"Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

General Dart Frog Questions and Comments. Care and Husbandry
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"Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:22 pm

“Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs for personal pleasure or participation in the Dart Frog Hobby Community.

We need to start this discussion by realizing that it is not solely a matter of educating new hobbyists, when it comes to this issue. “Educating” implies that hobbyists are doing something wrong and need to be corrected, when in reality, they are just doing something that goes against someone else’s beliefs. This is large hobby and there is enough passion, interest and energy for all, provided we do not adversely affect things for future hobbyists down the road.

We all need to provide good, truthful reasons for why we personally choose not to mix or breed different species or morphs. We must be civil in our attempts to persuade others with opposing viewpoints and realize that not everyone is going to agree and/or change their mind right away or possibly ever.

The majority of the Dart Frog Hobby Community believes that mixing is bad for the hobby because it can lead to hybrid or cross morph frogs being produced and transferred to many other people and places. The reason we feel this is bad is because most Dart Frogs have a long life span and could enter and stay in the hobby - not labeled properly, for a long time. If mislabeled and questionable Dart Frogs circulate in the hobby, they can destroy attempts at trying to manage pure blood lines. The Hobby community realizes that its breeding efforts are unlikely be able to be used for species re-population in the event of extinction, but there are still valid reasons why we want to be able to maintain an accurate representation of what a certain species of dart frog looks and acts like, in nature. The more mixing, hybridization or even the threat or mention of it occurs, the more it will drive many hobbyists to seek to acquire wild caught stock. This definitely hurts conservation efforts. Many older and experienced hobbyists may even “shut their doors” and refuse to help or provide frogs to those seeking to create hybrids or mixed enclosures.

Even though it has been shown that success with mixed species enclosures is achievable, newcomers to the hobby should still start out with a single species, in order to gain the experience that is essential to basic Dart Frog care before trying to attempt a mixed species enclosure. Simply put, when a second or third separate species is added to an enclosure, the chance of something going wrong is accelerated 2 fold. That is the main reason that we direct all new hobbyists to a single species enclosure and not a mixed one.

If, however, you do decide to mix species or morphs, please take into consideration not creating hybrids and to use frogs that cannot breed with one another, like all males. Be prepared to cull any eggs that are produced. Research all the necessary information regarding mixed species enclosures well before attempting same (most information is found online in Forums) in order to make sure you have the best possible setup to be successful, and for the health of your frogs.

Here are some answers to a few questions that inevitably get brought up anytime there is a "mixing" or "Hybrid" discussion:

"I will cull every egg"....You won't find every egg and even froglets I never knew I had, pop up all the time in my vivs.

"Then I will cull those froglets or keep them, but I won't breed them"....In time, you will be overrun with froglets and won't be able to keep every one. Killing small froglets is not an easy thing to do for most people, as well.

"I will only transfer hybrid or crossed offspring to those hobbyists who specifically want then and they all will be informed as to what they are"....It is inevitable once someone gets bored/goes university/has children/moves house/passes away/needs money,then these frogs will have to go somewhere else. The easiest way to do this is to fail to disclose or even lie about what your frogs are (if hybrid). This is the core of the issue - the recirculation of unknown lineage animals at best, or at worst - the direct falsification or missrepresentation of certain dart frogs.

And finally,as Corny and trite as this may sound : The Frogs can’t speak to us. They are truly at our mercy when it comes to housing and caring for them. We all need to consider what is best for them, and not just what we selfishly want and desire.

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Re: Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:32 pm

Used some of Jellyman's post initially, with most of my own content and editing thereafter.

This is a complex issue and the above post is not an "official Dart Den.com" stance or statement. It's merely an attempt at putting some starting point down as a sticky, so we can direct the new hobbyists to it, before they want to ask 8 questions and start a "new" mixing thread. That's all.

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Re: Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby jellyman » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:33 pm

Philsuma wrote:Used some of Jellyman's post initially, with most of my own content and editing thereafter.

This is a complex issue and the above post is not an "official Dart Den.com" stance or statement. It's merely an attempt at putting some starting point down as a sticky, so we can direct the new hobbyists to it, before they want to ask 8 questions and start a "new" mixing thread. That's all.



I think that was excellent. I cannot disagree with anything in your post. Only thing that may need to be added is that the mislabeling of unknown locale/import data of pure frogs is just as bad.

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Re: Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:58 pm

jellyman wrote: Only thing that may need to be added is that the mislabeling of unknown locale/import data of pure frogs is just as bad.


That's a whole seperate issue, that needs to be addressed towards importers, jobbers and flippers primarily - then on down.

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Re: Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby jellyman » Sun May 29, 2011 11:12 pm

Philsuma wrote:
jellyman wrote: Only thing that may need to be added is that the mislabeling of unknown locale/import data of pure frogs is just as bad.


That's a whole seperate issue, that needs to be addressed towards importers, jobbers and flippers primarily - then on down.


I was only getting at the new or general hobbiest that buys a frog at a local pet shop or show has no idea of the exact name and then uses a book or online photo to identify the frog.

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Cindy Dicken » Mon May 30, 2011 10:40 am

As we all know, if dart frogs are not mixed, then we do not have to deal with the situation of cross-breeding, or "hybridizing".

When discussing mixed tanks, I use the comparison of an elevator full of people.........that gets stuck.

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Natures Gems » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:32 am

thanks guys, well put. i believe in not mixing tanks myself. i agree that hybridizing probably should not be attempted. while it is exciting to create new morphs in animals such as reptiles it could lead to a lot of classification problems with the frogs in the future.

when i first researched darts it was pretty much a standard that no one should mix dart frogs for a breeding project. the information out there all pointed to the fact that it would be frowned upon to hyridize these beauties.

we are all individuals and its hard to tell anyone what to do for sure. with so many species and ranges, classifications and id issues ,why make it more difficult to keep track of new morphs and hybrids.

tom

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby guppygal » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:51 am

Great post, Phil. I agree wholeheartedly on all of your points, tho I think you missed a big one. Dart frogs are not cheap. If new pdf enthusiasts are warned that mixing frogs may cause illness and most certainly cause death within the mixed group, this in itself maybe the catalyst to keep the morphs separate. It's like flushing hundreds of dollars down the toilet.

I have many single species tanks and I would never dream of combining them into a mixed tank. We also know about my personal frogs, so we won't go there. I do have a question - why is it not possible to create a registry beginning with the main breeders' W/C or F1 lines? I know this topic in itself has been tossed around for many years, yet there really isn't anything or anyway it can be established without dna samples. Or is there? As far as hybrids go, kids are gonna be kids, and they will do as they please. I'm seriously afraid that we're fighting a losing battle. BTW, I'm so far from being a kid that I've already started on my bucket list.

As things stand now, I'm happy to help teachers teach their kids about poison dart frogs. I donate the supplies, the frogchow, and the frogs/tads/eggs in an effort to teach 'em properly while they're young. The kids, I mean. And the good news is that the classrooms are receiving beautiful, pure, fat, and healthy blue/bronze auratus, unless they choose eggs or tads. Once the class has ended, some lucky kid will end up with a very nice auratus or two, unless of course, the teacher keeps it. This is one way to educate new hobbyists, and yes, it does address the horrors of mixing.

just some thoughts ~
k

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:11 pm

Thanks for the compliment on my post. It is far from polished or perfect, but I wanted to at least get a starting point out there so we can point new people to it, when the mixing posts and questions start flying.

I personally don't agree with:

"fighting a losing battle" or

"Kids will be kids"

I will always be 100% against ANY new hobbyist posting or advocating mixed species vivariums. I will always add my opinion to any discussion or post of that nature. I'll never give up on an issue that I feel so strongly about.

I also post "against" zoological exhibits that are crammed full of 3-4 tincs, leucs and auratus even though they admittedly are playing be a different "set of rules"

Never give up.

....oh...and you are 100% right about these interesting, live creatures. They are expensive (relatively) and should never be viewed as disposable or "cheap".

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Natures Gems » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:12 pm

Philsuma wrote:Thanks for the compliment on my post. It is far from polished or perfect, but I wanted to at least get a starting point out there so we can point new people to it, when the mixing posts and questions start flying.

I personally don't agree with:

"fighting a losing battle" or

"Kids will be kids"

I will always be 100% against ANY new hobbyist posting or advocating mixed species vivariums. I will always add my opinion to any discussion or post of that nature. I'll never give up on an issue that I feel so strongly about.

I also post "against" zoological exhibits that are crammed full of 3-4 tincs, lecus and auratus even though they admittedly are playing be a different "set of rules"

Never give up.

....oh...and you are 100% right about these interesting, live creatures. They are expensive (relatively) and should never be viewed as disposable or "cheap".


phil,

i think a lot of people just thinking about getting into the hobby and haven't yet can definitely benefit from this thread. it definitely may answer some questions if they haven't got the information yet on their own. as i said the info is pretty much all over out there that it is frowned upon to hybridize. but if someone hasn't received that information this thread can definitley help them to make the right decisions. i believe it will be helpful.

i think besides the most obvious reasons/problems with hybridizing , if you add the possibility of a change of hands numerous times and as you said also flipping, it could be a downward spiral so to speak. if frogs are bought and sold over and over and if accurate records haven't been kept it becomes very hard to ascertain many things including the most basic like original lineage/bloodline/source, as well as care of the frogs and how they were housed with each individual owner, alone or mixed , combine that with possible offspring that may have been a result of mixing them together and oh boy......
not good......

i'm a big fan of keeping only the same frogs together and keeping bloodlines as pure as possible.but that is just my personal preference.

thanks again for the post phil

tom

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:28 pm

Thanks Tom,

Another great point - the mixed species vivarium is much more apt to result in frogs changing hands or being flipped, when compatibility problems are encountered or when the owner of a mixed vivarium has to sell off or transfer the whole shebang to someone that may wish to separate ect, ect.

the "gist" of it - mixed species vivarium are difficult and fraught with many, many more concerns and potential problems. That's why you almost always hear "if you have to ask about how to construct a mixed species enclosures, then that means you are not ready to attempt it". VERY apt saying, IMO.

also...

I am seeing some signs where a lot of new hobbyists, more specifically "young people" are associating the term "pure blood" as a haughty, hoi polloi term - derisive even and are actively rebelling where and whenever they see it used.
I think the term "pure blood" is being used incorrectly and we as a hobby, probably should come up with a better, more accurate and way less inflammatory term to describe hobby management efforts.

More later...

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Natures Gems » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:40 pm

i agree phil perhaps "as strong a bloodline as possible" would be better? or something along those lines?


tom

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:55 am

lol....better. We can continue to work on it.

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby siples » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:26 pm

I do have four Regina X Giant orange juvis I assume after all the hoopla that this is acceptable. They have been established historically as being the same frog, just line bred and separated from imports years ago.

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:40 pm

I assume you have some of Richard Lynch's froglets then. I have seen a couple arguments that support your assumption and I must admit, it sounds reasonable, but I'd still like to hear more from the long term tinctorius breeders. What does Bill Schwinn have to say ?

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby siples » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:54 pm

I do have some of Richards froglets, I know that this argument has been long term, supposedly the importers have settled this quite a long time ago, but there are still skeletons in the closet agreed?

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby siples » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:59 pm

While I do have both Reginas and Go's I have no plans obviously I obviousley have no plans to mix It's just something that has been accepted but with deep caution to what would be accepted in this hobby.

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby siples » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:01 am

Sorry about the playback on words it is late and time for bed lol!!!!!

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Philsuma » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:02 am

Actually, the combining of the Regina and Giant orange is only a couple years old...as I know it.

Importers settling something ? Ha....Importers don't settle anything except cash. Since I seriously doubt Richard L is going to come over here to post....you'll have to dig into threads "over there".

Are those crosses "better" or maybe should I say, more scientific than a made-up basement cross of an alanis and a citronella by some 20 year old ? Yeah, most likely, but still very much far from "settled".

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Re: "Hybridizing”,Cross-breeding and Mixing Dart Frogs

Postby Swampfox » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:59 am

I absolutely hate myself for getting drawn into this, but this topic is apparently my achilles heel. Damn you, Phil. Kidding of course...kind of.

Also, before I start, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the civility of the discussion here thus far. I think your approach is the correct one and admire the effort. I am in no way trying to detract from that. My words may betray the passion I have about the subject, but they are certainly being delivered in an even tone without intended offense to anyone.

That said, I find the soft line that is being taken here a bit disappointing. It would be nice to see a group of hobbyists on these forums band together and say, "if you mix, you are not welcome here." Perhaps that runs the risk of forcing those who mix to be less than honest about it, and I hear the argument you are making, but I cannot help feel that is where such froggers belong. They should be marginalized and kept on the fringes lest passive disinterest be taken for acceptance. Every new hobbyist should have the message drilled into their heads. You cross breed morphs, you get the forum boot. All the animals in their collections are no longer viable. Otherwise, as someone else stated earlier, this is a losing battle that attrition alone will dictate.

In my mind, there is absolutely no justifiable reason to do this in the first place. We are not dealing with an animal that is naturally occuring in a single, drab, nominant morph such as many speicies of reptiles kept by hobbyists. Darts are already available in nearly limitless variety of form, behavior, and difficulty. You will not create something that looks any better than the original morphs by crossing so why bother? Worse still, we are not dealing with stable wild populations of animals as in most other "designer morph" hobbies. Darts are almost all threatened, some critically and some even outright extinct in their natural ranges. To waste a precious resource on some idiotic experiment is pointless. Finally, on the motivation of mixing before I move on, I like to use a simplistic art example. When you start with a brown animal, such as a fat tailed gecko or bearded dragon, line breeding to isolate the combinate colors can enhance the beauty of the animal. Can anyone tell me what happens when you combine all the colors of the rainbow? You get friggin brown. Every. Friggin. Time.

Next, I think it would be productive to address what we as a community can do about known cross-breeders like Redeyetroyfrog and Richard L. In my local frogger community we keep a list of folks who venture into this arena. People on the list get zero support from our group. No supply purchases or sales, no frogs sold or bought, not even PM's returned. I have not explored if this forum has such a feature, but on the "other side" we block their usernames so as not to even be forced to see posts made. Furthermore, if given the opportunity, we would cull every animal in their possession. I know that might sound dramatic or even a bit aggressive, but you have to understand how quickly this can ruin everything we as a hobby work for (or at least some of us I suppose). In bloodlines of azureus (where the nominant is very dominant genetically) a single crossbreed with an oyapok or new river can enter the breeding stock with virtually no distinguishing characteristics. Then it is game over. The hobby will circulate them and we can never determine genetic purity again. Auratus is my absolute favorite dart. I cannot tell you how many "turquoise" auratus I have seen offered that are deliberate crosses of known locale panamanian blue and black with Costa Rican green and black. I have even heard arguments that such crosses are naturally occuring. Map. Fail.

Other's have stated the myriad reason not to cross so I will not re-hash any more. I just thought it might be productive to introduce thoughts on what should/could be done by our community. I honestly think mixed tanks are a total blessing in disguise. The typical idiot 12 year old running them has a 99% chance to kill all of their frogs before any risk of crossbreeds can be achieved. At least they can be forgiven for ignorance and lack of experience. Those who cross on purpose...I just don't know what to say. I hope your houses lose power in the dead of summer or winter, while you are on vacation without a generator. Upon discovering your collection wiped out, I hope the financial burden and sadness at your loss drives you from the hobby permanently.


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