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Is our reliance on fruit flies a good thing?
#1
Hi guys,i thought this might be an interesting topic for debate.
We are very much newcomers to this hobby of keeping dart frogs,but when i was a kid i kept a variety of amphibians.Back then I had to find my own frog grub,this was more than 30 yrs ago and one could simply not by cultures of anything,other than meal worms,here in England. My treefrogs,Salamandas etc got wild food for almost all the year with the mealworms almost as a last resort. Granted darts are way more tricky to source grub for due to the size of food required.That said i think that alot of beginners are lead to believe that the humble FF is a complete diet. It seems in a away that the sourcing of wild grub for our frogs has become almost a lost art,ok it takes time and effort but then so does culturing. I am actually quite surprised at how little i read on the forums about harvesting wild food and some dodges to aquire it quickly. I guess many would be scared that they will bring something harmful in.But its my personal opinion that the risks could be equally great with buying in cultures. Ok in some respects i am fortunate we have our own little house that we have lived in for many years and never use any sprays or chemicals.So i can harvest here and constantly monitor what goes on. I found it quite amusing recently reading of the effort to keep bean aphids and how popular they are becomming in europe,i nip out the back with a stolen makeup brush( i stopped wearing makeup a while back :lol: ) and am able to get enough aphids from several differnt plants in a few minutes for all our frogs...andsome.I believe most aphids are species specific to their host plants and have had absolutely no problems with viv plants becomming infested,ha anyway with a group of darts they don't stand much chance of becomming a problem in a tank And they come in such a huge array of sizes that i guess they could be used as a starter grub for even the tiniest frog/let.I have even taken up the childhood pastime of pond dipping to harvest live grub for our first little tadpol,whom is growing at an alarming rate,and has already amazed us at what he will take on and demolish.
Surely the wider the variety of food our frogs get, then the better for them.Our frogs regularly get several different types of feeder animal on the same day.
As above i am a beginner,so these are kinda out of the box thoughts.
So what do you think ?
take care all
Stu
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#2
Hi Stu,
this is an interesting one, most books I have read always seem to warm people away from this & seem to concentrate on the commonly available foods, some even tend towards scare stories - this is true to a point as collecting from anywhere other than pristine land can be dangerous, in your instance I'm sure your garden is grade a organic but can you be absolutely sure your neighbour hasn’t decided to use something nasty? Even if you can be sure of this you cant be 100% certain that the insects you have collected are local, a portion of them may have migrated to your garden from somewhere they now cant survive in (i.e. sprayed or full of traffic fumes etc). Also the effects of pesticides are quite often cumulative so may not be immediately apparent, potentially this may not always directly affect the frogs but may show their effects in your breeding success later on down the line.

This isn’t to say that I don’t use wild collected insects for my animals I do think they have their place in a balanced diet for any animal so I will continue to use them when available. For me the most important aspect of a healthy diet is to ensure that I gut load my feeders with as wide a variety of foodstuffs as possible (& ensure that the stuff I gut load with is as high quality as possible).

This are just my thoughts & I'm looking forward to hat other people have to say on this subject
Ben
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#3
Real quick...

Meadow Plankton - can be good ! Must be careful on how you harvest.

Can frogs thrive on just FF and supplements - Yes, IMO. It's been well documented. I don't think frogs ever get "sick and tired" of the same type of food.

Do we have a decent amount of feeder insects available - Yep, the hobby uses more and more.....good stuff.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#4
phelsumaman Wrote:Hi Stu,
this is an interesting one, most books I have read always seem to warm people away from this & seem to concentrate on the commonly available foods, some even tend towards scare stories - this is true to a point as collecting from anywhere other than pristine land can be dangerous, in your instance I'm sure your garden is grade a organic but can you be absolutely sure your neighbour hasn’t decided to use something nasty? Even if you can be sure of this you cant be 100% certain that the insects you have collected are local, a portion of them may have migrated to your garden from somewhere they now cant survive in (i.e. sprayed or full of traffic fumes etc). Also the effects of pesticides are quite often cumulative so may not be immediately apparent, potentially this may not always directly affect the frogs but may show their effects in your breeding success later on down the line.

This isn’t to say that I don’t use wild collected insects for my animals I do think they have their place in a balanced diet for any animal so I will continue to use them when available. For me the most important aspect of a healthy diet is to ensure that I gut load my feeders with as wide a variety of foodstuffs as possible (& ensure that the stuff I gut load with is as high quality as possible).

This are just my thoughts & I'm looking forward to hat other people have to say on this subject
Ben
thanks Ben eloquently put,and i take on board and agree with what you have said,my caveat i guess is can i be sure of whats in my bought in culture? or a more insideous( sp?) risk whats in the ingrediants that i use for my cultures. as work really hard at not buying in more than one culture,because of the risk of bringing something in here too. ha and there is a side shoot thought that regards this to do with inbreeding that i'll post later,and separately,as i am so apt to jump about i'll try not to hijack my own thread :lol: .
In a way,these concearns about sprays/contaminants can equally be levied at the stuff one uses to gut load,i do it with our fruit flies Ben,trying to use a variety of fruit just before we feed to the frogs ,as i have read that a ff's food only takes six hours from in to out i would think directly before they are fed to the frogs is hugely important.
I also await others thought interesting this.
Thanks for yours
regards mate
Stu
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#5
Philsuma Wrote:Real quick...

Meadow Plankton - can be good ! Must be careful on how you harvest.

Can frogs thrive on just FF and supplements - Yes, IMO. It's been well documented. I don't think frogs ever get "sick and tired" of the same type of food.

Do we have a decent amount of feeder insects available - Yep, the hobby uses more and more.....good stuff.
Cheers Phil for your thoughts...especially while rushing.I agree more and more feeders are becomming available,and the quality of the suppliments seems to be advancing aswell, I do wonder though if we have lost something, enroute.But as a novice i thought it would be great to hear from more knowledgeable folks,as to their views on this,very greatful for your thoughts mate
regards
Stu
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#6
Stu, you have some really interesting thoughts - I hadn't considered the feeding of my cultures in terms of what goes in the medium this is a very valid point, I have been trying to keep things simple & natural but you are right in pointing out that this is easier said than done. As for only using one culture & not diversifying, I take the opposite view, get as much variety in as I can, yrs its a risk but one worth taking in my opinion as stronger healthier cultures will result in stronger healthier frogs. I've just got some new bean weevils & springs, won't be feeding form them or mixing with existing cultures for a while yet as I need to check there are no mites hanging around, once I do begin to mix them up I'm sure I will see increased vigor in the cultures & it goes without saying that the strongest individuals will breed more & perpetuate their genes.

Great call about feeding.g fruit before feeding out by the way, even if it passes out in 6 hours I'm sure essential vitamins & minerals will remain for the frogs
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#7
phelsumaman Wrote:Stu, you have some really interesting thoughts - I hadn't considered the feeding of my cultures in terms of what goes in the medium this is a very valid point, I have been trying to keep things simple & natural but you are right in pointing out that this is easier said than done. As for only using one culture & not diversifying, I take the opposite view, get as much variety in as I can, yrs its a risk but one worth taking in my opinion as stronger healthier cultures will result in stronger healthier frogs. I've just got some new bean weevils & springs, won't be feeding form them or mixing with existing cultures for a while yet as I need to check there are no mites hanging around, once I do begin to mix them up I'm sure I will see increased vigor in the cultures & it goes without saying that the strongest individuals will breed more & perpetuate their genes.

Great call about feeding.g fruit before feeding out by the way, even if it passes out in 6 hours I'm sure essential vitamins & minerals will remain for the frogs
Thanks Ben yup i do think hard but hell am beginner so have to chuck stuff out seewhat comes back and evaluate,then i can make some form of educated descision, and I will always be a bit left field am happy there.
Ok seriously when i said about hijacking my own thread your point about bringing in new cultures to create hybrid vigour is exactly what i was talking about, (although i don't mind in any way as all these debates are fascinating to me)i am concearned that my cultures viability will fail over time through inbreeding, (especailly if i keep modifying my culturing techniques as we learn more)as you so rightly stated outcrossing will hopefully eliminate this,as its not really like we can line breed a ff culture,for specific traights with out a lot of almost individual selection.whether the nutrional value of one line of ff is better than another Ben,hell mate there's a real science question i have no idea as to an answer.But i totally understand your thoughts.I'll chuck something back at you Ben .Because of my experiances with rare breeds of poutry i very much understand the benefits and cons of line breeding,our reality is the culture and conditions will select a line of individuals that thrive under these conditions so sometimes an out cross will bring vigour sometimes not:ie if the new individuals don't thrive under one's own culture conditions then this could be counter productive.Do you see what I'm trying to say mate(sorry eloquence is not my strong point). so there are some thoughts on the second bit of your post,doesn't the first bit smack of our water debates Ben,do you see the similarities?....what the hell is in it? how does one asertain this info when pp billion could have consequences!
Ben whether we have opposite views or not on something it matters not to me,your thought interest me greatly, Big Grin my view might well be changed by yours! thankyou for making me think!!! interesting stuff
Cheers mate
thankyou
Stu
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#8
Hi stu, I haven't forgotten this one, I'm working away this week Internet access is scarce. Whenim back in a couple of days I want to ask a friend about some of the points you have raised his partner does research at Glasgow uni & has to breed ffs so I think it would be good to get an expert opinion on the whole strain thing, will update as soon as I have more info
Ben
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#9
phelsumaman Wrote:Hi stu, I haven't forgotten this one, I'm working away this week Internet access is scarce. Whenim back in a couple of days I want to ask a friend about some of the points you have raised his partner does research at Glasgow uni & has to breed ffs so I think it would be good to get an expert opinion on the whole strain thing, will update as soon as I have more info
Ben
Hey Ben safe travels mate!! Wonderful will be hugely interested,look foward to what they have to say
thanks again buddy
Stu
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#10
Stu&Shaz Wrote:
phelsumaman Wrote:Hi stu, I haven't forgotten this one, I'm working away this week Internet access is scarce. Whenim back in a couple of days I want to ask a friend about some of the points you have raised his partner does research at Glasgow uni & has to breed ffs so I think it would be good to get an expert opinion on the whole strain thing, will update as soon as I have more info
Ben
Hey Ben safe travels mate!! Wonderful will be hugely interested,look foward to what they have to say
thanks again buddy
Stu
PS
oh mate if you get to read this before contacting them could you inquire about if there is such a thing as a wingless hydie?
thanks again
Stu
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#11
Will do chap, there is a drosophillia bank in the states, I think the details are on here, if not let me know & I can dig it out for you, doubt he will know about wingless hyedi as I'm sure he only works with melanogaster, ill ask anyway!
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#12
https://stockcenter.ucsd.edu/info/welcome.php

Why do you want a wingless Hydei, Stu ?
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#13
Right, I spoke with my friend today & apparently the consensus is that in a successful culture of ffs all deleterious genes have been bred out, when signs of undesired traits appear they would normally select the best individuals to begin breeding again (while discarding the ones with unwanted traits) after many, many generations all that is left are the fittest, & best adapted ffs to your own individual culturing practices. As my friend breed ffs in a controlled environment he does not have the same challenges as we do.

Under most peoples culturing conditions it is likely that our cultures will be regularly 'contaminated' with new stock. Everyone has random ffs flying about their house, he seems to think that these ffs will lay eggs on top of the culture vent & the emerging maggots will drop through your chosen barrier adding extra genetic variety into the strain you have worked hard to maintain. He is a firm believer that this is why people report that their vestigial winged & wingless cultures seem to "revert" back to a winged state, so not that the strain suddenly develops wings again but more a case of their being new genetic material available & of course the winged ones will be able to fly & so can get around more to mate & spread the genes around more quickly that the wingless ones.

He also said that the genetic variety of most ff strains commonly available is so small that its statistically not significant so mixing of different cultures has no noticeable benefit or downside as you wont be introducing any new genes (except in the case of obviously different strains such as winged > wingless etc).

Hope that clears that one up!

Anyway back to the topic guys, does anyone have details of the nutritional values of a ff? What difference does culture medium have on this, has anyone ever bothered to look at this? I'm still really new to this side of things so all the info you guys can provide would be helpful

Ben
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#14
Philsuma Wrote:https://stockcenter.ucsd.edu/info/welcome.php

Why do you want a wingless Hydei, Stu ?
As much as anything it was a curiosity thing Phil,but the emergence of well, more gliders than fliers, in our own Hydei strain was what promted the thought. we seem to better with hydei than mels for some reason. We are actually on our 3rd mel strain now the first too we failed dismally with,but this may well be down to them comming in infested with mites.
cheers mate
Stu
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#15
phelsumaman Wrote:Right, I spoke with my friend today & apparently the consensus is that in a successful culture of ffs all deleterious genes have been bred out, when signs of undesired traits appear they would normally select the best individuals to begin breeding again (while discarding the ones with unwanted traits) after many, many generations all that is left are the fittest, & best adapted ffs to your own individual culturing practices. As my friend breed ffs in a controlled environment he does not have the same challenges as we do.

Under most peoples culturing conditions it is likely that our cultures will be regularly 'contaminated' with new stock. Everyone has random ffs flying about their house, he seems to think that these ffs will lay eggs on top of the culture vent & the emerging maggots will drop through your chosen barrier adding extra genetic variety into the strain you have worked hard to maintain. He is a firm believer that this is why people report that their vestigial winged & wingless cultures seem to "revert" back to a winged state, so not that the strain suddenly develops wings again but more a case of their being new genetic material available & of course the winged ones will be able to fly & so can get around more to mate & spread the genes around more quickly that the wingless ones.

He also said that the genetic variety of most ff strains commonly available is so small that its statistically not significant so mixing of different cultures has no noticeable benefit or downside as you wont be introducing any new genes (except in the case of obviously different strains such as winged > wingless etc).

Hope that clears that one up!

Anyway back to the topic guys, does anyone have details of the nutritional values of a ff? What difference does culture medium have on this, has anyone ever bothered to look at this? I'm still really new to this side of things so all the info you guys can provide would be helpful

Ben
Very very greatful Ben,and i think i understand it all,apart from...what does deletorius genes mean? Fascinating,especially the bit about native ff's genes entering the collony!! i thought that this reversion process was down to interal acting genes.
As to your final question about ff nutritional info,i have a breakdown,in one of my books ,if you have no comeback in a couple of days i'll chuck it up,what i would say is appears that the larvea are of a different value to the ff, but i would rather more knowledgeable folks answer that,there is fairly new... i er think....things happening with regard to ff and there ability to fix such things as vit A in the eyes,but my understanding is not great enough!
GOOD post mate!!
Stu
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#16
Warning basic genetics lesson coming up!

Deleterious genes are traits which normally aren't expressed, for example the wingless trait in the wild is deleterious as its recessive, that means for it to ne expressed the animal needs two copies for the trait to show through. Think albinos & het albinos, a het only has one copy & looks normal but an actual albino has two copies & shows the trait.

In the example of the wingless ff cultures being contaminated with wild flys, when the wild ffs get in they introduce the dominant gene back into the population; as its dominant this slowly breeds out the recessive gene (dominant genes need only one copy to express, recessive ones need two copies to show through).

I'm well aware I haven't explained this very well, Google genetics & punnett squares for a better (& visual) example

Ref vitamin A I'm seeing my mum on Sunday, she's a nutritionalist so may be able to help
Ben
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#17
phelsumaman Wrote:Warning basic genetics lesson coming up!

Deleterious genes are traits which normally aren't expressed, for example the wingless trait in the wild is deleterious as its recessive, that means for it to ne expressed the animal needs two copies for the trait to show through. Think albinos & het albinos, a het only has one copy & looks normal but an actual albino has two copies & shows the trait.

In the example of the wingless ff cultures being contaminated with wild flys, when the wild ffs get in they introduce the dominant gene back into the population; as its dominant this slowly breeds out the recessive gene (dominant genes need only one copy to express, recessive ones need two copies to show through).

I'm well aware I haven't explained this very well, Google genetics & punnett squares for a better (& visual) example

Ref vitamin A I'm seeing my mum on Sunday, she's a nutritionalist so may be able to help
Ben
Ha made me smile with the warning Ben!! I do have some form of understanding of basic genetics,punnet squares,recessive dominant etc,so i have understood,( A level biology eons ago) your explantation is fine...never heard deletorius before,the english language Ben i struggle with on a huge scale,always will.
thanks again for the enlightenment.
Stu
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#18
No joy on the vit a feont, she's on it & I will report back as soon as I have more info.

is really like to hear what other keepers do with reference to nutrition & balancing their feeders?
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#19
In addition to FF, I culture and seed heavy:

2-3 kinds of Isopods
springtails

I feed bean beetles to every frog except froglets or tiny thumbs

and I dust EVERYTHING....Every single feeding and alternate multiple calcs and vits - keeping them fresh / under 1 year, preferably 6 months.

here's a good thread also:

feeder-insects-nutrition-how-to-feed-your-frogs-f22/supplement-questions-t4997.html
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#20
I dust everything with a good quality multi vit & calcium supplement but I much prefer the natural way. If I can get 'real vitamins' into my feeders all the better, I'm a cynic by nature & always trust real, nutritious food over shop brought potions. Maybe its just my upbringing but I KNOW that good chelated vitamins cost way more than what we pay for "quality" herp multi vits, my parents would both be driving top of the range ferarris if.they spent what we spend on multi vits.

I usually buy single vits in powder form & mix my own multi, I'm lucky enough to be able to do this at wholesale price despite only buying very small quantities & I always know the production date & only make up a batch weekly to prevent oxidation or other degradation of core ingredients. Yes its obsessive but it gives me good results
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