As a company, we view frogs as pets, and define frog variety by color morph. Ask any scientist about the possibility of re-introducing captive dart frogs into the wild, and they will tell you that is something the scientific community will never endorse.  Once a frog enters captivity as a pet, it and all of its future progeny will forevermore be regarded as pets by science, at least with regard to re-introduction into the wild.  Removing any animal from the wild is simply a one way street, unless of course the issue is one of rehabilitation, etc.  While some view the captive breeding of these frogs to be an extension of the preservation of wild species, this notion is simply not the reality. With legal importations of dart frogs becoming less and less common due to habitat preservation, the captive population of these frogs will continue to increasingly rely on captive breeding to sustain itself.  We therefore view the captive breeding of these frogs not as a means to try and preserve a wild species, but as a means to ensure the continued health and survival of these frogs in captivity, hopefully indefinitely, as the coolest and some of the most beautiful pets in the world.  

Many people in this industry define (or claim to define) frog variety by locale, and advocate for captive breeding to only take place within recognized locales.  We see two major problems with this approach.  The first is simply the complete lack of detailed locality data available for the vast majority of frogs comprising the captive population worldwide, and the second is the long-term effect of breeding frogs within these supposed locales, assuming the data is available. 

While locality data certainly exists to a more complete extent among a relatively small number of die-hard hobbyists, nearly all of the frogs in captivity are bred, bought, and sold simply under a few recognized trade names with zero scientific or official significance whatsoever.  Specific locality data correlating a wild population of frogs to the captive frogs in question is extremely rare. Furthermore, even assuming locality data was available for a significant portion of the captive frog population, breeding frogs exclusively within these locales is called "in-breeding" and would over time compromise (or continue to compromise) the health and quality of the animals themselves. 

Inbreeding is a well established principle with respect to animal genetics.  Animals that become inbred show a universal decline in overall health and vitality, from fertility rates to longevity to disease resistance.  This then puts into question the ethics of the breeder in not putting frog health and quality first.  There is also a genetic principle known as "Heterosis", "hybrid vigor", or "outbreeding enhancement", which refers to improved or increased function of any biological quality in an offspring. In some cases when animals of two different varieties or strains, but the same species, are bred together the result is an animal that exhibits an increase in overall health and is said to be "heterotic", in many of the same aspects as inbred animals show a decrease in health. Please note, the term "hybrid" itself is often the subject of a contextual debate. Simply stated, hybrid frogs do not reproduce. Thus, heterosis and hybridism are unrelated in the official context of those terms as they relate to these frogs provided the parents are the same species. For clarity, "heterosis" is an increase in health and thus mating capability as well, while a hybrid frog does not reproduce at all.

Each and every frog we produce and sell is expected to breed and reproduce at some time during their life cycle, as desired by the pet owner. While results may vary as the saying goes, the ability of our frogs to reproduce is part of our quality standard and the foundation of our Guaranteed Mates and Frog Buy-Back Programs.)

We breed for top quality color morphs, always stay within the scientifically recognized species, and avoid the perpetuation of inbreeding in cases where the hardiness of a certain variety of frogs has suffered due to being inbred over time by other breeders. We honor and recognize the common hobby line varieties by offering the offspring from only the best-of-the-best lines and "same-same" (100% same species-same variety) line combinations we determined to be so with actual offspring comparisons. The result of this approach, after being carried out on literally tens of thousands of frogs, is that it not only produces animals that look fantastic and sell better, but are also hardier and better equipped for survival, both as individuals within their own lifespan, and on into the future in the form of the many offspring they produce. 

We believe that if more breeders in this industry took this approach (and we are already seeing a shift in that direction), the results would transform both the growth of the industry, and the future prosperity of the captive dart frog population as a whole.

USA Frog, Inc.
Dillon Wascher, President