Saturday, June 18, 2022

"Black Tiger" Hissers are NOT "Tigers"

Well, the "Black Tiger" hissers I got from Ty Dye Exotics, who got theirs directly from Roachcrossing have finally started maturing... And yeah these are definitely NOT real "Tigers"... Or at the very least are a cross between Tiger hissers and portentosa. The pronotum structure of the adult males have all matched G.portentosa or "portentosa" mutts, and completely lack the anterior notch that true "Tigers" and all other P.vanwaerebeki strains have.

Here are some pictures of the pronotums of the two spp. to demonstrate what I mean:

Large male "Tiger" hisser. Noticeable anterior notch in the pronotum.
Medium/Small "Tiger" male. Still a noticeable anterior pronotum notch.

Minor male "Tiger". Much more shallow anterior notch on this one, but you can still see it.
Now take this medium male "Black Tiger"... No anterior pronotum notch whatsoever.

Clearly an obvious difference between the two. If these "Black Tigers" were truly a black morph of the pure "Tiger" stock, they'd have the anterior pronotum notch. Since they don't, they're definitely not pure "Tigers", and therefore should NOT be referred to as "Black Tigers" at all, the only morph name should be "Black" or "Black Hybrid". 

As for what species they really are, I'm not 100% sure. Technically they could just be pure, black G.portentosa, however considering we have no way to lineage trace these back to their origins, and the isolator is relatively unknown in the hobby, it's far safer to conclude that they're a hybrid, probably some "portentosa" mutt. Perhaps they are portentosa crossed with "Tigers" that reverted to portentosa morphology, which would explain the "Black Tiger" name a bit more.

When it comes to labeling them from here on out, rather than call them Gromphadorhina grandidieri "Black Tiger" (which is already an erroneous identification for the true "Tiger" stock) or Princisia vanwaerebeki "Black Tiger" (which they're not, since they're not *pure* "Tigers"), they should be called Gromphadorhini sp. "Black" or "Black Hybrid". Gromphadorhini because they're probably a hybrid, and could potentially be a hybrid between Gromphadorhina and Princisia. If/when those genera are synonymized then we can just call them Gromphadorhina sp. "Black/Hybrid", but for now Gromphadorhini would be the most accurate IMO.

Anyways, here are some pictures of one of my adult pairs:

Adult male

Adult female 

Don't get me wrong, these are very pretty hissers, line bred for beautiful and consistent coloration, but they are almost certainly hybrids, and should be labeled as such. They should NOT be labeled as "Black Tigers" anymore, and since this stock seems to be the oldest, most widespread "Black Tiger" strain on the market, the findings of this post should be applicable to ALL "Black Tigers" in the hobby... 
So, TLDR; Ditch the "Tiger" in "Black Tiger" people, otherwise the name literally makes NO SENSE. And don't be selling them under species names either, they're almost certainly hybrids, Gromphadorhini is as far as you can legitimately go when using latin names for this stock!

Thank you all for reading, hope everyone found this informative, stay safe, stay buggy, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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