The fact that Crested Geckos come in such a wide range of colors and patterns, known as Morphs, contributes significantly to their popularity as pet reptiles. These Morphs can be complicated because there is no scientific way to determine a crested Gecko’s unique morph; two different looking parents could produce an animal that looks nothing like either of them.
The genetics of most other pet reptiles, such as Leopard Geckos and Bearded Dragons, are fairly well understood, but the genetics of Crested Geckos are not well documented, making the different morphs difficult to accurately identify.
Before we get into the various morphs available, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terminology you’ll encounter when you read about and shop for crested geckos. Bear in mind that reptile genetics (and genetics in general) is a very complex field of science, so these are very simplistic concepts.
|Recessive Traits||These are traits that come from a recessive gene. In order for recessive traits to be expressed in offspring, they must be passed on from both parents.|
|Dominant Traits||Dominant traits show up even when only one parent has the dominant gene.|
|Co-Dominant Traits||This describes an instance where an offspring displays expressions of two different but equally dominant traits|
|Phenotype||In reptiles this can be features such as scale shape and color, patterning, eye shape, and more.|
|Homozygous||Homozygous carry two copies of the same trait, one from each parent.|
|Heterozygous||Heterozygous varieties carry one copy of a normal or wild trait, and one copy of a recessive or designer trait.|
Crested Gecko Morph
That being said, there are some morphs and colors that collectors and breeders collectively agree on.
The Solid Crested Gecko lacks all patterns, spots, and stripes. They can be any color, shape, or size, but there must be no color variation, not even highlights. Olive, chocolate, dark black, red, and yellow are the most common colors, with all shades in between.
Bi-color Crested Geckos are patternless as well, but they have a dual-tone coloring; a slightly darker, but sometimes lighter, color on the top of their head and back. They may also have a slight variation in the shade of their base color along their dorsal, as well as very light patterning.
Tiger Crested Geckos are among the most popular varieties, so named because of their distinctive “tiger stripe” patterning. Their dorsal has darker bands of color that run down the sides of their bodies and can be almost any color variation. Brindles are extremely patterned Tigers with even more stripes of varying intensity.
Flame Crested Geckos usually have a darker base color with a cream back and head. The flame part of their name refers to the small stripes of creamy coloring that run up their sides and resemble a flame pattern. These geckos can be almost any color, and Flame Crested Geckos have Tiger patterning as well.
Harlequin Crested Geckos are highly patterned or concentrated Flame Crested Geckos with more prominent cream on both the back and sides. Their base color, which is usually red or near-black, is offset by cream or yellow Harlequin patterning. Harlequins have patterning in their limbs, which is uncommon in Flame Geckos.
Extreme Harlequins, as the name implies, have extreme cream or yellow patterning throughout their bodies, typically 60 percent or more, and are highly sought after by collectors. The most desirable versions have a near-black base coat with cream patterning, creating a striking and beautiful contrast.
Pinstripe Crested Geckos are some of the most sought-after pattern varieties, defined by a combination of two or more of the traits listed above. They have two rows of raised scales running down their backs, which are usually cream in color and form a pinstripe pattern. The rest of their body may have Flame or Harlequin patterning, or, less frequently, tiger stripes or a solid color.
Reverse pin stripes are non-structural stripes visible when the gecko is fired up. A dark stripe will be visible along the very top of the lateral area, but just beneath the dorsal or pin stripe scales
Phantom Pinstripes, which are far less common than the classic Pinstripe Gecko, have a darker stripe of color running underneath and around the scales, as opposed to the raised coloring of the classic Pinstripe. They have a lighter base color with darker pinstriping and are not as contrast as some other morphs.
A Quadstripe Gecko has classic pinstripes running down their backs as well as their sides, giving them a truly unique appearance. The lateral stripes frequently cause the side scales to be raised, which is uncommon in other morphs.
Their bodies are defined by contrasting spots of varying intensity. Some variations are sparsely spotted, with small and few spots, whereas others are so spotted that the base color is barely visible. Dalmatians with few, smaller spots are fairly common, but large dark spots are highly sought after and thus expensive.
Domestication of White Spotted Geckos began when breeders noticed white spots or “portholes” on the Gecko’s chest, belly, legs, and nose. These spots are typically tiny and are caused by incomplete pigmentation during the incubation period, but larger and larger white spots have recently been observed in specimens.
The Lavender Gecko has grown in popularity in recent years, and the variation is unique in that they do not change their base color, as most crested Geckos do. They have a pale grey base color that resembles lavender, and it is said that it does not change even when they are activated.
Want more from Us? Click here to go to Our Instagram Page?