a good one too.
John, I realize that birds are considered to have developed more recently on the evolutionary scale. However, being higher on the evolutionary scale does not mean that an organism has more chromosomes. Further, having more or less chromosomes does not mean that there are fewer combinations of genes for a given trait.

As I indicated, I claim no specific knowledge of the genes involved in the pigmentation phenotypes in frogs in general or dendrobatids in particular, but I was offering the link as a starting place for definitions of terms you indicated you could not find, and as a starting point for getting some hard definitions to use.
 

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The number of chromosomes does not indicate that there are more combinations, nor that the organism is more complex than any other. Humans have 46 chromosomes. Goldfish have 94.
 

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John, I'm confused. Doesn't hypo as in hypomelanistic just mean lacking? For instance, a solution can be "hypotonic", which means it lacks dissolved solutes.

My question is why calling something that lacks or probably more accurately has reduced pigments "hypo"melanistic is incorrect.

Thanks,

Christina
 

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Christina,

Your interpretation of "hypomelanistic" squares with my understanding. From what I remember, hypomelanistic means an individual is phenotypic of less pigmentation than a typical individual. Therefore, hypomelanistic would cover complete and partial albinism as well as other reduced pigmentation individuals (kind of an inexact term).

Additionally, after re-reading the opening post, I'm not sure I agree with the premise that using the proper terminology to refer to an aberrant individual is as important as properly identifying the morph one is selling.

If your aim is to breed designer frogs, then I would agree that it does become important, at least between the buyer and seller, as someone presumably values the trait and wishes to propagate it, and knowing the genes/responsible for the trait is necessary to continue to propagate it.

I do agree that it is good to try to be knowledgeable and use the proper terms to describe an aberrant individual, but I don't think I would go so far as to say that it is as important to be correct about describing the individual as it is to be correct about describing the morph; but that seems tangential to this discussion and lends itself more to a pandora's box issue that has been discussed elsewhere.
 

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I think that albinism in humans is much more complex than a single gene type trait. Well, it may be a single gene, but what gene it is is variable. I won't try to even attempt to speculate on the genetic pathway of melanin production in frogs, I have no idea if they are similar at all.

Todd and I were breeding these "albino" vents. They definitely did exhibit some form of melanin loss, most interestingly in the eggs, which were pure white. The frogs themselves did have some pigment.

While albinism is natural, it does leave the animal possibly vulnerable to predation or related health problems, ( In humans there is a reduction in vision and light sensitivity). However, in captivity this may not be a big problem, for obvious reasons. I agree with Homer, this is a Pandora's box, should the frog be outcrossed with normal types, what happens to the offspring, etc...

I do think John's experiments were interesting, and kudos to his following through.

I don't know if we can ever put a simple label on thse frogs to define their degree of albinism (although I think we could all agree that they are at least albino, if you look up that definition.) I propose Ovihypomelaninhemimelanisticpostmetamorphic.


Christina
 

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christina hanson said:
I think that albinism in humans is much more complex than a single gene type trait. Well, it may be a single gene, but what gene it is is variable. I won't try to even attempt to speculate on the genetic pathway of melanin production in frogs, I have no idea if they are similar at all.

Scientific American has a really interesting article in the current issue about genetics. I don't have it in front of me but basically it says that the more complex an organism the more "junk DNA" it has. As stated above the amount of genes do not increase as the complexity of an organism increases. So there is a theory now that since the amount of “junk DNA” increases with the complexity of an organism the "junk DNA" may not necessarily be junk. Be interesting to see if the theory holds up 10 years from now.


christina hanson said:
I don't know if we can ever put a simple label on thse frogs to define their degree of albinism (although I think we could all agree that they are at least albino, if you look up that definition.) I propose Ovihypomelaninhemimelanisticpostmetamorphic.
ROTFLMAO........ now that's a mouthful!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
albino alanis tadpoles

melissa,

i have had about 6 of these albino tadpoles and i only have had one that is still alive and it is now growing legs. i hope it is albino because my frogs produce these often.
 
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