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Discussion Starter #1
I thought it would be interesting to start a discussion regarding the stewardship of PDF's and their breeding, etc. Coming from keep aquaria (both fresh and reef), over the years I have become much more of a hardlined 'purist,' so to speak. I don't keep anything that wouldn't most likely be found in nature under that same form. Various crosses, hybrids, and albinos are immediately off the list for me. The freshwater aquaria hobby is amuck with all sorts of comedic fish species, and unfortunately, people are trying to do the same with marine fish (luckily, rearing larval marine fish is slowing this down to a large degree). However, there are some who are trying as hard to possible to preserve solid bloodlines and prevent crossing (rainbowfish hobbyists, for example).

With the understanding and realization that many of the species we keep are becoming more and more threatened in their native habitats, what is your opinion on the amount of responsibility we have in breeding our frogs and keeping them as close to their wild counterparts as possible?

(This discussion was rolling on Frognet for a while, and I think turned toward possible breeding guidelines within the hobby...but I'm not sure how it turned out. Maybe someone here who saw it all the way through can shed some light on the subject).

Your thoughts?
 

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I'm not for hybridization but I don't see anything wrong with Albinos. Albinos happen in the wild as well as with humans, and nobody seems to see anything we can do about it. There are also reports of normal frogs being produced from ablino/regular mixes so it must be a recessive gene.

Everett
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Intentional hybridization is irresponsible and selfish. The people who do it either don't understand or don't care about the long term effects of hybridization on the hobby. I have always felt this way for all captive bred animals. PDF's so far seem to have avoided the fate of many snakes and reptiles. But with the growing popularity of keeping PDF's increasing, the temptation for some people to try to produce something "different" by interbreeding is also increasing. This should not be allowed to happen, and we should keep trying to educate people on the dangers of hybrids.
The one danger that I would like to point out, the one that most concerns me, is the status of the PDF in the wild. It's not good. Many species now are only available as captive bred and this is only going to increase. People who decide to breed PDF's, for selling or just as a hobby, have an obligation to keep the species pure. Statements like "I know mixing these frogs can produce hybrids, but I'm just going to keep them or give them to friends", just don't cut it. Their are a multitude of reasons why you might lose control of your PDF collection; death, divorce and disability are some. Whoever ends up with some or all of your PDF's might not know that you had hybrids, it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. Now these people could end up trying to breed what they think is a regular PDF which is in fact a hybrid. The same thing can happen with giving your hybrid PDF's to friends. And it will snowball from there. In a closed and relatively small captive bred environment the long term effects could be devastating. For example many years from now it could be near impossible to find a CB Azureus. Because of too many people deciding to produce hybrids all that may be availible are some sort of Azureus/Tinc mix. They may almost look like Azureus, but they are not.

This is just a small part of my own feelings on interbreeding/hybridizing.
Hopefully someone who was thinking about doing it will read this and decide not to. Some people will decide to do it and not listen to anything anyone will say against it. Hopefully keeping this subject at the forefront of responsible PDF husbandry will keep these people to a minimum so they don't ruin the hobby for the rest of us.

My opinion :D
 
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Discussion Starter #4
skylsdale said:
Coming from keep aquaria (both fresh and reef), over the years I have become much more of a hardlined 'purist,' so to speak. I don't keep anything that wouldn't most likely be found in nature under that same form. Various crosses, hybrids, and albinos are immediately off the list for me.
I am a purest at heart. I don't see anything wrong with crosses, hybrids being culled, if you don't want them. But I would rather see the eggs tossed. I see people argue that they will just give them to friends, or sell them as hybrid, But those people forget and they start reproducing them, and sell them as whatever.

I do have vittatus producing a very odd looking froglet now and then, but they keep dieing with in 1-2 weeks of morphing out. If any do every make it, they will never leave my house.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Wether we want to admit it, we are irrevocably and unquestionably messing with the genetics of the animals, unless your breeding f1 and wc's you are creating an unnatural domesticated frog. There is no question about it, raising them in vivaria from a relatively small breeding stock. I have yet to hear an argument as to why hybrids are bad beyond aesthetics, wich are personal. If conservation of a species becomes dependant upon hobbyists its too late. I wonder if such negative attitude towards hybrids doesn't cause the one legitimate gripe (you don't know what you might be buying, unless you *really* trust your breeder) by causing those people who happen to have hybrids to lie/not disclose such information. Hybrids may not be "natural" but neither is keeping them in North America/Europe.

Oh I guess one other reason against hybridizing isn't really against hybridization but more for hygeine/health, single species tanks have less problems (which is why I wont have hybrids, that and I don't want frognetters throwing maltov cocktails through my windows).
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I am new to PDFs. When people say crosses what are they talking about? Are they talking about a cross between color morphs like a Green and Black Auratus and a Blue and Black Auratus. If you ask me this is probably just as bad as hybrids, if you are trying to keep them pure. I am not that familiar with where all the frogs are from and what elevations they range. I suppose they would bread in the wild but then why dont you see more of a Green Blue and Black Auratus.
 

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Tad,
I see your point, but I am seeing a difference you are not. Frog lines that have survived in the hobby for years are really not much different than their wild caught counterparts. Certain traites may be brought out by selective breeding, much the way geckos or snakes are bred but the behavior is much the same. We can still open an atlas and point to a county and go, "I have a frog from there." I would bet that to truely inbreed a frog to deformity would take f8 or f12. The genetic bowl they are drawing from is very narrow in the wild as well. 'Refreshing' the bloodlines I think is a little overrated.

-Richard
 

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Well here is the one subject that can draw me out of the shadows. As was mentioned, this is a frequent and perrenial topic on frognet. The last round of discussion did indeed result in discussion about breeding guidelines. The goal is to establish a set of guidelines that could be used to maintain the wild type characteristics of dendrobatids in captivity. The idea is that breeders who subscribe to using the guidelines could exchange frogs with others of like mind as insurance that the frogs were produced in a manner that conserves as many of the wild characteristics of the frogs as possible. As usual there was an exchange of ideas but nothing solid has come from the discussion.

I'll try to keep this uncharacteristically brief but hybrids are indeed dangerous to the hobby. All one has to do is look at the history of snake, orchid, dog, or any number of other breeding hobbies to see how hybridization leads to the decline and eventual elimination of wild type animals. Without careful documentation of pedigree along with targeted breeding guidelines, hybridization inevitably results in the pollution of wild type genes. I have a long laundry list of arguments against hybridization in the hobby but those are in the frognet archives if anyone cares to dig them out.

Regarding the question of whether albinos should be culled. I think the answer is yes and no. Albinism is a rare genetic variant in many species which does occur in nature. However, the occurence of albinism tends to be relatively rare and the animals expressing albinism often have low survivorship. So what to do with albinos that pop up in the hobby? What we SHOULDN'T do is start selectively breeding those frogs to propogate the albino trait. That's what started the corruption of the corn snake and many other good species. Albinism is special because it is rare. What good does it do to artificially make albinos common? All it does is destroy the mystique of a rare animal. Personally I think albinos should be restricted in their genetic contribution to future generations. This could be done by breeding the frog only once and then deciminating the offspring to the far reaches of the hobby. I would not reveal that those offspring may be harboring albino genes because this could lead to a feeding frenzy for clowns who want to produce a pure albino line. I would much rather see the genes float about the captive population at a very rare level to pop up now and then to provide hobbyists with the unexpected thrill of an albino.

Brent
 

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What's to stop those hobbyists from breeding a pure albino line? It's a simple recessive trait. Personally, I think that albinos are ugly. They're not true white as some people seem to think (lots of yellow mixed in), and have weird pink eyes. But I'm cynical about the chances of restricting albinos (or any other genetic anonomaly that doesn't cause the animal phyiscal problems) once they pop up, which they have. Some people like them. Some people will pay big money for them. Which means that someone will breed them to supply that demand. So while I personally would rather go with the true natural color, but as the dart hobby grows more popular, I'm not optimistic that everyone will agree. 10 years down the line (probably sooner), you're going to see ads for 'albino tyrosine negative giant high yellow tinctorius'.
 

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One reason to at least keep track of a albino producing pair, or breed a true albino line, is for developmental research. While this is not an obvious reason, but should a researcher ever decide to characterize gene expression patterns in PDFs, having albino tads would help a great deal as pigment will not obscure visualizing the probes.

Deciding what to consider a wild type standard and consequently breeding towards that ideal in a controlled environment can be difficult. The only real candidates for such a project would be captive populations with specific collection data which can be safely crossed to form lines. Definitively knowing a group of frogs are from a specific location would allow for greater mixing without overt selective pressures (ie: crossing frogs which closely resemble each other).

There are other color anomalies which are not as obvious as albinism but also occur with low frequency. Mutations in the pathway for red pigment can produce all blue Costa Rican pumilio. Collection and breeding of this blue ‘morph’ would not reflect a wild population even though it could have good collection data.

As Brent was saying with regard to establishing breeding guidelines (for those who have the ability follow them), recessive traits would not need to be excluded completely but instead could be introduced randomly.
 

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The tittle of this discussion is about albinism which I think it needs to be separated from hybridisation. The two are not the same.

To me, selective breeding albinos is pretty much the same as selectively breeding dotted reticulatus, or bastimentos pumilio with no dots or panguana lamasi w/o horizontal line (in Europe). As long as you have the line history, ways to keep track the genetic line, it's not "harmful"... in my opinion.

I think the important thing is not hybridizing species. With so many colorful natural species, why add a "man-made"? A hard thing to keep track.

I don't blame the snake or gecko people to hibridize... look at their pet natural colors... somebody says boring... :lol: J/K

added:

However, IMHO I think dart frogs with their natural color are much more prettier than their albinos.

SB
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Since I started the thread, I will clarify my intentions for it.
This thread is open to the discussion of all various aspects of breeding and our responsibility of keeping PDF's as true to their wild counterparts as possible.

I threw 'albino' into the title because it shortened the topic line, but this discussion is in no way bound to it (notice that 'etc.' follows it in the topic title). However, in my initial post to this thread, I brought hybridization into the discussion because I think this is a valid topic as well.


Brock, nice to see you come out of the woodwork. :D
 

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Arklier is right. When albinos exist, someone will start selectively breeding them. That's why a group of us have been working on a registry off and on over the past couple years. Until that is done, all we can do is strongly discourage hybridization and selective breeding. We can also do things as individual breeders. I've produced froglets with some very unusual color morphs. Those frogs were not released to the hobby but many of their siblings that might carry some of those genes are out there.

I disagree that we have to separate the topics of hybridization from selective breeding because I think they are both very destructive to the hobby if we want to maintain wild type animals. Selective breeding narrows the gene pool and therefore the variability of the animals. Think of any line of PDF other than auratus and then try to figure out how many breeders are consistently producing offspring from that line. In most cases the number of breeders will be no more than a half dozen. If each of those breeders selectively bred their frogs, a huge chunk of the genome of the line could be unnecessarily lost. Unfortunately I think this is a common practice among breeders though.

I also disagree that maintaining wild type frogs in the hobby is impossible or even difficult. Of course locality data is fantastic but it isn't necessary for breeding toward wild type. Nor does locality data guarantee future generations will remain wild type. Breeding for wild type simply requires that we make reasonable guesses as to the origins of captive frogs in the wild, breeding as widely and randomly as possible within the group of captive frogs that originated from an interbreeding wild population, and rearing froglets in ways that insure the behavioral traits characteristic of wild frogs are maintained. In other words, when choosing a mate for a frog, you pick an animal that you think is a good close match to an animal you think your frog might have mated with in the wild. You do not select mates solely based on appearance or size except for what is required to make a reasonable decision about what population the frogs might belong to. Finally, you would at least periodically test breeders to make sure they still possess proper egg caring, tad carrying, etc. behavior for successful reproduction. Remember that we aren't necessarily trying to produce frogs fit for reintroduction to the wild (although we could with locality data and good record keeping). All we want is to make sure that frogs 100 generations in the future still look and act like frogs in the wild. There are always people who doubt the "danger" of hybrids or selective breeding but many of us watched as corn snakes became progressively polluted with selective breeding until no cb wild type animals could be found. Not long ago you could hardly find a species orchid and when you did it would cost more than a fantasticus to bring it home. Once you lose the wild types in captivity, the only way to get them back is to return to the wild. That's a luxury that is going to become increasingly rare for dart frogs. Those of us who rail against hybrids and selective bred animals simply want to make sure that we don't take these little gems for granted.
 
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bbrock wrote: "So what to do with albinos that pop up in the hobby? What we SHOULDN'T do is start selectively breeding those frogs to propogate the albino trait. That's what started the corruption of the corn snake and many other good species. Albinism is special because it is rare. What good does it do to artificially make albinos common? All it does is destroy the mystique of a rare animal. Personally I think albinos should be restricted in their genetic contribution to future generations. This could be done by breeding the frog only once and then [disseminating] the offspring to the far reaches of the hobby."

Interesting thing here... You readily admit to the "mystique of a rare animal--" such as an albino. Now, one would think that a rare animal-- one that occurs genetically infrequently-- would command high prices from people who find albinos to be appealing (granted, some of you here do not, but I am sure some would). One needs only to look to the first albino leopard gecko-- commanded prices of around 1500-- or some of the first burmese albinos (way back in the hobby). Or, for example, you can look to snow boas right now. Each of these are genetic anomalies which are not prevalent in nature yet have become incredibly popular and quite fetching in captivity. Now, although you say you would disseminate the offspring, what is stopping me from finding albino darts to be beautiful and wanting to propagate them? Furthermore, there would be a double incentive-- there is the "mystique of a rare animal" which only I would be providing to the public. Therefore, why should I not sell these frogs? You say because it would lead to something like the "corruption of the corn snake and many other good species" (Additionally, I take issue with that, go to Kathy Love's website-- I do not think that looks like corruption when she offers Okeetees right alongside any other variation of corn snake possible). I do not see the corruption of the corn snake, or the burmese, or the ball-- I see the progression of a hobby. If you do not wish to see albinos flourish in the hobby, simply do not buy them. I know I would not, but I do not see it is fair to label a breeder of albinos as the penultimate corrupter of a hobby. There are two ways an animal can be rare in a hobby: it can occur genetically infrequently but go undesired by most, or it can be highly desirable and difficult to obtain. Now, as I have witnessed much on this forum, people tend towards the second one. The dart hobbyists here have a much larger control over there hobby than there is in a lot of others (i.e., easy communication between elite breeders and regular rookies) and they are able to control that-- if they do not want albinos, they simply should not buy them-- but those that do provide albinos, they are not criminals to be derided.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
I never meant to insinuate that inbreeding in the hobby would lead to animals different than the wild-type. Its the way we raise the animals, and there is *no* getting around it, we breed animals that do the best living in an artificial environment and we do the best to maximize this. Countless animals survive to breed that would never make it past the tadpole stage in the wild. Why is the situation in the snake, dog world a tragedy? its just different, I mean you might as well get pissed off at farmers for not rearing properly wild aurochs. Wild type dogs do exist, they're called wolves, there happens to be a whole lot of variablility in the domestic populations thats absent in the wild, is this good? I don't know but to say a wolf is better than a beagle is a matter of aesthetics. To say you prefer your wild-type auratus over the tinc-leuc hybrid is aesthetic. Neither frog is ever going to be released in the wild neither frog is ever going to be the founding genetic stock to "replenish the rainforest."

I do think it would be a shame to see the "natural looking" specimens disappear from the hobby, I dont think will ever happen to many people feel the same way. However I think its hypocritical to be upset at someone who owns/breeds hybrids b/c its "not natural" if thats how you feel, you shouldnt be keeping the animals unless its part of your work as a conservationist or for a natural history museum because keeping them as pets is not "natural".
 
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I do not see the corruption of the corn snake, or the burmese, or the ball-- I see the progression of a hobby.
The problem here is perspective. I (and I'm sure many others) can admit that an albino frog--or whatever--is rare and unusual. But it stops there. I understand that in the wild, this individual is inferior in the sense that it has all sorts of decks stacked against it...and I'm sure it's going to get picked off much quicker than any of its siblings. Same goes for corn snakes. Same for corydoras catfish.

I keep these animals because of the mystique they already possess. Your 'average' vent has more mystique to me than any albino or 5-legged anomoly ever could. I want to see the pinnacle of the species, what has managed to survive and prosper within its environment...not some mutant that will likely get snuffed before its first birthday.

I agree with Brent's methodologies on dispersing frogs with possible 'hidden traits' throughout the hobby, but the problem is that when one of them eventually spawns an albino, and the hobbyist rearing it starts selectively breeding for albinism because they could care less about integrity of the species. I think that's where a set of guidelines and people committed to those guidelines would be very beneficial to the hobby and animals. Since this hobby is still so fresh, there is a possibility (knowing what we know now) that people of that mindset can have a greater impact in their stewardship and education of others into the hobby, therefore reducing the risk of widespread selective breeding. Even if it doesn't it would be nice to know there is a number of people out there striving to maintain the integrity of the species.

As Ian Black so eloquently put it in Jurassic Park: "You spent so much time asking whether or not you could, that you never thought to ask whether or not you should."
 

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As Ian Black so eloquently put it in Jurassic Park: "You spent so much time asking whether or not you could, that you never thought to ask whether or not you should."
Wasn't it Ian Malcolm?
Wow, almost embarressing to know that. Even more if I'm incorrect.
 
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No, you're right: it was Malcolm. I was a bit hesitant on his last name, but too lazy to do a search to figure it out. Good call.
 

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Brent said:
I disagree that we have to separate the topics of hybridization from selective breeding because I think they are both very destructive to the hobby if we want to maintain wild type animals. Selective breeding narrows the gene pool and therefore the variability of the animals.
If you only want a certain trait, let's say spotted reticulatus, then I don't see how this can be a bad thing.

Let's say Sean and Patrick sells them, breeding these animals from 2 different breeders and trading with other breeders, say Todd and Phil, who are also interested in spotted retics, is not narrowing the gene pool in my opinion... or worse destructive to the hobby.

I think people have seen the worst case in other hobbies and reacted to the other extreme.

Instead, maybe one should study an excellent example: killifish breeders. They know how to keep lines, species, collection data and even mutations ie: Aphy. Australe 'Red/Orange' etc.


SB
 
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