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Thread: Blue Tegus inbreeding

  1. #1

    Default Blue Tegus inbreeding

    Hello all, so I recently read a thread called "Blue Tegu Research", this post was from 2011 (or 2007 can't remember).
    I am making this post to know if anyone has any up to date information. It talked about health problems concerning blue Tegus and how they are albino. Is this true that blue Tegus are albino? Many people also were talking about how they are severely inbred due to the small number first imported to America, and how they will not be breeding them.
    This is dissapointing as I was looking for a blue Tegu as a first time owner.

    Does anyone have any information concerning blue Tegu being albino and having health issues due to inbreeding?

    Thanks
    .

  2. #2
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    I'm sorry that I can't help you when it comes to the albino part. No, blue Tegus are not albinos. I have seen a albino red Tegu before. So far I haven't seen any breeders that I know who breed blue Tegus have any problems with their clutches. They also made sure that they get their males and females from different stocks so the inbreeding doesn't happen ( or at least not as much ). I hope our member tupinambis will post a reply on here. He knows a lot about this stuff. Please let me know if you need any info on some blue Tegu breeders.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by txrepgirl View Post
    I'm sorry that I can't help you when it comes to the albino part. No, blue Tegus are not albinos. I have seen a albino red Tegu before. So far I haven't seen any breeders that I know who breed blue Tegus have any problems with their clutches. They also made sure that they get their males and females from different stocks so the inbreeding doesn't happen ( or at least not as much ). I hope our member tupinambis will post a reply on here. He knows a lot about this stuff. Please let me know if you need any info on some blue Tegu breeders.
    I hope he replies too! Replies on this websites have been pretty slow, but nevertheless, I got one reply!

  4. #4
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    I'm sorry it's been so slow on our forum. I'm going to pm him with this link and hope he will reply then. Thank you for your patience.
    Rich is not how much you have, or where you are going, or what you are.Rich is who you have beside you.

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  5. #5

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    I have read the post you are speaking of and it is for the most part not correct. The negative affects of inbreeding are exaggerated unless your animals have genetic health problems. There are albino blue tegus that can have vision problems but all my research showed that it is most likely due to bright cage lights as ones kept outdoors may still have some vision problems but not as bad as ones with over bright cage lights.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by txrepgirl View Post
    I'm sorry it's been so slow on our forum. I'm going to pm him with this link and hope he will reply then. Thank you for your patience.
    Patience is an important thing, I am willing to wait and be given proper information than take advice from someone inexperienced.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Zukowski View Post
    I have read the post you are speaking of and it is for the most part not correct. The negative affects of inbreeding are exaggerated unless your animals have genetic health problems. There are albino blue tegus that can have vision problems but all my research showed that it is most likely due to bright cage lights as ones kept outdoors may still have some vision problems but not as bad as ones with over bright cage lights.
    Yes, I felt the same way of it being exaggerated. The whole thread turned into a flame war! The person who made the post pretty much didn't even get any correct information.

  8. #8
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    Blue tegus are not all albinos. Blue tegus breeders have produced quite a few albinos. There is more than one gene involved that can result in producing albinos, and in order for albinos to be produced, the parents must have the same recessive gene (if one has a different recessive gene than the other, this will not result in albino offspring): therefore, yes, for the amount of albinos being produced, it does indeed indicate A)the gene pool in "purebred" blue tegus is quite restricted, and B)this is likely due to inbreeding (I am NOT saying inbreeding will create albinos, I'm saying inbreeding promotes the expression of recessive alleles). Indeed, the negative effects of inbreeding are often exaggerated very much, however it is still something to keep in mind (look at some of the issues now being brought to the forefront in snake breeding, particularly ball pythons). Albinism doesn't necessarily produce ill health, however, the lack of pigmentation makes the albino extremely susceptible to photo-induced damage. The number one thing we see in albinos is damaged eyes - the albinism doesn't damage the eye, the lack of pigmentation means the eye cannot protect itself from more intense light. What level can an albino tegu endure without damaging the eyes? No one knows (that I'm aware of). However, animal care guidelines have demonstrated that in the most typical animal research models, greater than 300 lux (I believe, although it might be lumens) for standard photoperiods will result in irreversible damage to the eyes. 300 lux is pretty dim, most regular household lighting far exceeds it. Outdoor light MOST DEFINITELY exceeds it. This isn't an issue of natural vs. artificial light, or UVB content, this is about plain old standard light intensity, and the sun definitely is brighter than most artificial lighting. Now, some people made some claims about blues having substandard health: I cannot vouch for this, nor will I. The one person I knew of that seemed to most vigorously claim this has turned out to be an immense liar and prone to fabricating totally nonsensical "info". While yes, I do make the claim that at one time blues were inbred, I'll also say A)inbreeding is a very standard practice in research animals for a reason: it maintains the particular genetic traits one wishes to work with. If the population was healthy and robust in the first place, this isn't likely to be an issue for quite some time - the key things here are the caveats I've stipulated. Blue tegus? Who really knows, other than the issue with albinoism occurrence, there's not a lot to go by; and B)although I haven't put up much of the debate on this forum, there's also the argument of what exactly is a blue in the first place - stick with me and hear me out on this - I'm not talking about the geographic origins in this instance, I'm talking about the prevalence for hobbyists to create names out of nothing and jump to call anything different they see as "a blue", "a hybrid", "an extreme", "a completely new morph" when I know for a fact that no one has seen the total variation possible within the species. They'll say this is a blue because it has features A, B, C and F, or this one has B, C, D, E, but because this other one doesn't have D and F, it isn't a blue, although someone produced an offspring from 2 completely recognizable blues and the offspring doesn't A, B, D, E, or F, but it's still a blue because of parentage....basically, I'm saying no one really knows except when it is favourable to them or against someone else - and because of this, that blues are NOT really an established lineage (ie. people aren't using pedigree to back claims except when they wish to) and there has likely been introductions of "less blue" lineage to broaden the gene pool in the last decade. Now, if anyone feels I'm not representing facts or being truthful, I welcome the challenge.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tupinambis View Post
    there's also the argument of what exactly is a blue in the first place - stick with me and hear me out on this - I'm not talking about the geographic origins in this instance, I'm talking about the prevalence for hobbyists to create names out of nothing and jump to call anything different they see as "a blue", "a hybrid", "an extreme", "a completely new morph" when I know for a fact that no one has seen the total variation possible within the species.
    Does this possibly mean by if I was to purchase a blue tegu, I would be getting ripped off? As in, if a blue is not a different species?

    Edit: Also, blues seem to have specific traits in the species ( if they are a different species). Such as the black tips of the nose, larger than Colombians but do not have green heads as babies. Could blues even been some weird type of columbian? I have also heard they tend to be more easily tamed like argentines. But, of course, this varies from animal to animal.

  10. #10
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    I can see nothing I have brought up since 2003 when this debate started has even registered with some people...not trying to be insulting, but these are points going way, way, way, way back. Some history on the blue tegu and the insubstantial claim of them being a new species:

    The ENTIRE concept of the blue tegu and them being a new species or subspecies arises from Ron and Stella St. Pierre. They put in an order from Colombia (an aside: ColUmbia are places in North America, ColOmbia is in South America - this doesn't mean Columbia is how it is spelled in North America and Colombia is how it is spelled by people in South America, it means when you write Columbia, you are talking about a completely different place) for some Colombian tegus, they got a shipment (I believe the numbers were something like 6 and 6, but at this point it is a moot point) of half Colombian tegus, half something else. They could tell they had something different, so they jumped to the idea that they had a new subspecies, or perhaps even a new species. In an online debate with Stella herself (2003, I believe), on kingsnake.com, I directly asked Stella how they went about determining it was a new species, did they compare it with the meristics scientists have given for differentiating the recognized species at the time. Her answer was simple: they had no idea what those meristics were or even how the blues compared on them, they just knew. In other words, no, they didn't know, they were jumping to conclusions without ANY basis other than they had two different tegus on their hands. That's it. Nothing more. The position of them being a new species or subspecies is based on ignorance, not information. I have since asked quite a number of people who vigorously argued for blues being a new species to compare the meristics, they say they have, they say they are different, but they have NEVER been able to qualify or quantify how - I'm sorry, if I've gone to the effort to do scale counts and other measures, found a distinct difference, as I scientist I would be stipulating those differences and demonstrating a definitive point, saying "they're just different and you have to take my word for it" is bs.
    At the time of that debate, I had the absolutely fabulous fortune to not only be doing research with tegus down in Brasil, but to be working with a number of the scientists who have described several of the new tegu species (ie. people far more knowledgeable on the matter than the average hobbyist), and so I showed them all the pictures I could of "blue tegus" and asked them their opinion: without further evidence (and even with what was/is known of them otherwise) they all said "a variant of Tupinambis merianae" (what is now recognized under the name Salvator merianae).
    Now, there is ZERO validity whatsoever to the claim that "blues" would be a subspecies of Tupinambis teguixin, the Colombian tegu, they are clearly substantially different that to foster the claim only shows one has no idea what they are talking about: and yet this is the default argument the St.Pierre's took, that if they didn't have a new species then it was clearly a new subspecies, underlining the fact that these two had no idea what they were talking about other than they knew they had something different.
    Now, all this being said and done, I'm NOT claiming that in no way is the "blue" not a new species. Anyone with any real familiarity in the species will realize that it clearly falls under what is recognized as Salvator merianae. However, I fully acknowledge that S.meriana is an extremely diverse species, that it is entirely likely that it could actually be comprised of several as yet undifferentiated species (meaning not that anyone hasn't seen them, just that no one has looked stringently enough to foster an intelligent argument for the basis of differentiating it into several species). Until such work is undertaken, it is a fantasy to claim otherwise. As a side note, the layman's notion of a species is so out of date, the concept of arguing about species is almost pointless at this time, but that's another argument.
    On the subject of "blues" having specific traits: the black tipped noses is not unique to "blues", neither is it unique to Salvator merianae, it is a feature seen in populations of ALL Salvator species (albeit quite rarely in S.rufescens); size -Salvator merianae is a widely dispersed species, almost through all of South America and I believe even into Central America by some accounts, and as an animal with such a widespread distribution appears to adhere to an ecogeological principle called Bergmann's rule, wherein with widely distributed closely related taxons, you see a size phenomenon wherein populations closer to the poles tend to be comprised of individuals of larger size than is seen in populations closer to the equator (ie. at the equator they're small, as you move towards the poles the individuals get larger in size); green heads - this is the only compelling argument I've heard on a physical trait of the "blues" lending credence to the claim of a different species EXCEPT that the late Bert Langerwerf had photos online (I don't know if they're still up at all) demonstrating other S.merianae babies had extremely muted green heads - it is possible that the green heads of babies is a transient feature similar to size that changes with different populations, at this stage I think it is unfortunately an area no one, including myself, has any real data to say one way or another, other than Bert's photos demonstrating it is not such a clear cut issue (and no, these tegus of Bert's were clearly not what anyone would call a blue or hybrids).
    Other features that I've seen argued for calling "blues" a new species are....sorry....infantile. Taming? Diet fed in captivity? Utter nonsense. It's like claiming you don't have a Chevy but instead have a Ford because the vehicle is red. Talk to people with real experience with a lot of blues, they'll tell you they are not really any different from other Salvator sp. in taming, some tame easily, others don't tame at all. I've even seen some people claim they are worse than the average S.merianae.

    I don't know how to really respond to your question of if you'd be getting ripped off. If you're only buying a tegu because you want to believe that you have a different species or that because of a dubious claim that you've got something rare....I think you need to re-evaluate why you're getting a tegu. Blues can be quite striking and beautiful, and in the hobby people clearly pay more for animals that are striking and beautiful, so whether you want to believe in the new species story or not, you can expect to pay more in first place. Beyond that, it's all semantics.
    Last edited by tupinambis; 07-29-2014 at 10:13 PM.

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