Panther Hybrids


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I'm interested to see what everyones opinion on crossing panthers is. I know alot of private breeders, big and small that disagree with it totally. But I also see places like the Kammers breeding crosses and coming up with some really amazing colors.
I havn't produced any hybrids myself, but I do however have a Red Back Blue Bar Ambilobe/St. Marie cross that, although isn't what I paid for, is still quite an amazing animal. In the past I also purchased a pair of possible Mafana's that turned out to be half Ambilobes once I grew them out. The male from that pair threw some really neon colors as he matured. I wish I had a pic, but my old computer crashed taking all my old pics with it.
I havn't really taken a side yet on this subject as I hear from some people that the gene pool weekens as you cross locals. I'm thinking of doing a hybrid project with my Ambilobe/st. marie and Ambilobe/mafana just to kind of get some experience and see if its actually true. Plus I'm a sucker for colors, and some of the hybrids out there are some of the most colorful animals on the planet. I also dont see why people like the kammers would comprimise their buissness by participating in hybridizing if it was so completely wrong.
Lastly, I'd like to state that most of the time hybridizing really strikes a nerve with me. For example, blood python/ball python crosses. This would never happen in the wild and their natural enviroments are not even anywhere close to each other. And besides that, other than the fact that their pythons, they're really not even that closely related.
But with the case of Panthers, they're all one species. They just come in different colors. And I really find it hard to believe that the locales dont mix, at least to a degree in the wild. There has to be cases where a panther from ambanja will hitch a ride in the back of open air jeep purely on accident and end up in Ambilobe by the end of the day. For example. Look at Chameleon Paradises Woodrow. Amazing animal. All evidence says that that animal is pure ambilobe. But he is from a wild caught female that was imported from Ambilobe. With the amazing amount of blue that Ambilobe has in him, dont you think its possible that a deep blue ambanja, or maybe even a nosy be female hitched a ride on a boat and mades its way to ambilobe? This is purely an example and by no means am I trying to say that Woodrow is not a pure ambilobe. I'm just trying to create an example.
My point is that they're all the same species. They all come in different, but equally amazing colors from locations on the same island. I think its probably possible that they cross in the wild, and if they do, I'm not sure that I can dissagree with hybridizing as a practice in captivity. So long as every hybrid produced is represented as such, so as not to pollute the gene pool of all the pure locale stock.
I hope we can get some good input on this subject from some of the other knowledgable people here. This subject is very interesting to me and I'd like to see where everyone else stands on it.

P.S. The pic is of my Ambilobe/St. Marie Hybrid.

Please feel free to correct me, or disagree with me on any of the points or ideas I put out there on this thread. I'm very open to criticism and other ideas about this subject.
Hi Noah! Nice to see you again :) .

My view on hybrid panther chameleons may differ than many breeders out there. And yes, I know there are a lot of breeders that interbreed locales and are experimenting with coloration. I will give you my opinion on this, and granted, it is solely my opinion that others may not agree with.

I find it absolutely fascinating that panther chameleons in different locations in Madagascar display colors that may be vastly different from each other. Some locales are similar (yet small differences are still there), however, some locales have a total different coloration. For example, look at Ankaramy, Nosy Mitsio, and Nosy Be chameleons. ALL Ankaramy are pink... and only pink. The only difference are the shades of pink (light pink, neon pink, reddish pink, and orange pink). Nosy Mitsio's or the "designer" name Mafana/Soabana's are all yellow, lime greens with sometimes a bit of red. All Nosy Be's are blue or green (depending on what part of the island they are found) and may have a bit of red on their eye turrets and body markings. On the east side of the island, you find Tamatave and Maroansetras that are mostly all reds, maroons, and white.

Why is this? How can the same species have such different colorations depending on where they are located? Scientists are STILL trying to discover more about this and have yet to determine why (as far as I know at the moment). You are absolutely right... There is no way that some panthers haven't been mixed due to a "truck" ride or some local resident capturing one in one area and letting it go in another. And perhaps that is why Ambilobe's have such an array of colorations with every color in the rainbow.

Now here is my opinion on this. Panther chameleons have different colorations due to where they are located in Madagascar, and have been so for thousands of years as they are Old World Chameleons. This variation is a natural wonder of nature in my eyes. I will NEVER interbreed or crossbreed across locales. I feel there is something special about the panther chameleons just for this reason and it is what nature intended. The panther chameleons I breed will always be "pure" from the locale they are from. I lean more to the conservationist side as a breeder. What if all breeders crossbred their locales and morphed into hybrids? What happens to the panther chameleon history of their incredible color variations? It just doesn't feel right to me.

Now other breeders may totally disagree and may crossbreed in order to obtain a vastly different coloration theme, as the snake breeders do. To me, this is because of money. And I don't do my business solely for money (although I need money too and hope my business is productive enough to maintain a living) :) . But my first and foremost priority with my panther chameleons is to keep them as nature intended and preserve the natural wonder that exists of different colorations due to locale. How special is that? To me, it's an amazing feat that nature provided to the Fucifer Pardalis species. And it's up to "man" or "woman" to make sure we can preserve the panther chameleon as nature intended for them. And us humans are the worst enemy for the destruction of nature.

For those readers who are not familiar with the locations of panther chameleons and the differences in color, you can find a brief description on my website at and click on the About Panthers button on the top of the page. Please excuse my dust! I am still working on building the site and have many pages yet to add and I am currently redesigning in order to provide those users with 800x600 resolutions. But there you will find a map and a listing of what each location represents in color.

I hope other breeders of hybrids are not offended in any way... we all have choices and views and these are solely my views on the subject of morphing or crossbreeding locales of panther chameleons.
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Thanks for the opinion Jenna. I must say that it looks very well thought out.
The problem I'm having with decided whether to agree with it, or disagree with it is this.
How do we know nature didn't intend for there to be a few unique crosses in the wild? Whether they get there by truck, boat, villager, or a freak of nature wind storm that blows them across the island if it happens in the wild, then wouldn't that be what nature intended?
By no means am I arguing that breeders should all just hybridize everything, because your right. That would totally destroy what the panther chameleon is all about. But I'm starting to lean towards the camp that says playing around with hybrids to see what kind of cool colors you can get in a select few animals might be fun. And as long as its done the right way, and all hybrids are represented fully so as not to pollute the pure gene pool I dont think it can hurt anything.
As for the money issue. I agree that morphs and inbreeding in some snakes is done purely based out of a desire to create something that the breeders can sell for completely ridiculous prices. But when it comes to panthers....I think its safe to say that hybrids dont command near the price tag that a pure animal does. I think the people that do it, do it just because they enjoy seeing what kind of unique colors they can come up with on one animal.
I know with the project I'm planning, I'm doing it because I seem to have gotten myself stuck with two hybrids that i've grown a bit attatched too. I think the male I have is very unique in the panther world and i really havn't seen anything like him. I dont want to use any of my other pure animals to produce cross locales, so I'm figureing, why not try it and see what happens? If I got any offspring out of them I wouldn't charge but half what I charge for my pure animals. I just think it would be interesting to see what comes out of it.

Thanks again for your opinion. I've been wrestling with this subject for at least 2 years now, and I still havn't made up my mind completely yet.
Hi all,

I am not a breeder of panther chameleons, but this topic has interested me for a while. I am in complete agreement with Jenna. Although I have nothing but respect for the Kammers, I would not purchase a panther chameleon from them. Considering the current state of the world environment, it seems irresponsible to cross locales. We are in the world's 6th great extinction, and this time, it looks to be completely human caused. There may come a time when these fantastic animals don't exist on the island of Madagascar, and it may be sooner than anyone imagines.

It seems to me that breeders should try to preserve the animals as they are, in all of their natural wonder. In addition, the borders on Madagascar will probably close at some point, and then the population of animals in breeder's care will be it. No more infusions of blood and genetics from the wild, no more pure locales to strengthen hybrid lines. That is why projects like the CCBTD (Captive Chameleon Bloodline Tracking Database) are so important. It is my belief that keeping a chameleon is not just a nice hobby. It is a commitment and a promise to preserve this amazing creature.

Eventually, I will purchase a female Sambava from a reputible dealer that I know doesn't create hybrids and attempt to create another generation of Sambavas. It is not about the money I can make. It is about passing on the offspring to other keepers who will use them to expand and strengthen the genetic diversity of the Sambava coloration.

By the way, I forgot to mention he is a pretty panther you posted. Well, like I said earlier, other breeders have other views and do experiment with coloration. And I stand corrected about money being the issue with panthers (as it stands now in it's early stages of hybrid panthers). The hybrids I have seen for sale are usually lower in price.

I think it's all semantics about what nature intends with a panther getting into a different locale. I mean... man is certainly most likely the cause of a panther chameleon going from one locale to the next lol. A storm of some type? Well, that is nature. *Grin* ;) .

By all means play with your panthers and experiment if you wish. It is purely a choice a breeder makes. And I have to admit, the excitement of seeing what would turn out between two different locales makes it tempting. I'm just a bleeding heart breeder that wants to make sure that panthers stay as they have for thousands of years in coloration and locale. And because of that, that is the way I will run my business. It is just a choice.

Another reason, which you have been victim of, is thinking you are buying one thing and getting another. That is another danger of hybrids. I have heard many stories of people wanting a particular locale, only to find out it isn't what they expected at all. As long as breeders are responsible and advertise their panthers correctly and explain their projects, I see no problem with it. The choice is purely yours :) . And I know there are differing opinions on this. To me, it's a personal choice and we are all entitled to them.

Hope to see you at a show again soon. My business is almost ready to start attending.
On the subject of the possiblity that a cham will catch a ride to another part of the island...

These animals developed without the use of motorized vehicles. With the exception of the last 100 years or so, which is a blink of an eye in the history of the world, that wasn't possible. The islanders have healthy superstitions about chameleons in general, so I seriously doubt that they packed them around either.

In reading up on them, the Nosy Mitsio developed their unique coloration on an island off the coast of Madagascar. The chances of them meeting up with a stray Ambilobe seems pretty minimal, although the two locales are fairly close in location. The St. Marie and Ambilobe cross seem even more unlikely, considering that the St. Marie also developed on an island off the coast, and is far removed from the Ambilobe locale.

Regardless, my point is this. You can produce these animals, and I have very little doubt they will be beautiful. If they all went to pet homes where the owner had no intention or desire to breed them, then all would be well. But, out of the 30 or so young ones this breeding would create, how many do you think would be eventually bred? And, where would those offspring go? How many more morphs will be created, weakening captive pure bloodlines?

Thanks for the input Heika. So far i'm very impressed with the pureist argument both you and jenna have put up. It makes alot of sense, I'm not denying any of that.
I want to make perfectly clear that all of the pure animals in my collection will be used for nothing but pure locale breeding projects. Its in everyones best interest to keep as large of a variety of bloodlines from every pure locale that we have the pleasure of working with here in the states.
I guess my question is more about the already existing hybrids. Or the imported females that turn out to not be exactly what they were expected to be and produce hybrids. What about these animals? Obviously we aren't just going to throw them away because they're hybrids. What do we do with them? Do we keep them from breeding and phase out all hybrids? The database is a great resource and it would be even better if everyone had all their animals on there. I think its a work in progress and it can only get better. But why cant there be hybrid bloodlines on the database?

I guess what I'm trying to do justify seperating the hybrid lines from the pure lines. That way the pure lines stay pure, and the hybrid lines keep creating new and exciting animals. Maybe they could even be used to further excite new chameleon enthusiests to the hobby somehow. The only problem I see with it is the unethical people in the world that would try to sell certain hybrids that may look similar to some locales, as a pure locales. But as long as the hybrid breeders represent their animals to a T, then there should be no problem.
Please excuse me if I seem like I'm leaning towards the "hybridizing is ok" side. I'm really just trying to play a deviles advocate in this subject to get as many opinions as I can. That way I'll better be able to make a decision on what I think is right and wrong.

Is there anyone out there with an argument from the other side of the fence?

You raised another very important point that I failed to add in my first post. Madagascar is going through high stages of deforestation (although more regulated now) due to growth of population which has started to displace some various species (not just panthers). And some species have become totally extinct because of this as well. Through time, the originality of locations of some species will most likely cause hybrids or extinction due to man displacing them as they tear down forests to build, make room for agricultural needs, etc.

You are right. It is up to us to help maintain and conserve the incredible individual lines of plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and animals that Madagascar is the only place in the world who has these types of creatures. And this, is something I purely wish to do with the beautiful panther chameleon. Madagascar and the number of genre, species, and sub-species it has, that is solely found in Madagascar is a wonder in itself. I would hate to see the miracle of this be gone.

And I hope to do my part by keeping my panther chameleons pure in their locales.

Thanks for pointing that important point out Heika. It's true.
i missed your last post. You make good points. I agree that hybridizing in the wild between certain locales is highly unlikely. Especially between animals from places like St. marie and Ambilobe. But with the locales that are closer to each other, who's to say it doesn't happen all the time. Look at Sambava's and Andapa. They're very close to each other and both are inland towns. I'm not exactly sure if there is any kind of Mountains or natural walls creating a blockade between the two towns, but the fact that these two locales look extremely similar is undeniable. I think there is more of a difference between difference within the Ambilobes than there is between sambavas and Andapas. Do these locales hybridize? and if so would anyone even know if they had a hybrid? Some Ambanjas nearer to Ankify have a much more yellow in them with some deep blue baring. Could it be possible that the red bar Ambilobes hybridized with these ambanjas and thats how we got Blue Bars?? And what about Diego Suarez. Alot of this locale looks just like Sambava's as well. Granted alot of diego's are probably misrepresented when you see them for sale. And diego Suarez is closer to Ambilobe than it is to Sambava. Who knows, maybe Diego's mixed with Ambanja's somwhere in between the two towns and thats how the whole ambilobe locale came into existance. Another example would be Tamatave and maroansetra. These towns are quite far apart, but the animals are very similar in both of these towns. There are disctict differences, but with the variations of each one of these locales, who's going to know if they really have a hybrid or a pure locale?
Is the answer even if it is a hybrid, as long as its exported from that specific town does it make it a pure locale? i dont know. Maybe that should be the answer.
Man the more I think about this the more it makes my head hurt. Keep those opinions coming and maybe I'll get this thing to a point that I can finally make a decision one way or the other.
LOL.... you are cute Noah. I can't respond now as I have many panthers to take of at the moment... but, maybe I can make your head spin a bit more later... till my next post, use a neck brace :p
I've emailed a couple of the bigger breeders, including the ones who's names i've used in this thread ,so as not to be speaking behind their backs, to ask them their opinions. Jim Flaherty at the Chameleon Company just got back to me and had this to say.

"I have no ethical dog in the hunt about crossing-locales of panther chameleons. I have done it many times, deliberately and otherwise. I will tell you that the consensus among experienced breeders who have multi-generational breeding experience in pardalis is that the gene pool weakens significantly in the F-2 generation and beyond in locale hybrids. But if someone wants to breed them, and/or someone wants to buy them, its their money."

I figured he's a big name, and he's got alot of experience, so his opinion also might be valued here.
I personally look at this from an evolutionary standpoint. Speciation and evolution are fundamentally a change of gene frequencies over time that eventually lead to two significantly different gene compositions that they no longer qualify as the same species. This type of locality divergence is an early stage of speciation in my opinion as there is a clear change in gene frequencies occurring.

While some of these locales are close to other locales, looking at the potential for hybridization with anthropogenic effects (cars, boats, etc.) are completely irrelevant to the discussion of locale purity and the decision to maintain pure bloodlines, etc. (its simply another example of how good we are at f-ing with nature). While the occasional storm could send a Nosy Be F. pardalis over to Ambanja or similar, this is a very small gene exchange in the big picture that has little effect on the gene frequencies of the locale as a whole.

Studies on the locale color variations and distributions on the island have shown a clear divergence radiating from the Northern most locale of Diego Suarez with locales further south on either coast being further evolutionary radiations from this locale pattern. In other words, as you go south along either coast, the locales become more and more removed in their genetic frequencies and since this is occurring on both coasts, locales further south on the west coast are significantly more removed from southern locales on the east coast then a more northern locale.

Considering the genetics, I feel it should be a priority to maintain purity in captive F. pardalis regarding their locales. The reason the CCBTD discourages hydrids is because these animals are in effect junk for their genetics and a large part of the point of the CCBTD is to maintain the ability of breeders to selectively breed for the natural state of these animals. We would encourage anyone with hybrids to register their animals as well in an attempt to track their blood and prevent polluting pure blood but we discourage increased hybridization.

With regard to getting WC females that throw hybrid clutches or getting a female of X locale and then having it produce babies that look like something else, it is very common for exporters to substitute a female from a locale that they have more of to a locale they don't have as many of but have an order for. Similarly, mixing of locales in their facilities can occur and cause hybrid clutches on imported females. It's always important to raise up a female's first captive clutch to determine locale before you claim it as anything in particular.

I personally think intentional hybridization is a waste of resources and effort when you consider how many more chameleons people kill in captivity every year then are produced. I see it as a degradation of the captive gene pool and while it is up to every individual breeder to make a decision for themselves on, considering trends toward decreasing import/export numbers, etc., I think it is counter productive toward a self sustaining captive market which should be a serious breeder's goal of supporting.

Thanks chris. It seems everyone keeps making very solid points for the pure locale argument.
I'm in agreeance that breeders should keep there pure locale stock pure. I do think it would be counter productive to take pure stock and use it to creat hybrids. Not so much in the case of males, but definately in the case of pure proven females I cant see it being anything but detrimental.
My problem is simply this. What do I do with the young hybrids just coming into breeding age that I have right now? There will always be hybrids. Even if all breeders tried to stop creating them, you would still have the problem of the misrepresented wild caught female. According to the breeder i bought my hybrids from, this is what happened to him.
So I'm down to this. Everyone has made great points as to why we shouldn't continue hybridizing. I agree with all of them. But instead of just wasting all the hybrids that continue to hatch every year, why dont we try to have a little fun with them? Is there anything wrong with breeding hybrid to hybrid? This is my question. Once I figure this one out, I'll be golden.

I couldn't have said it better, and it pleases me to know that others feel as I do about preserving the panther chameleons gene pool. I feel as strongly about this as you do. You raise an excellent point about wc females and whether or not they were bred to a male in same locale. For instance, I have one wc female that was just imported, but pretty far along in her gravid state. The chances are higher that she was gravid when selected for importation. On the other hand, I also have a wc female who eggs are barely noticeable upon inspection, yet gravid. In this situation, I would suspect she became gravid during the importation to the USA. And like you said, who knows if she became gravid by a male of the same locale.

With my business, I am trying to get mostly all wc's in order to know exactly what I am getting in order to maintain and preserve the variation in coloration among the locales. And then with them, provide panther chameleon lovers with pure captive bred panther chameleons. This way I KNOW what I have and what I am providing and at the same time perserving the locale variations among panther chameleons. Some breeders I have, I am actually not going to breed for the fact that some of the information I have about them are sketchy. And if you read my posts earlier, you can see where I stand on hybrids. One of the things I have done in my business is to provide complete family histories with all my chameleon sales (a family tree of sorts) so the buyer knows exactly what line, breeder, sire and dam, brother, sisters, etc., they came from. I do this in order to inform my customers of the bloodline in order to prevent interbreeding among locales.

I am very pleased to hear about this database and I will be more than happy to participate. It goes along the same lines as I was thinking when I designed my family history trees for my panthers.

My hope is to keep nature as nature intended and provide panther chameleon lovers with captive bred panthers from the original locales as it has been for thousands of years.
As Jim stated in his email, its fairly well established that hybridization causes a certain degree of weakening in the progeny. Different breeders have noted varying levels but the trend seems to be there. Often, these offspring seem to be reproductively inferior to pure locales. I don't have a real problem with crossing hybrids, I just don't like the idea of intentionally hybridizing animals of known locale.

Before I came upon these hybrids I never put much thought into hybridizing my animals because I never had any intention of using my animals to produce hybrids. It has only been just recently that I've been giving it alot of thought.
I think my conclusion would have to be that although I dont agree with using pure locales to produce hybrids, much like you chris, I dont think I can see a problem with breeding hybrids to hybrids.
On another note, just for the record. I dont think I've ever seen a hybrid that I like more than a pure locale animal. Maybe its a head thing, who knows. All I know is theres nothing better than seeing a perfect Sambava or Ambilobe in all of the pure blooded splendor. I guess I have a wierd battle going on in my head between the perfectionist in me and the guy who feels bad for all the poor left out hybrid "genetic trash" of the world.

Either way, i can safely say that if I do ever produce hybrids, they will be from hybrid x hybrid pairings.

P.S. chris, I think I've put off getting my animals on your database for long enough. I'll be trying to get my projects loaded up on your site soon.
I own a hybrid. My red panther was sold to me as a Nosy Be! Ironically the breeder had two clutches of offspring. One lot were described as hybrids and the other lot were supposed to be 100% Nosy Be. I told the breeder I wanted a pure locale so took one on the understanding it was a pure Nosy Be! The breeder told me that he liked hybrids as it was the only way he could be totally certain the pair of breeding panthers wouldn't be related. Anyway I took this tiny baby fawn coloured panther home with me and as he grew people pointed out to me he couldn't possibly be a Nosy Be because of his colouration.
It doesn't matter as I just wanted a pet and will never breed him. I believe that same breeder just sells pure locales these days. To this day I don't know what my panther is crossed between but it has been suggested my panther is half Nosy Be and half Tamatave. (He is pictured in my avatar).
BTW I agree panther locales should be kept pure.
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This is a great thread! I have enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts so far. I really enjoy reading and discussing topics on evolution. This is really what attracts me to chameleons the most. They are so unique and have evolved so differently than most other animals on our little globe.

As Jenna mentioned above, I am also fascinated by the fact that there are such distinct differences among the panthers within such a small geographical area. I am not an expert on evolution and I do not know the geography of Madagascar as well as I could, but it just seems like there is some kind of hidden barrier. Is it at all possible that the colors themselves help maintain the distinct regional colors? Possibly some kind of relation, however small, to a female being receptive to certain color patterns? This might naturally discourage cross breeding of different locales, but not disallow it.

I purchased a cross last year(87.5% Ambanja / 12.5% Nose Be), and have done a lot of thinking on the subject since. I come up with three questions whenever discussing this with friends:
  1. Is it ethically right to cross breed different locales?
  2. Will this action hurt the pure bloodlines we find in nature today?
  3. Can this be stopped if it is determined to be the wrong path?
You can't really answer question one without answering question two. Question three in my opinion is irrelevant. This leads to the real question: Will the action of breeding and selling cross-locale panthers hurt the pure bloodlines we see in nature today?

My conclusion: I am still thinking. I am not sure, and probably will not be able to make a final decision until I learn more about evolution, chameleons, and Madagascar. However, I usually take a conservative approach when the outcome could have severe results. For this reason, I do not see myself shopping for a hybrid in the near future - especially for breeding purposes.

I also want to add a little plug for the Kammers. I do not think anyone should overlook them when shopping for their next panther or other cham species. They do breed and sell hybrids on a small scale, but their main focus is on pure locales. They do a very good job at this and maintain many different lines from many different locales. I believe their contributions to chameleons are respectable and I would 100% trust the chameleon they send me is what I ordered. Check out their comments on hybrids: panther morph crosses. I have also been looking at their captive bred Fischers for some time now.
Just figured I'd update everyone a little bit on my hybrid thoughts.....
Both my male supposed Ambilobe/St. Marie cross (Mizraim) and my female Ambilobe/Mafana cross (Jack) were in my thoughts alot when I started this thread. My conclusion to my origional problem is that my goal is to produce fully represented pure locale stock. But on the side I've decided that the breeding of already hybrid animals to each other.....really cant hurt anything. And please, if someone thinks it can, share your thoughts and maybe I'll have to re-evaluate.
So jack started showing receptive colors last month. So....I threw Mizraim in for a breeding session. They bred 4 times in 3 days....and on the 4th day she started showing gravid colors. She laid 11 suspiciously long eggs on the 22nd of last month and last week when I checked, each one of them had molded up. Sounds to me like someone is infirtile. Mizraim....Jack....who knows. Is it because of being hybrids?? Who knows.... Either way, I have no other hybrids, and no plans on buying any, so other than maybe another try with jack in a couple looks like Mizraim is gonna be a lonely guy.
Disapointing....because I was looking forward to seeing what that combination would turn out like. I guess we'll never know. But this experience sure does make me wonder if all that stuff i've heard about hybrids being infirtile is true. Nothing speaks louder than experience.
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