The Taiwan Bee strains, as many of you will know, come with a high price tag. It is only recently that this price dropped to as low as £40 per King Kong shrimp on the continent, and this is now considered phenomenally cheap. However, many hobbyists decide to take the cheaper option… Taiwan Bee hybrids.
Taiwan Bee hybrids are Red Bee, Gold Bee or (more commonly) Black Bee shrimp that have the allele(s) for Taiwan Bee mutations locked up in their genetics. As these alleles are recessive to the normal Bee alleles, they are not shown in the expressed phenotype in these heterozygous individuals, except very rarely and subtly Gold Bees (shown as a blue hue on the carapace).
Taiwan Bee hybrids are not a new concept, but it is important to be cautious if you should decide to invest in these rather than the pure strains. With the homozygous pure strains you are not only paying for the shrimp, but also the assurance that this shrimp does indeed have the alleles for Taiwan Bee mutations in its genotype. However, when paying for Taiwan Bee hybrids, you have no assurance that the shrimp have the Taiwan Bee allele(s) in their genotype as it is accepted that it will not show in heterozygous individuals. The obvious implication of this is that any Bee shrimp could be sold as a Taiwan Bee hybrid, regardless of whether this is the case or not.
Photograph by C. Lukhaup.