To Hybridize or Not to Hybridize

Over the years there has been a lot of talk and debate about weather or not hybridizing different species of Dwarf Shrimp is a good idea or not. In all public forums that I have contributed to the debate I have always made it clear where I stand. But before we get into that, lets discuss what hybridizing is.

Webster defines Hybridizing as:
To cause to produce hybrids (an offspring of animals of two different species)

When discussing Dwarf Shrimp there is quite a bit of confusion about what shrimp is what species and this is because there are far more species of shrimp than have been described, and the amount of study that is dedicated to Dwarf Shrimp is not that great. The most common Dwarf Shrimp in the hobby have been studied a bit and have been given scientific names (many of which are being debated even with the most popular species). For example, the Amano Shrimp’s scientific name is Caridina multidentata (formerly known as Caridina japonica). The first part of the name is known as the Genus and the entire name is known as the species.

So lets relate the hybridizing definition to Dwarf Shrimp. The offspring of a Neocaridina heteropoda and a Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis would be considered a hybrid. The offspring of a Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Red) and a Yellow Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. yellow) would not be a hybrid. The Red Cherry Shrimp and Yellow Cherry Shrimp are the same species and are just color variants.

Now that we have that kind of cleared up, here are my thoughts on hybridizing Dwarf Shrimp.

Dwarf Shrimp should not be hybridized at this time for many reasons. Here are just a few of them and I will go into each individually in tomorrows post as well as attempt to refute arguments for hybridizing.

Problems with Dwarf Shrimp Hybridizing

  • Possible release into the wild (major problems possible)
  • Slow down of the currently slow scientific research
  • Muddying of the gene pool
  • Loss of purity in the hobby
  • Added confusion for the hobbyist

Arguments for Hybridizing

  • Possibly genetically stronger shrimp
  • Possible better-looking shrimp
  • Greater control over aesthetics