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what is the deal with mixing frogs?

11443 Views 123 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  Woodsman
so i am extremely new to the whole dart frog thing (in fact i don't own any yet and i'm doing research to see if i want to keep them) and i've seen a whole lot of rage about mixing frogs. what i haven't seen though, is a concrete reason why people are so against it. i don't have any feelings for or against this, i just want to know why people don't like it so much.

isn't this kind of like breeding different kinds of dogs and such? in the shrimp breeding industry, people breed crazy mixed shrimps all the time until they get a nice one and then breed it out until they get a "new" kind of shrimp. what is the different between this and doing the same with frogs?

people breed things to get better color and traits they like.

there are people who like to keep wild varieties of shrimps and those who like the new fancy ones. i guess what i'm asking is why people are so against it in dart frogs, but don't bat an eye with other animals.
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sorry i meant creating hybrids. i did read the stickies on having different kinds in the same enclosure.
Why do people see the barrel of the gun, yet step into the clearing anyway, arms waving and screaming, "shoot Meee! Over Here!!"?
This is so done to death. Please, do your homework. It is obvious you have not used the search function or spent any time at all researching and reading.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on my raincoat to prepare for the bloodbath!
i'm not trying to start a flame war, as i said, i don't have feelings either way, i just want an honest answer that isn't full of rage... which is what is already starting.

btw, where is the search feature? i have looked for it and all i have seen is the threads that show up when you start a new ones (i read those).
Basically, it's an effort to keep dart frogs pure, as opposed to snakes, which have been crossed for different color patterns. PDF hobbyists, as you have noticed, are extremely rabid about mixing frogs. They will YELL at you and call you names. I think you've seen it in several posts.

There are other reasons as well. Some pdfs don't play well with others; some get too stressed out and 'croak', so to speak. The frogs aren't cheap, so it's best to choose a frog you like and learn everything you can about it. If you have a water feature, odds are that a sexed pair will breed. As long as you have the same kind of parent frog, the egg to tadpole to froglet experience is pretty awesome.

No, we don't mix because of some kid who wants to see a hybrid, and then try to sell it as a bonafide morph. Poison dart frogs are 'jewels of the rainforest' and we want to keep it that way within the hobby.

I can't say that we all don't mix. I'm sure you've been following my thread on my beautiful new tank with some neat features. It is unfortunate that most of the posters berate me for my choice of inhabitants rather than focus on the tank.

That's about it in a nutshell. Most definitely, follow the more experienced hobbyists' advice and look up the links.

good luck!
8yrs in the pdf hobby
ah i see, i just find the different view towards hybrids in dart frogs versus other animals a little strange. so there isn't some kind of biological reason behind it ex: weak frogs etc...?

i did see your thread and the comments, and was a little taken aback by it. i can understand stress related problems and all that and it definitely makes sense, but it can be done properly (with a load of effort) from what i have read.
It boils down people wanting to keep bloodlines pure and as they occur naturally in the wild. Preserving the beauty that evolution gave us. I like the fact that people in the dart hobby dont feel the urge to create mutts like everything else out there...At least the majority dont anyways.

and they certainly are beautiful :). it's interesting to see the differences in the views of the different communities ex: dart frog people wanting to keep them pure versus shrimp people wanting to create new shrimp.

thanks for the replies everyone!
Before you get flamed by these boards too much, let me save you some headache:


There is no hard scientific data to back either school of thought, and personally, I don't see any problem with mixing species.

The issue tends to arise, esp with exotics that have LOCALE specifics (ie same species but diff locales ARE diff even though they can be bred together). People like to keep the "pure" locales separate. I'm all for this but I don't see any reason why people can't ALSO create hybrids.

The issue I think most people have with it is that it dilutes the market and at times it will become hard to tell what exactly you are buying. However, I think this argument is utter bullshit tbh; if you are EXPERIENCED in the field then you will buy from a reputable dealer and not have a problem....if you are not experienced then it doesn't matter.

Just my 2 cents; I see nothing wrong with mixing as long as you are open about it if you try to sell your animals. Someone lieing about his mixed animals and selling them as "true" locales is a scammer (or unlikely, but possibly unaware)....but that has NOTHING to do with the mixing of the frogs themselves.

HOWEVER, as others have pointed out on this thread: There are correct and incorrect ways to mix. As has been said in this thread, and quoted by SCOTT RICHARDSON above.....mixing that many frogs in those tank sizes is plain dumb. Not because of the mixing of species but because of the lack of space/environment htey have.

Mixing geckos with frogs as well, not a wise idea....esp taking their sizes into consideration.


You might THINK they are doing fine, but until you are truly experienced you don't have the ABILITY to see when something is wrong. They don't always show problems; in fact they usually HIDE problems.

EDIT: As a side note, I would like to point out that genetic mixing is the preference in nature. The more varied the genetic pool, the better the resulting animals tend to be. I do not understand the desire to "keep nature pure" by many keepers....nature itself is always evolving. If you were to look at these same animals in 1000 years odds are that these locales would have crossbred and possibly even created new guys are ok with the "naturally created" locales, but not the "purposely bred" just does not make sense to me. I am a keeper / forum member of several different exotics and although this attitude changes from animal to animal, there is NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS whatsoever. It is purely opinion. Until SOLID EVIDENCE can be shown one way or another, I will continue siding with the "pro-mixers."
ah this helps put it into perspective. i can see the reasoning for both sides, but if you aren't trying to screw people with your hybrids and it doesn't hurt them, why not keep them and enjoy them?

if you aren't selling them as something they aren't is it really hurting anyone? you can keep your wild varieties and have your non wild ones and enjoy both of them.
No. Despite the breed of dog, a dog is the same species and is a cross breed. So first, crossing a lab and a poodle still results in Canis lupus. Crossing a tinc and a leuc results in a true hybrid like a liger or a mule. Also, a breed of dog is something that has been selectively bred by humans for certain traits. By breeding different dogs together you're screwing with a human invention. Even if you breed two different morphs of tinctorius together many (most) occur in isolated populations from morph to morph, so really you're screwing with evolution.... Many of us think that's a pretty big difference.
well if they can breed then they must be the same species no? dogs were probably a bad example for the hybrid thing but not for the selective breeding. dogs were once wolves, and were selectively bred by people to produce certain traits and became dogs. look at pure bred dogs, most of them have horrible health problems and such from being inbred and bred with small gene pool. that to me, is wrong, but it is done all the time (with many animals) and i'm sure it is done very often to keep these so called "pure frogs".

but if you can produce a healthy hybrid without health problems for your own enjoyment and you aren't trying to sell them as something they aren't, is it wrong? people breed fancy shrimp all the time, and then there are purists who keep only the wild forms of the shrimp. isn't there a place for both?
As has been said many times before - what happens in 2 years when you decide to get out of the hobby?
this is true... i guess it comes down to a responsibility thing...
You are completely disregarding and ignoring the fact that they can and have, leaked out into the hobby. I saw it pointed out a couple of times and you are not acknowledging it. What happens when the keeper/breeder is involved in a fatal car accident? Family or whoever could take them into a pet shop not realizing what they are doing.
Or what happens when the breeder just decides they are done with the hobby? Think about it. Are you prepared just kill the frogs you've raised from babies? I don't think so.
well that's why i said it takes responsibility on the part of the owner (and the buyer) to not advertise the frogs as something they aren't or buy frogs they haven't researched previously. i see it all the time with fish. people walk in and buy a fish without any clue what it is and then don't know what to do when it ends up being 4 feet long (yes it happens all the time). i think the buyer shares in the responsibility here too... we all know you can't always just trust what the seller says.

if you are open and tell people that they are hybrid frogs so people are prepared, is it such a big deal? it will always take a certain amount of responsibility.
We've seen in the past (even just within the past couple of years) that there are too many people who don't have said responsibility. It's a lot easier if you just don't do it.

And you're still ignoring one awesome point. You breed them for yourself. But almost no one else wants them. So when it comes to the point where you have to get rid of them and you try selling them to a few different people and you're open and honest about "yeah, these are hybrids" and you get turned down repeatedly, but there's just no way you can keep these frogs anymore... what are you going to do? It's easy to say right now "yeah, I'll be responsible and I won't lie about the origin of my frogs," but when you actually put yourself in that kind of situation... what do you do? You're basically down to, kill the frogs yourself, give them to a pet store (which is still usually a death sentence), or lie about whether or not they're a hybrid.
well granted i can't say i know much about the demand for hybrid frogs, but i'm sure you could find people who would take them for free... when i wanted to get rid of my fish, i gave them away to local hobbyists from a forum for free because they aren't really worth anything. darts are usually worth more than a lot of fish, but hybrids aren't.
Yes, it is. You are not even doing this yet, and you have already admitted that you will release them to the public. How is that taking any responsibility at all for your "experiment"? You have already relinquished control of your polluted bloodline even before you have created it. Now you have no idea what happens to your "Frankenstein". All we know is that you are already prepared to turn him loose on an unsuspecting town.
you make it sound like a very dramatic disaster... if the person receiving the frog is responsible and knowledgeable and they know the frog's history, i don't see problem.
Where most of us have the objective of breeding our frogs (a well-kept frog should breed even if we don't try), why would we want something that we couldn't breed? Or does that mean that the hobbyist you're pawning off your creations to plans to breed your hybrids?

How certain are you/we that the hobbyist you give your frogs to will maintain the same moral level and be honest about those frogs once he has acquired them? Or at that point would it just not matter to you since... well... you're leaving the hobby?
true enough, you can't really know what they will do unless you know them well.
That is my point. You are refusing to take any responsibility for releasing them to the public and diluting the bloodlines. In one breath you say you will take responsibility and in the next you have already released them into the hobby and you don't care what your experiment will do to our hobby. This is completely selfish and as Irresponsible as you can possibly get.
that's not what i said. i said that you need to take responsibility to the extent that you can. you inform a potential buyer/receiver of what they are receiving and try to find a responsible buyer. beyond that, there is not much you can do, but that's the same thing in any business transaction. after that, it is the buyer's responsibility to be responsible. if someone wants hybrids, they will get them... if it means buying your hybrids or buying "pure" frogs and creating their own, they will get them.

anyway, i appreciate the responses and everyone for helping me understand this issue... oh and for pointing out the search function. i don't log in unless i am about to post so i never saw it >.<
The op stated at the very beginning of this post that if its ok to mix dogs it should be ok to mix frogs. But who says its ok to mix dogs? How many reputable dog breeders are mixing to make mutts? I don't think breeders...nope not those either. So keep your cocker spaniel poodle mixes...but a mutt is a mutt. No mutt dogs and no mutt frogs.
no i didn't... i asked if this is a similar situation to the mixing of dogs. "isn't this kind of like breeding different kinds of dogs and such?"

i also said later on that i am against the pure breeding of dogs when it gets to the point that pure bred dogs have huge health problems (ex: hip dysplasia). the fact is that mutts are actually healthier than pure breds...
why do I have a strong feeling of Deja vu?

for example localized inbreeding that provides a selective advantage in known from a number of taxa including but not limited to wolves, domestic mice and of course frogs..
from all that i have read/experienced, inbreeding is a bad thing and weakens the animals. animals that have been highly inbred have health problems are are much more fragile than other animals. eventually they will not survive. this goes from shrimp all the way to lions and tigers. generally breeders want to avoid it as much as possible...

how to you determine that the risk of outbreeding depression outweighs the risk of inbreeding depression?
First off this is not Fish, shrimp, snakes hobby what they do there in those hobbies and are OK with don't apply to this one with dart frogs. One of the first things I did researching this hobby was reading and searching what the opinions, standards and practices were and are how they were are applied to keeping dart frogs.

What ever you see in fish, snakes, shrimp don't apply here. You are comparing apples to oranges, differant sets of opinions, standards and ideology. What ever you think is OK over there forget it, erase it from your mind and start dart frogs with a clean slate. One thing you have opened yourself out to is being a future hybrididiot with some of your post, not only will you find it difficult to be here on dendroboard, most will shun you, will not sell to you, and even some of the what can be considered by some responsible Pro-mixers will not deal with you.

There were many things I had to erase from my mind having been in the reef hobby for 25+ years. I cannot compare hybrid or cross breed clownfish and say well they do it in reefing so why not darts. Different hobby, differant mind set, differant ideology on how the hobby works and is put in practice.
the whole point of this thread was me asking about why the dart frog hobby has such a hostile view regarding hybrids etc... when many other hobbies are open to the idea and actively encourage it. i have heard many good reasons for it and against it. that's all. i just wanted to know why out of curiosity. i am not leaning either way and i'm certainly not going to attack others over their views. i just wanted some clarification.

anyway, it's a little sad to say that i will be a "hybridiot" when i don't own any frogs at all and i'm nowhere near ready to own any. i'm just trying to learn so i can give my future frogs proper homes.
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This is going to seem harsh, but it isn't intended that way.

This tells me you have a poor or incomplete understanding of not only captive population management but how populations work in the wild.. This is not an uncommon discussion on the forum and hits the forum every couple of months.. I have posted a lot of literature links on the forum.. enough that I'm getting tired of doing so when a search on inbreeding and/or outbreeding discussion will pull up those threads. Outbreeding depression in captive populations is considered a big enough problem that the recommendation is to not do it unless there is absolutely no way other way to sustain the population.. in other words, so many deleterious problems have shown up that the population is no longer viable. We are no where close to that stage as of yet with any dendrobatids.

In wild populations of animals, outbreeding depression can significantly affect growth, develeopment or survivial of not only eggs but juveniles or adults. It can take as long as 5 generations for the issues to surface (at which point it is too late to salvage the affected population).
you're right, i'm no expert on the topic. i do know however that many breeders of animals will try to introduce new blood into the gene pool because inbreeding doesn't produce good results. this has been shown many, many times. in the wild, scientists are introducing animals from other areas into isolated populations to reduce the effects of inbreeding. ex: lions. there seems to be a much smaller body of research on outbreeding depression than on inbreeding depression and it has been said that it is hard to determine the effects of outbreeding depression. which is why i wondered where you draw the line... inbreeding is not good. period. it is a fact.

anyway, i will go read some of these articles. i have read one or two that you linked already. interesting reads.
even if they can live in the same habitat at same temps etc they are not the same! you wouldnt expect to go to the zoo and see jaguars lions, tigers, and cheetahs in the same enclosure and for the keepers to say well... we couldnt decide on one specie so we thought we would put all males together because we only have room for one field (viv) and anyway it dont matter there all cats anyway (frogs)
good point. it would be weird to see that, but on the flip side, white tigers are not natural and don't exist in the wild (or not for long anyway). they have been created for zoos and entertainment and most people don't even realize it.
Oh, you really have some research to do. And you should do it BEFORE making comments.
The White Tigers in the zoo do not exist in the wild, they are a cross between a Siberian Tiger and a Bengel Tiger. Both species carry a white gene.

1 in 10,000 Siberian Tigers ARE white.
isn't that what i said? the white tigers in zoos don't exist in the wild. bengal tigers and amur tigers will never meet in the wild. thus, they are created. you read a wiki (1 in 10,000 siberian tigers are white)... i wouldn't call that research, but anyway, i can quote wikipedia too "...the last white tiger ever seen in the wild was shot in 1958". there been white amur and bengal tigers, but not for a long, long time in the wild and none are currently in existence.

yay for misunderstandings and jumping to the attack prematurely. bleh.
i don't think i've been arguing with people. i asked an honest question and got some pretty snide responses and some dueling between others i didn't respond to. my original question was why hybridization in other animals is not frowned upon like it is in dart frogs. it seems only natural to compare the views on hybridization in different hobbies and with other animals (and similar ones like snakes). you know it just as well as i do. you're just attacking me because you made a mistake and you need to save face.

i have no tried to start conflict, but when you attacked me like you did, i felt i had to correct you. i know you're trying to cover your own fail here by attacking me even more with your latest post, and i understand.
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