Thinking about the desire for purity of locales.

fluxlizard

New Member
I was thinking about the strong desire to maintain locale purity as I looked at a recent pic of an ambanja.

Most ambanjas I see posted nowadays look *nothing* like the wild caught ambanjas I purchased in the 90s. And I do mean there is a huge difference. That combined with just the general look of many on the market (huge blotches of red in the coloration that just didn't exist in all the WC animals I ever saw) makes me wonder if most CB ambanjas nowadays aren't already crossed out with other locales.

If that isn't the case it makes me wonder if they are even collected in the same locale as the ones I saw in the 90s.

And if that isn't the case, it makes me wonder if people are selectively breeding the most extremely colored individuals in a locale.

Which I'm sure they mostly are.

I remember when the big extreme were the sky blue nosy be panthers. Most nosy bes weren't like them, but every once in a while one would come in that would be a nearly patternless beautiful bright sky blue. I had one myself. Most were banded and green and darker blue.

Which brings me to my thought of the day-

Is it not kind of weird to be on the one hand concerned about keeping locales pure and on the other hand selecting the most "odd" individuals within that local for captive breeding efforts? Wouldn't it be a little more "pure" to breed individuals with more "normal" coloration for the locale?

By odd I mean extreme- like these ambanjas with all the red in them, even if they aren't crosses (which IMHO is more likely than the possibility that they are exceptional- though I readily admit I could be wrong and they could be rare extreme examples in the locale).

Just food for thought. I really am a fence sitter on the purity thing anyway. I would hate to see locale specific panthers disappear from the market, at the same time I myself would pick the most brilliant and unnatural males for breeding anyway- color is for me most of the point of panthers, and as long as everyone involved knows crosses are crosses I see no problem with those either. On the other hand, like I said, I would hate to see the "normal" ones disappear from the market altogether. I like the natural look too. But at the same time I know I would be unable to resist selecting the brightest most colorful as breeders myself. And I know it would be human nature for people to mostly buy their lizards from parents with exceptional coloration rather than the norm found in 99% of the population of a given locale.

I really don't buy the "conservation" idea- panthers from US bred populations will never be suitable for reintroduction, even if panthers were ever to need it (most commonly available morphs won't- they thrive in human disturbed habitat. I don't know about some of the less common morphs though).

I don't buy the "let's keep everyone honest by only breeding pure locales" argument either. So far, fresh blood has to come in regularly from wild populations and it will be pure. Also, if one is worried about purity, in theory anyway, one could be choosey about who one purchased from.

I guess on the other hand- I haven't seen a "normal" ambanja out there in a while in pics of parents on the net. I would have a real hard time believing most are "pure" any longer, even from the ones I have seen on more popular breeders sites (though I have to admit I really haven't looked too long and carefully). So maybe my point about being choosey is a little wrong thinking anyway...

Just some stuff I found interesting to think about today. Thought it would be interesting to hear others thoughts on it.

Thoughts anyone?

EDIT_ Sorry I said ambilobe when I first wrote this- I meant ambanja LOL. I went back through and changed them to ambanja, but if I missed an ambilobe hiding in the text anywhere above, I meant ambanja. I must have ambilobes on my mind- the panthers I keep now are ambilobes. LOL
 
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Ace

Avid Member
interesting and very debated topic. But i feel that i understand your postion. you carefully wrote about not being on either extreme of the debated topic "to be pure vs. crosses".

i myself dont have a good grasp of the topic yet, but it does interest me and there are good valid reason i feel on BOTH sides. Also i havent seen the 90's panthers since i was born in the 90's:D
but my guess its "all of the above", from what you stated above, the possible guesses as to how the color change of some locales such as ambanjas has aqquired colors that you in your time of study and obersvation have not seen before.

well thats my thought:p
 
Locals are just where they are collected from so an Ambanja color form could be found outside of Ambanja. Where is the center of this color form located?
It could start in ambanja and run east or west.
A local runs until the color form changes not what town its found in.
It would take alot of research to map each color form.

I find it very interesting how each color form is very different from another.
Why is an Akaramy so different from an Ambanja when they are fairly close to each other?
 

pssh

Avid Member
I feel like the people who pick the WCs to export to the US go for the most 'valuable' ones too. Better/more/unusual colors = more money. In general anyways.

Genetics are weird. My Sambava came from a completely green sire. He was green at rest and green fired up. His bars just changed colors and the intensity of the green changed. I have no idea what the mom had in her genes, but my Sambava fires up completely yellow/orange/red with the occational black bars and blue. The variation is incredible. Some of his brothers are not so hot looking. ;) So suppose I bred him to a few sisters, would the babies still be red/orange/yellow? Who knows. Maybe I'll buy some eventually and see what happens.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I agree. I think it's all fairly hypocritical. People don't breed enough the more natural forms of the locales unless they breed a lot of WC animals. I'm a huge fan of wilder looking Nosy Bes, with the green, red, or yellow. But every time people don't breed those in favor of the "True blues" the image of normal or "pure" goes out the window. Doing this but chastising the crosses (done responsibly. Obviously the people who lie to make a buck deverve to lose their reputation) seems hypcritical to me.

Personally, I think MANY of people's pet panthers or breeder panthers are not the locale they claim to be. Hell, I'm certain one of mine is not what he's supposed to be (excluding the faly-banja, who was sold as a cross), but many of the people who have his brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc. probably think they have and are breeding an awesome looking X when in fact their aren't. Crosses aren't bad, not in and of themselves obviously, it's the people (who through malintent or ignorance) keep ruining it for everyone.
 

fluxlizard

New Member
I feel like the people who pick the WCs to export to the US go for the most 'valuable' ones too. Better/more/unusual colors = more money. In general anyways.
I hadn't thought of that, but this is a really good point. Most of my memories of what is "normal" for ambanjas came from a time before collection numbers were restricted. I think anyway LOL- maybe it was from a time not too many years after the restrictions when ambanjas and nosy bes were mostly what was coming in because everyone was crazy about the blue morphs. I don't remember anymore for sure. At any rate I would bet you are correct- since quotas were started, the hunters are probably more picky about what they collect and go for the more unusual looking animals.
 

Michael Ryan

New Member
But every time people don't breed those in favor of the "True blues" the image of normal or "pure" goes out the window. Doing this but chastising the crosses (done responsibly. Obviously the people who lie to make a buck deverve to lose their reputation) seems hypcritical to me.
I don't think so... There is a difference between cross and selective breeding. They may not look "normal" but they are still pure.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
I feel like the people who pick the WCs to export to the US go for the most 'valuable' ones too. Better/more/unusual colors = more money. In general anyways.

Genetics are weird. My Sambava came from a completely green sire. He was green at rest and green fired up. His bars just changed colors and the intensity of the green changed. I have no idea what the mom had in her genes, but my Sambava fires up completely yellow/orange/red with the occational black bars and blue. The variation is incredible. Some of his brothers are not so hot looking. ;) So suppose I bred him to a few sisters, would the babies still be red/orange/yellow? Who knows. Maybe I'll buy some eventually and see what happens.
Kara I am not assuming your tone but rather asking if you are saying, with all the panthers available, you would select to bred your male to his sister? That is called inbreeding, and it is illegal for us as humans to do that for a reason. Would you mate with your brother, if you have ot had one???
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I don't think so... There is a difference between cross and selective breeding. They may not look "normal" but they are still pure.
They're still Nosy Bes, of course, but they aren't what they really are, not representative of the locale as a whole. It's like... hmm.... like only breeding white tigers, as an example. They're still tigers, of course, and they're still the same endangered species, but if you lose the orange tiger you lose the "trueness" of the species.

You get the idea, I hope lol. To really want to keep everything pure and the way it is in the wild, you have to also breed the wild-type. In my humble opinion, anyway.

(Edit) Michael, I just saw the new pics of Phoenix up on his album, he looks fantastic! I have to update the pics of my guy. It's funny how different they look! We should make a thread of Fierce baby pics :D
 
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pssh

Avid Member
I wouldn't sell anything. It would be a genetics thing. I wouldn't choose to breed him with a sister to sell babies! I probably won't even do it. It's just a thought.

Edit: When wild caughts are bred, the babies could develop colors that are not 'true' to the wild type. Again, I think the collectors pick the 'best' ones. How many green nosy be panthers do you see in captivity? Very few. How many are in the wild? The ratio is probably way different in the wild. (more greens.)
 
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Julirs

New Member
WC young Nosy Be's are often "greenish" and then blue out as they age. I have seen very few that retain the green.
 

fluxlizard

New Member
To really want to keep everything pure and the way it is in the wild, you have to also breed the wild-type. In my humble opinion, anyway.
That is along the lines of my thinking.
I guess another question I have is if the point isn't to keep things looking like the wild type, what is the point of keeping the captives sorted by locale?
What is the point of a "pure" ambanja if his appearance is unrecognisable as such?

Yet everyone tends to migrate towards the extreme individuals (arguably unnatural and un-typical of a given locale) (including me- the term hypocrite was tossed out there, and that has a negative connotation, but I think it's just human nature- everyone gets excited when they see a pic of a brilliantly colored sire when shopping for their next baby panther, and given the choice most of us would probably choose the most extremely colored offspring to breed to our next generation, provided it is otherwise healthy and strong.)

When wild caughts are bred, the babies could develop colors that are not 'true' to the wild type
You know, this is another good point I hadn't thought of until you mentioned it, but I recently read an article on genetics and nutrition and diet. A study was done with some mice. The mice in both groups in the study were not deficient in any nutrient. One group was given extra nutrients from a supplement made of sugar-beats. That extra supplement literally changed some of their DNA (flipped some switches on and/or off- can't remember exactly) The supplemented animals appeared normal but the genes passed on to their offspring produced offspring all with a hair color that was not normally found in their species (dramatic difference- something like beige instead of grey).

I suppose captive diet could have similar and unintended effect over generations of chameleons. Maybe not so dramatic, but still?
 
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fluxlizard

New Member
WC young Nosy Be's are often "greenish" and then blue out as they age. I have seen very few that retain the green.
Whoa- really? I used to see adults all the time that were deep green with nice dark blue bands and red eye-turret stripes. The full body blues were the exceptions at that time and commanded a much higher price and so did their offspring, at least as I remember it.
 

Julirs

New Member
Really? I would prefer the dark green, but most everything I see these days is blue. Here is my Nosy as a very fresh import:

And here he is after a year +:
 

fluxlizard

New Member
yeah- I tried searching for a pic online just now that looked like I remember. The only nosy be I found that looks similar to what I remember has more red in the face and first bands. They definitely shared some resemblance to yours before he matured though- I see hints of familiar color on the cheeks and eyes. Banding and red stripes on eyes were much stronger though. And the banding was deep blue- your younger pic on my monitor looks like his banding is fainter in contrast and darker in color. But to be fair my memory could be a little off- it's been a while (15 years?) and although I was around imported adults at the time and had a couple pair, including the beautiful male I mentioned earlier who almost glowed, I had more experience with ambanjas and tamatave and moroansetra (sp?).

That is a beauty Julirs.

edit- yeah after looking on your other thread- the ones I saw at that time definately had more blue banding that had stronger contrast against the background than your guy. He turned into a beauty though. My solid blue adult had a similar color, but kept his red eye turret stripes.
 
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fluxlizard

New Member
No I'm one of those people you hear about who lost his digital pics when my hard drive failed around the year 2000.
I may somewhere still have a short video or two on actual tape, not digital. I'd have to take hours to dig through old family video tapes though.

Here are links to a few pics that turned up in a search though that look similar-

http://tikitikireptiles.com/images/products/thumbnails/Panther%20Chameleon%2016_300x0.jpg

http://www.screameleons.com/site/3718/default.aspx

http://www.travelmadagascar.org/images/ambanja%20camaleon.jpg

This would have been considered extremely outstanding- in fact I never saw one with this much red in the face, but it looks totally "believable" to me. So even this I never saw back then:

http://www.bluechameleon.org/Mad%20-%20Mauritius%202005-2006%20images/Tony%20w%20Ambanja%20male%20panther%20chameleon.jpg

On second look- most of what I am finding looks believable. For some reason maybe the strange ones are the ones catching my attention and have exaggerated the situation in my mind.

But the ones that are making me wonder if most are crossed (OK I'll step down from most to many after doing an actual search for pics) aren't difficult to find either.

The ones I am talking about that look like crosses have lots and lots of red- down well into the body, many along with lots of yellow or orange. I found one in the gallery and some on some sponsers sites and saw one posted on here the other day, but I don't want to drag anyone into a discussion by pulling their animal into it or point a finger directly at anyone and make an accusation.

Even if they aren't crosses, they are certainly the extreme examples rather than the true "normal" representatives of a particular locale. Which brings me back to the question- if we are attracted to extreme examples rather than "normal", what makes keeping the locales "pure" desirable? In other words- why have a "pure" locale individual when if you were to take that animal to the wild and look at his relatives still living there, he looked quite different?

The point of starting this thread wasn't to point fingers or even to say what is right or wrong. I was just thinking about stuff and trying to better understand where everyone is coming from while at the same time examining my own thoughts in relation to the opinions of others. It isn't a me vs anyone who disagrees with me as much as a way for me to re-examine my own point of view and encourage others to do the same if they feel so inclined.
 
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sageghost

Established Member
Just throwing out a thought.

Perhaps the method of which we identify the various color morphs of panthers is no longer effective?

I would dare say that in the earlier days of exports it was much easier to identify the color morph by the local of which it was collected.

Whereas today, with SO many variations and people selective breeding to create more vibrant and desirable chameleons, perhaps a change in how they are described may be better?

An example, simply because it is closer to home for me would be Nosy Falys.

Initially, the originally imported Nosy Falys (Oorana Mena) were very specific. White background, blue barring and a consistent Crimson speckling over the entire body.

Presently, I have seen Nosy Falys come in that I would not consider as Nosy Falys. Atleast from the perspective that I would call them Falys.

(Just for clarification, Im not talking about the Ambanja's we have seen of late trying to be passed as Falys.)

However, I have no doubt that they were collected from Nosy Faly and would have No reason to oppose that they were. Truthfully, some look fantastic in their own right. However, just not a "Nosy Faly" in my minds eye.

Some of us who are currently working with Falys have resorted back to referring to the color morph we are striving to establish as Nosy Faly "Oorana Mena" in order to not confuse it with any other color variations collected at that location.

Long story short, Ive not run into many instances where "Locale" has been the identifier for color morph. Take Leopard Gecko's or Bearded Dragons, their color morph is identified differently.

Just some thoughts.......
 

pssh

Avid Member
Eh, the east coast locales don't have a whole lot of variation. Mainly just red-orange-yellow when fired up and greenish colors at rest. I mean, there is obviously variation and the smaller minority (as far as what is seen in the hobby today) of oddballs, but to me it's pretty much the same... I guess my Sambava would be an oddball because he has a lot of white on his face/throat, but otherwise he looks typical Sambava. Someone questioned his locality as a maro, but he's CB so...

And ankaramy panthers are pretty much all pink. There are brown-pink, red-pink, light pink, and what not, but it's all pretty darn pink as far as I've seen.
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
I agree that there are a number of sires out there from supposedly reputable breeders that, based on the specimens I saw in the wild and the animals I've seen come in over the years, do not appear to resemble what I think of as "typical" of the locale in question. Some I'm sure are hybrids and I'm sure others are just unusual individuals.

Now, I don't personally think the comparison of hybridizing locales and selective breeding are equivalent as even selective breeding is still a representation of naturally occurring color and patterns, just in their purest state. They may not be a representative of a typical specimen, but they are not as artificial necessarily. Of course, the typical specimen of most locales in my opinion is still more impressive than most hybrids and I appreciate efforts to maintain representative lines. I recall conversations with Bert Langerwerf before he died where he explained that he built his lizard breeding groups of a certain number of individuals and was careful to build his group from representative specimens in most cases in order to maintain their natural look. This is admirable, in my opinion, and obviously seldom performed with the same care.

That said, I do not think most collectors are being selective about the specimens they are catching to export. Exporters do not typically charge based on the coloration of the individual like the retailers here in the US. As far as the collector and exporter are concerned, an Ambanja is an Ambanja and they are going to charge their Ambanja price for it. Now, in the case of the "Oorana Mena" and some of the other new, proprietary locales that have come out over the years, when the original exporter was sending out the first specimens of this locale, they were charging an incredible amount and wanted to make sure their buyer was willing to pay the price. Once the locale was discovered, other exporters started exporting them and the price has decreased, so to has their desire to pick the best of the best and now they will just take what they find, much like most other locales.

As for the prevalence of blue in some locales, I don't know how much of that is selection and how much is the result of captivity. Anyone who has worked with WC panthers knows that the color of their mouths changes with time in captivity, and this is nutritional. Further, many other species (ex. T. quadricornis) tend to become more blue with time for similar reasons. It would not be surprising if certain locales of F. pardalis also exhibited this trend, as has been indicated by progression photos of certain animals.

Chris
 
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