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Stunted growth or 'Runty' Fruit fly production
There has been some recent discussion on culturing very small size fruit flies and how they are utilized for the dart frog hobby.

Fruit Flies continue to be the staple of the dart frog hobby. They are not only the easiest of all food items to culture and maintain, but they are the best food item to accept and have superfine powders adhere to them - which is essential in keeping all Dart Frogs alive and healthy.

If you think you can replace fruit flies with anything else - springtails, isopods or god forbid, crickets or 'crix', you are destined to fail and your frogs will die. It's just that simple.

TINY froglets, R. reticulata and O. pumilio 'escudo' quickly come to mind, produce some of the smallest froglets in the hobby. They are so small, that they often have a hard time accepting commonly cultured fruit flies - too large. A lot of people attempt to provide them solely with springtails and other microfauna, most of which is never dusted. This often results in the mortality described above. Again, it is essential IMO, to get them on small melanogaster fruit flies as soon as possible.

How to culture tiny, 'runty' or stunted fruit flies?

It's pretty easy. Separate one or two cultures of fruit flies from the rest of your cultures. Mark or designate them as such, and locate them on the other side of the room or in a different part of your house or frog room as they are going to be more prone to develop mites. You basically want to keep these cultures at least 4-5 weeks PAST the normal 4 week discard stage. You can continue to use flies from these runty cultures for the normal 4 weeks or so, in fact you must use the flies or the culture will crash and die just like any other. The KEY here is to 'overbreed' the flies - to allow them to go to so many more generations past what they would normally, and to keep them way past the discard date, that they will have so much less 'reproductive efficiency' and start to become smaller. Stunted growth. 'Runty'

Keep them separate and take care when handling and using them, as they are always much more prone to mite infestations. Speaking of mites, this is actually a GOOD thing here for a change. Tiny froglets will also eat the mites.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Use stunted flies to get dusted supplements to your frogs. If they eat mostly springtails and no dusted flies...your frogs will probably die.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

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