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Riverside Reptiles
07-19-2013, 01:50 PM
As this can be a touchy subject, please remember to keep discussion on an adult and constructive level. Respect each others opinions even if you don't happen to agree...

Morphs: Have we gone too far? - (http://reptileapartment.ca/2013/04/19/morphs-have-we-gone-too-far/)

Marauderhex
07-22-2013, 11:19 AM
To a degree, I think we have gone a bit too far. There are things like Enigma leopard geckos and spider ball pythons being bred simply for aesthetic value, with no thought given to the neurological (among other) conditions of the animals. When people are so concerned with the paint job that what's under the hood no longer matters, that's when I have a problem with it. I'm the first to admit that I think certain morphs look awesome (blue headed green tokay comes to mind), but there has to be a balance of figuring out the genetics so that you can create morphs that don't have a negative impact on the animals well being. Certain genes will cause the expression of others, it's a fact. So why not run a genetic analysis on the species to figure out where the problematic genes are in relation to the color/pattern/etc genes and try to avoid the problematic genes.

acpart
07-22-2013, 11:10 PM
Interesting article with some good suggestions for where to be cautious. I can see how breeding for a trait that could ultimately be harmful to the gecko, or extensive inbreeding to fix a trait can be a big problem. However, I take issue with the assumption that breeding for specific morphs is necessarily going down that road. A responsible breeder, in my opinion, outcrosses judiciously, is willing to pass on a particular pairing or line development if there's evidence of undesirable traits showing up, and is constantly weighing the most interesting and the healthiest outcome in making decisions about what to breed.
There is another interesting article about wild type vs. designer morphs that we published recently in Gecko Time. You can find it here: ?Natural? vs. ?Man-made?: Facts and Myths about Morphs in the Leopard Gecko | Gecko Time (http://www.geckotime.com/leopard-gecko-morph-myths/)

Aliza

Conched
07-28-2013, 07:48 AM
To ask have we gone to far is sort of open ended and subjective. I would be willing to up the ante and say that based on the selective breeding that has been done with Leopard geckos they have been outright domesticated. Yep, I said it domesticated.

So to ask the question, have we gone too far, I guess that depends. If you feel the animals have been domesticated than you have not gone to far, you are already there.

Domestication is the end result.

Leopard Geckos meet all of the criteria for domesticated animals. I suspect that 20 - 30 years from now you will see Leopard geckos with some new traits such as the following:

1. Larger overall sizes.
2. new color morphs and patterns
3. Animals that eat processed foods such as pellets, no longer necessitating the use of a varied diet or supplements.
4. Animals that start to spend more time out during daytime hours.

I think that the surface has only been scratched.

Riverside Reptiles
07-29-2013, 11:11 PM
For me, the leopard gecko is the pinnacle of having gone too far. It's almost impossible at this point to find a true, wild type leopard gecko that has a true family history of having ZERO morphed genetics in it. I am one of the few breeders that still works to keep true, unmolested leopard geckos in the hobby. And, if by "domesticated" you mean an animal that is far weaker, has far more health and feeding issues, and shows none of the traits of the animal that it truly is...then I guess we've achieved that. But I don't think it's a positive thing. That's just my opinion though. I think it's sad that people have lost sight of the beauty of the natural state and the natural behaviors of the species.

As for tokays, hopefully we aren't walking down the same road. But I fear that we are. Every day I see more and more people talking about "taming" their tokay. And I see more people jumping in to try and breed the morphs simply to try to cash in. It makes my stomach churn. At this point we're able to get plenty of wild caught animals to keep fresh bloodlines going. But if imports were to dry up like they did with leos, it wouldn't be all that long before tokays might suffer the same fate.

Conched
08-03-2013, 09:04 AM
For me, the leopard gecko is the pinnacle of having gone too far. It's almost impossible at this point to find a true, wild type leopard gecko that has a true family history of having ZERO morphed genetics in it. I am one of the few breeders that still works to keep true, unmolested leopard geckos in the hobby. And, if by "domesticated" you mean an animal that is far weaker, has far more health and feeding issues, and shows none of the traits of the animal that it truly is...then I guess we've achieved that. But I don't think it's a positive thing. That's just my opinion though. I think it's sad that people have lost sight of the beauty of the natural state and the natural behaviors of the species.

As for tokays, hopefully we aren't walking down the same road. But I fear that we are. Every day I see more and more people talking about "taming" their tokay. And I see more people jumping in to try and breed the morphs simply to try to cash in. It makes my stomach churn. At this point we're able to get plenty of wild caught animals to keep fresh bloodlines going. But if imports were to dry up like they did with leos, it wouldn't be all that long before tokays might suffer the same fate.

Domestication does not just result in animals that are weaker and have more health issues. You sound like you are referring to animals that have been domesticated and raised for food, ie. chickens and turkeys.

Take a look at the domestication of some other species such as horses, dogs and cows. How about a thoroughbred like Secretariat. That would be domestication at it's finest. I don't think you would find anybody calling Secretariat a weakling and yet the horse still exhibits all of the characteristics of it's wild counterparts.

Another advantage to domestication is that it does take pressure off of the wild populations.

Selective breeding is the answer.

Riverside Reptiles
08-05-2013, 12:14 PM
No, what I'm referring to is leopard geckos. They have not been domesticated, they have simply been severally over bred which has weakend the species greatly. I work with true wild type leos that have not been line bred and have zero morphed genetics in them at all and they are a completely different animal than all what is generally available on todays market. I've been around since before there were leopard gecko morphs, so I've seen the awful progression they've made over the years. Inbreeding does not equal domestication. Inbreeding equates to poor genetics.


Domestication does not just result in animals that are weaker and have more health issues. You sound like you are referring to animals that have been domesticated and raised for food, ie. chickens and turkeys.

Take a look at the domestication of some other species such as horses, dogs and cows. How about a thoroughbred like Secretariat. That would be domestication at it's finest. I don't think you would find anybody calling Secretariat a weakling and yet the horse still exhibits all of the characteristics of it's wild counterparts.

Another advantage to domestication is that it does take pressure off of the wild populations.

Selective breeding is the answer.

Conched
08-05-2013, 08:06 PM
No, what I'm referring to is leopard geckos. They have not been domesticated, they have simply been severally over bred which has weakend the species greatly. I work with true wild type leos that have not been line bred and have zero morphed genetics in them at all and they are a completely different animal than all what is generally available on todays market. I've been around since before there were leopard gecko morphs, so I've seen the awful progression they've made over the years. Inbreeding does not equal domestication. Inbreeding equates to poor genetics.

O.K., I am interested to hear your observations.

What is so different about the wild morphs you breed vs other line bred types ? Are they larger, stronger ? Do they produce more eggs are the offspring larger ?

Curious, what do you have against selective breeding ? Do you not beleive in the merits of selective breeding ?

As an aside, i do beleive that leopard geckos meet the criteria for domestication.

While I am sure some breeders do produce certain heavily inbred specimens , I have seen plenty of animals from breeders that seem perfectly healthy.

RuselBro
08-30-2013, 06:56 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there some Scientific proof that most all Morph Leo's that are here today came from breeding Leo's with their different sub specie's or other Eu. specie's. I remember reading that some DNA and Gene test's were done on today's Leo's that proved that. So if that is the case, today's morph's are Hybrid's, not true Leo's, and these Hybrid's have some pretty dirty blood with multiple Eu. sub/species in them. So if that is the case, than there is a BIG difference between Morph Leo's and Wild Type Leo's.

Conched
08-30-2013, 07:27 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there some Scientific proof that most all Morph Leo's that are here today came from breeding Leo's with their different sub specie's or other Eu. specie's. I remember reading that some DNA and Gene test's were done on today's Leo's that proved that. So if that is the case, today's morph's are Hybrid's, not true Leo's, and these Hybrid's have some pretty dirty blood with multiple Eu. sub/species in them. So if that is the case, than there is a BIG difference between Morph Leo's and Wild Type Leo's.

Agreed, but they are still Leopard geckos. I believe this would further support selective breeding which in turn leads to a large commercial market. Classic example of domestication.

In fact when you look at all the designer colors morphs as well as all of the products directly marketed for leopard Geckos I am not sure how one could argue against domestication. Domestication does not necessarily equate to dogs and cats, it is any large scale commercially bred animal that fills a niche in a particular market, food, pet, science use etc..

However, I believe the thread was intended to reflect upon wether we have gone to far. The reality is the hobby has come too far to turn back.

RuselBro
08-30-2013, 01:07 PM
Well I have to ask how do you still consider it a Leo, if it indeed a hybrid with at least 2 or 3 Sub/specie's in it's blood?
And if it is a proven Hybrid marketing as a True Leo, would be bad stuff if you knew it was Hybrid and other's didn't.

I would say a lot in the Herp industry has gone too far, but with morph's..I feel once all import's stop coming in, all we are going to have are morph's for certain herp's, some of these morph's will have defect's like the Spider Wobble,ect, and you wont be able to find a Wild Type Blood line, and you kind of loose the true nature of the herp after so much selective breeding is done. I mean you may get a Het that look's like a Wild Type, but that Het is still going to have bad gene's. Can you tell me 3 people that breed Normal ball python's? And I do not breeding a Normal with a pastel and getting half normal's and half pastel's. Like thinking about it, it's hard to find certain herp's that are Breed for Wild Type blood, when there is sooo many morph's for that certain herp, but unless people really care, they just follow the money, or follow it because it's "cool".

Conched
09-01-2013, 06:33 AM
Well I have to ask how do you still consider it a Leo, if it indeed a hybrid with at least 2 or 3 Sub/specie's in it's blood?
And if it is a proven Hybrid marketing as a True Leo, would be bad stuff if you knew it was Hybrid and other's didn't.

I would say a lot in the Herp industry has gone too far, but with morph's..I feel once all import's stop coming in, all we are going to have are morph's for certain herp's, some of these morph's will have defect's like the Spider Wobble,ect, and you wont be able to find a Wild Type Blood line, and you kind of loose the true nature of the herp after so much selective breeding is done. I mean you may get a Het that look's like a Wild Type, but that Het is still going to have bad gene's. Can you tell me 3 people that breed Normal ball python's? And I do not breeding a Normal with a pastel and getting half normal's and half pastel's. Like thinking about it, it's hard to find certain herp's that are Breed for Wild Type blood, when there is sooo many morph's for that certain herp, but unless people really care, they just follow the money, or follow it because it's "cool".

Even though they are hybridized they are still leopard geckos.

Poor breeding practices along with too much inbreeding is detrimental to any species. Not all breeders produce poor quality animals.

There needs to be a distinction between the hybrids that are mass marketed today vs geckos that are "pure bloodlines" so to speak.It is easy to rant about it because you think it's immoral and don't agree, or you can promote healthy breeding practices.

These animals will continue to be capitalized upon until the next big thing, although at current pace I am not sure what that would be.Last several reptile expos I have been too were dominated by leo and ball breeders. Not like the old days where you could find hundreds or different species.

I am trying to keep a neutral opinion here and view the situation for what it is. The current state of affairs with leopard geckos is exactly the same as dogs. Puppy mills, poorly run breeding facilities and breeds that have congenital defects that have become common with a particular breed.

The issue is much larger than just "have we gone too far". The answer would be clear that yes the hobby has been taken to an extreme. It takes little effort to say that leos have been exploited or take a stance that the morphs have gone too far. That's just picking the low fruit.

The harsh reality is there is no turning back. The question is what can you do about it or if you feel so strongly about it, what are you going to do about it ? Pretending that the morphs don't exist and not acknowledging them as leopard geckos or a domesticated species is pure denial.

It is easy to go online and "rant" because you don't like what you see. I am not playing devils advocate, just calling a spade a spade.

Riverside Reptiles
09-01-2013, 10:39 AM
But just because it has happened doesn't make it right or ok. You would be hard pressed to find truly pure leopard geckos in the US (meaning non inbred, non hybrid, no morphed genes, het for nothing). Besides myself, I know of only a handful of people that bother to work with them. I don't pretend that morphs didn't happen, I find it sickening that this species has been mucked up so badly that it beyond repair. I do what I can to continue working with true wild type leos, but bloodlines are so limited that this year I'm actually having a group sent over from Europe. "Domestication" has not brought about nearly as many positive thing for leos as it has negative. To make the claim that it is somehow a good thing, to me, is the real denial. I'm not completely against morphs, but I am against the careless mixing of species (and subspecies), the careless inbreeding, and the careless loss of a beautiful species to the hobby. I've been in this hobby 30 years or so now and am saddened by the fact that todays keepers are more interested in who can make the prettiest colors the fastest and make the most money,than they are with working with truly rare or unique animals.

RuselBro
09-06-2013, 05:03 AM
OHHHHHH!!! I completely forgot about the Famous "Kool-Aid" Leo "morph" Which is pretty much a Leo dipped in Red kool-Aid to tint the entire Leo Red, That is just insane!

Conched
09-07-2013, 07:32 AM
OHHHHHH!!! I completely forgot about the Famous "Kool-Aid" Leo "morph" Which is pretty much a Leo dipped in Red kool-Aid to tint the entire Leo Red, That is just insane!

I have seen these for sale in Shanghai. They put them in plastic keychain bags filled with nutrient enriched air that keeps them alive for months !!!