Dendroboard banner

Should albinos, hybrids, etc. be discouraged?

8305 Views 121 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Nuggular
G
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?
81 - 100 of 122 Posts
G
bbrock said:
You'd better start practicing up on dragging your knuckles again!
Yea, so sad.... I need to move....
If I bring the frogs, can I rent out a room ;)
I can add on to that house if you want too.
G
Imitators....

I was thinking it would be interesting to study the mating preferences between imitators and the species they seem to be imitating... would different morphs of imitators prefer the other species or other morphs? would/could they even hybridize with the species they imitate? I'm assuming that imitators actually apear smiliar to other frogs (I vaguely recall reading a website showing different morphs and the species they resembled). I would assume that they share some geographical locations with the species they imitate (or am I wrong here?)
G
Ben,
I definitely agree that the 'human' element could be a factor. A prime example is how D. auratus is now all over the Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui area (essentially La Selva Bio station area) when it is not found there. There was a guy who really liked them, and took about 20 and released them in his garden. Now they have taken over the whole area. I actually was introduced to this gentlemen and tried not to be a little bitter about it. I was glad he took an interest in the frogs, but introducing things is almost always something I frown on. In any event, that is a possibility. As for someone mentioning using D. imitator group frogs. I heard via personal comm. that someone had tried mixing D. ventrimaculatus 'red' and D. amazonicus (both pure) and it didn't yield viable offspring. With that said, they didn't mate when pared up with their own kind, so who knows. It's certainly something I can explore later. I really like the idea of using egg feeders since there is more to their mate selection (at least it seems so at this point).
j
See less See more
Tad said:
I was thinking it would be interesting to study the mating preferences between imitators and the species they seem to be imitating... would different morphs of imitators prefer the other species or other morphs? would/could they even hybridize with the species they imitate? I'm assuming that imitators actually apear smiliar to other frogs (I vaguely recall reading a website showing different morphs and the species they resembled). I would assume that they share some geographical locations with the species they imitate (or am I wrong here?)
_________________
-Tad
Hi Tad,

I posted similar question on frognet the day after you wrote yours. Great minds think alike?? :D I have not been following this thread since the last one I wrote....

SB
D. imitator complex

My somewhat limited knowledge of what seperates imitators from the species they are imitating has to do with little differences, such as calling, behavior, and possibly slightly different habitat niches so they are less likely to come across each other. Also throw in their specific mate selection behavior... it obviously would not be focused on color and pattern (aka 'morph') as shown with pumilio, as that would mean inter-species breeding with the species that was there before them that they are effectively imitating. This would put a bigger emphasis on the other factors as main species selection, the ones that would show the most difference. I would put my money on not hybridizing, just look at the differences in tadpoles. Just the color is a huge difference, showing that within the whole quinquevittatus complex, these guys probibly aren't that closely related. Somebody may make me eat my words on that one, but thats how I see it from the research I've seen.

How are the calls of D. i. imitator different from D. variabilis? D. i. intermedius with D. fantasiticus 'yellow/banded'? There are programs used for bird calls that can be used for this. Otherwise I'd say setting up an experiment much like the Summers pumilio experiment would be in order, seeing if a female reacts more towards the call of a male from the two species. I wonder if there is enough call difference in the D. imitator subspecies complex that if a female say, D. i. intermedius would still prefer a D. i. intermedius (of the same bloodline preferably implying the same population) over a D. i. imitator or show no real preference between the calls when visual selection is not in play.

Yet another project would should shove at Justin :) I'm thinking with all our ideas we could keep him up to his ears in dendrobatid research for, say, the rest of his career....
See less See more
G
Proposal

Here's a really brief, really basic proposal I sent in to get some seed money for the project from the univ...
Feedback is welcome. Later I'll elaborate a lot more about the procedure etc, but this is just to warm them up to the idea and give us some starter money.



Mate Selection on Bastimentos Island

Dendrobates pumilio is a vividly colored, highly variable, poison dart frog from Central America. Their range is from Nicaragua to Panama, with most of the variation in color, size, and pattern in Panama. D. pumilio are among the few frogs which are obligate oophages, meaning their tadpoles are fed exclusively unfertilized eggs provided by the female. They are an extremely abundant frog whose size ranges from ½” to around 1”, and whose colors spread the breadth of the color spectrum. Normally they are fairly uniform in color and pattern in each population, however, there is one island where this is not the case. Bastimentos Island is located in the North Eastern part of Panama off the coast. It is home to the world renowned Red Frog Beach (with the red frogs being D. pumilio). During a trip there in 2003, I was witness to just the various color forms, ‘morphs’, found there. I was very surprised to see many color morphs living sympatrically, as many as 4 morphs on one large buttressed tree (see attached photo). This left the question posed, do these forms hybridize, and to what extent do the frogs distinguish between color morphs.

The project we are proposing is to test the theory that these frogs can distinguish between their own color morph, and will prefer breeding with members of similar colors/patterns. A similar project was done by Kyle Summers several years ago using two different island populations. He demonstrated that under normal lighting, the frogs will prefer their own type, and even under colored lighting, they will still choose their own type the majority of the time. This was very interesting work, and well done, however, now it should be progressed to see if the same is true within a population comprised of different color variants.

For our proposed project we are blessed with several things in our favor. There are currently exports from Panama coming into the country, and the Bastimentos forms of D. pumilio are among those being imported. After spending time talking to one of the main importers, he is requesting the color morphs we need for the study from the exporter in Panama, and is requesting the proper color variants (as opposed to sending only one color form). The importer has also agreed to give us a generous discount from the retail price to help facilitate the study. I also have a great deal of experience with this species both in the wild as well as in captive husbandry. We also have the aquariums that we need for the study available for our use in the lab. Misting systems, which are vital for stimulating breeding, are also available. Essentially, we only have a small cost for preparing the vivaria for the frogs, and then the cost of the animals themselves.

The vivaria will be comprised of a several branches and pieces of driftwood, which are for males to establish calling spots to attract females. There will also be tropical plants for ground cover and giving the frogs cover. Bromeliads are normally one of the tadpole deposition sites in the wild, but they will not be used for this study due to the difficulty of locating tadpoles in their bracts. Instead, we will use a myriad of plastic film canisters, and other devices for holding water for the tadpoles, but still making viewing simple. This has been successfully done in captive frogs for their reproduction. I have also placed enhanced breeding sites (plastic cups) out in the field and they have used them. Feeding will take place every-other day and will consist of Drosophila (fruit flies), Collembola (spring tails) mainly, as well as the occasional confused flour beetle, and meal moth maggots. The food offered will be dusted with calcium powder and other vitamins rotated every-other feeding. The misting systems will spray three times a day for five minutes per cycle. The first misting will be in the morning around sun rise, then midday, and once before dark. This serves both to stimulate breeding as well as to flush the water in the tadpole containers to keep it fresh.

With the vivariums set up, and proper care in place, reproduction should soon follow. The animals will be placed together after a quarantine period (of no less than 30 days, and up to 90 depending on the health of the animals) and allowed to select mates. We will place appropriate numbers of frogs in the aquariums depending on the volume of them. The smallest, of 50 gallons, will house up to six individuals. The largest, 150 gallons, could house up to a dozen or more—all depending on the number we have to work with. Each terrarium will have a minimum of two color morphs, but may house up to as many as we can obtain (most likely 4). The terrarium will be checked twice a week for tadpoles, and any found will be recorded. We will also identify the female which attends the tadpole. It should not be difficult from that to identify the father of the offspring. All of these will be monitored carefully throughout the study. From this, we are able to tell which females are mating, and with what males. Periodically, we can experimentally switch males out of certain terrariums and switch them. This will allow for more variations of colors interacting with other types. We can find females which have been receptive to reproduction with males in the past and introduce males of other color forms to them.

At the conclusion of the study, the frogs will be given to various zoological institutions which express interest in keeping them. Some of the offspring may be traded with hobbyists for other species which we are using for studies, but priority will be given to institutions. We will offer any help they require in their display, care and maintenance, and breeding we can.
See less See more
G
Looks good to me. Do you happen to have the pic mentioned of the tree buttress? I tried searching for them on your site, but no luck.

EDIT: Just checked your site and found some galleries. Must have been added since the last time I visited.
G
It's the handful of D. pumilio shot. I'll be sending them a copy.
j
Yeager's Frogs Site

(For those who don't know, I'm webmaster of Justin's site)

Sorry about the galleries.... the 3 most recent galleries are linked on the main page, not in the galleries page. I'm preparing to do an overhaul of the site and I'll get the galleries back in order with new galleries as well of local stuff, and of course justin's new do! Hopefully new research stuff too depending on how his proposals go. Oh, and the pics for sale...

Yeah, I've got a bit of work to do on the site. I'm crossing my fingers to have this all done in a month.
basti study among other ideas

Hello all. I feel as though I must chime in here as this topic interests me greatly.

First, I am curious as to why auratus are considered native now. I looked them up on the USGS site and they are still listed as introduced/non-native. Is this a recent change?

Next, regarding Kyle Summer's article..."Visual Mate Choice etc..." This article has a great premise but is seriously flawed in many ways. It fails to look at patterns. In addition, he uses ten gallon aquaria and then wonders why some have not shown any breeding behavior, which is the greatest folly as most pumilio breeders have noticed that larger vivaria yield better results in terms of enticing them to breed. Next, his sample size is extremely small. What scares me even more about the study is that he fails to qualify (and quantify) what "normal" light conditions are. I really wish someone else would do a more well thought out study on this as it would answer some interesting questions. I must give Summers credit though as this was an awesome start and the study was rather innovative in multiple senses that I don't have the time to go into at the moment.

Next, this is for you Justin. You should really consider doing the basti study in the field as in the long run it will save you money and give your study more "power". I have many ideas for you in how to set this study up if you are interested. Large, screened in fence plots would be ideal. Each frog can be fitted with a belt so as to give its ID and sex. The belt is made out of a stretchable nylon material (bought at a craft store- used to make beaded bracelets) that has small beads around it. Different colored beads can stand for sex, approximate age, individual ID, and so on.... I have used these in the field with great results and it is less invasive in comparison to toe clipping. The belts are lightweight as well and can be tied around the frogs waist. The egg deposition sites can be artificial ones made from canisters, cups, or whatever= makes it easier to check than broms. At the end of the study you can just release the frogs back where they were collected from. Why introduce them to the hobby just because your study is done with them? I really wish more studies were conservation minded. These are just a few ideas.... and if you need more just shoot me an email. I think you are onto something...

Justin
See less See more
G
Thank you for the comments. I also agree that Kyle's project was important for what it did, but I agree with many of the things you said-- and if you'll note, most of them are changed in mine. I had considered doing this in the field first, but I think it would be important to get some preliminary data to have something to go on before doing it in the field. It is also much much easier to do it in the lab for starters. There are so many variables I could not control in the field that I feel (as I've said earlier) that I think this one would be better to start first in the lab. As far as what happens to the animals at the end of the project, I've been dwelling on that for some time as well. I want to get these frogs established into the zoo side. It is a shame they are not represented there. If Saint Joes wants to keep them going themselves in the lab after I leave, that is also a strong possibility. My dilemma is I don't keep frogs, so I wouldn't take them when my degree is over. I also don't want to dump them in the private market as that would make me look as I was a hobbyist. I need other frogs for other parts of my thesis, so that would be the only way I would let any go, in trade if I could not raise the funds to buy the other frogs.
j
See less See more
I was just noticing the original topic of this discussion and realized that this is a crazy tangent. So, my deepest apologies go out to those who started this topic and for my tangent.

I agree that using a baseline study would be beneficial before going into the field with this experiment. Just don't fall into the same traps that Summers went into. I think that having a hobbyists background is good for studying animal behavior. Sometimes it can cloud ones judgement though.

Anyway, obtaining frogs for this experiment would be costly....then again flying to Central America isn't so cheap either...got any frequent flyer miles? I guess that zoological institutions wouldn't be the worst place for them to go to. You are obviously going to use WC animals, right? At any rate, I would love to see more research in this area; in addition, I would love to see more work done on the optical operating systems of the pumilio. I mean in all seriousness....what colors do they really see? Designing an experiment for this may be difficult...maybe another choice test design.

Justin
See less See more
G
So, my deepest apologies go out to those who started this topic and for my tangent.
No problem at all. The subject ran its course and has now spawned something new...as well as constructive. My only problem would be if the things talked about in this thread never came to fruition (i.e. breeding guidelines or classifications, Justin's study, etc.).

As long as progress is made, it's all good.
G
Well don't you worry about the study. Provided the right frogs come in, the study will definitely be done. If not, good lord, it could take years on waiting lists to do it...
j
breeding guidelines

Ah, yes, breeding guidelines was the original idea here. After reading the previous posts I have come to the conclusion that this is a great idea. Its benefits are multilateral. I must say that this would be very difficult to accomplish as many already established breeders and hobbyists may not see this as a positive practice and may not conform to the guidelines. I guess this is where the gradation idea comes in....

I think that just knowing where the animals came from is a benefit unto itself. The local specific route in which our hobby is steadily leaning towards is much akin to the same movement with many North American snake hobbyists; for example, many collectors of Heterodon, eastern kingsnakes, eastern milksnakes, and even pitouphis offer snakes from local specific areas- NJ, the Carolinas, Florida, etc... I think we can go a step forward and actually make this a general practice as was stated in previous posts. In the future we will thank ourselves knowing that we are keeping the genetic lines as close to the wild populations as possible, but we must get most if not everyone in on this...I'm in.

I must admit that I enjoy the "mystique" of albino's. However, constantly inbreeding these animals for the desired albino lines allows for accumulations of other recessive alleles that may have a negative impact on the animals lifespan or other effects. This random mating idea of albino's is intriguing.

Justin
See less See more
more...

As if I didn't talk enough...

I just ran into a thought. How many zoos actually have collection data for their animals? I know for a fact that some institutions have very poor data in this regard. For a hobby to head into this direction amazing. I would find it difficult for begginers's to the hobby to understand this at first. It's just a matter of education.

Justin
G
I would find it difficult for begginers's to the hobby to understand this at first. It's just a matter of education.
I agree in that I think it's just a matter of education and consistently promoting the benefits and importance of such information. Look at killifish keepers: they do an AMAZING job at doing this, and it's just something that gets ingrained into those who choose to keep them. You learn to know it, or at least the organisms you are directly involved with.

I think we need to keep their place in the wild very near to the minds of hobbyists, making it hard to disassociate these as wild animals and appreciating them as that. Seeing pics from various studies and expiditions in the wild helps remind of that, and I think helps to prevent us from only thinking about these animals pertaining only to 10 gal verts.
FYI, killiefish people do breed selectively and propagate albinos and mutations. They breed C.whitei, F. gardneri albinos and A.australe orange.


SB
G
Right, but they keep incredible track of breeding lines and collection info. That was my point...although I don't think it was very clear.
I thought this thread had died and quit following it over a month ago. Glad to see it still had some life. I'm not sure we need to have the majority of breeders onboard with the guidelines but we certainly need most of the key breeders onboard. I think most of them are sympathetic, if not downright excited, about the idea but many are worried about broadcasting specifics about what they have in their collections for a variety of reasons. The guidelines are not that difficult. They are a set of rules that breeders voluntarily sign on to follow. Not all frogs in a collection have to be produced using the guidelines but we should have some way to feel confident that when someone claims a batch of frogs are produced following the guidelines, that they really are. It will be a challenge to develop guidelines with a team of people over the Internet though. This would be a good topic for a working group or panel discussion at IAD, Frog Day, or NWFF. Several years ago a group of us led a panel discussion on the registry. Although attendence for the panel really sucked, some very good discussion came out of it. I wrote up a summary of the discussion and posted on frognet and that became the catalyst for the effort that has continued slowly since then. The panel provided enough interactive discussion to at least clarify what the issues and challenges were going to be to tackle the problem. I think the guidelines would be much simpler. If we could get a few people to do some homework ahead of time, I think draft guidelines might be hammered out in a good solid day of discussion. Two things that come to mind for preparation are for someone to obtain and become familiar with the killifish breeding standards and the second is to have someone familiar with the AZA ISIS system. I have an idea who we could get for ISIS.
See less See more
81 - 100 of 122 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top