Professional Herpetoculture for the Pet Trade

Leopard Gecko Trade Names

Leopard Geckos, as we know them in the pet trade, are genetic mutts! I don't mean to sound harsh here, but it helps a lot to realize this. Most of the Leopard Geckos available today can be traced back to large numbers of wild-caught specimens imported in the late 1970s. At that time, little scientific information was available about these geckos and most hobbyists had no idea there were several closely related species and subspecies among the imports. The result: many forms were bred together and today we have a genetic mess on our hands. That's the downside, the upside is that we have a lot of genetic variability present as a result!

Leopard Geckos In The wild:

The Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) as taxonomists currently recognize it, consists of five subspecies found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Western India (Rajasthan, Ajmer, Madar foothills), Iraq and Iran. They are:

  • Eublepharis macularius fasciolatus GÜNTHER 1864
  • Eublepharis macularius afghanicus BÖRNER 1976
  • Eublepharis macularius macularius BLYTH 1854
  • Eublepharis macularius montanus BÖRNER 1976
  • Eublepharis macularius smithi BÖRNER 1981

Additionally, four closely related species are currently recognized. At least one of these was formerly included in the E. macularius complex and has undoubtedly contributed it's unique genetic make-up to the mix currently kept in captivity as well. They are:

  • Eublepharis angramainyu ANDERSON & LEVITON 1966
  • Eublepharis fuscus BÖRNER 1981
  • Eublepharis hardwickii GRAY 1827
  • Eublepharis turcmenicus DAREVSKY 1977

What does all this mean? Well, it means that today's pet Leopard Geckos are subject to an enormous amount of natural variation. In addition, several true genetic traits have been uncovered. These, combined with the natural variation, have led to the 'naming' of innumerable morphs. Many are nothing more than natural variation, and will not breed true when crossed to others with differing appearances. Others are a bit more complex and breed true, but with variation.

Naturally Occurring Variation

Having a wide natural range, the Leopard Gecko exhibits a lot of variation in the wild. Some types are more or less 'standardized' in appearance, with breeders attempting to further refine and purify these strains. Often these distinctive types are used to alter the effects of other mutations resulting in some rather distinctive lines of Leopard Geckos.

Note that these naturally occurring variations are not single trait mutations, but rather a polygenic appearance derived from innumerable small alleles all having a minor impact on the overall appearance of the gecko. Thus, specimens cannot be heterozygous for these traits. It can be best be compared to raising champion race horses, breeding the best specimens together will generally result in the best appearing offspring - but none could ever be listed as heterozygous for "Secretariat" or "Sea Biscuit"

Some commonly used names for these variations include:

Normal

What exactly is 'normal' for a Leopard Gecko? Well, as discussed above, there is an enormous amount of 'normal' variation! But in today's marketplace, the name is used to designate a typical, average, everyday, Leopard gecko. The specimen illustrated here could be considered a normal Leopard Gecko. Some specimens may have fewer, larger spots.

High Yellow

This was the first of the so-called 'designer' morphs of Leopard Gecko. It is nothing more than a normal Leopard Gecko that has been selected for reduced black spotting and lots of yellow pigment. High Yellow specimens can be found frequently in almost any breeding of Leopard Geckos. They are representative of one extreme of the naturally occurring variation found in captive populations. Specimens cannot be het for High Yellow.

Pastel

Pastels are another representative of one extreme of the naturally occurring variation found in captive populations. Lacking any true black pigments, the black is replaced with pale tan, and most are of extremely pale coloration. Some also have lavender bands, especially when young. Specimens cannot be het for Pastel.

Jungle

An aberrant pattern of broken stripes, usually extending onto the tail. Some will form full-length stripes, and many breeders sell these as 'Striped'. Not all Jungles breed true, as this trait appears dependent upon several mutated alleles. These must be present to produce a Jungle, but specimens with mutated alleles may also appear normal - or combinations of normal and jungle patterns. When breeding jungles, you may get a variety of patterns - selection plays almost as big a role here as genetics and caution should be exercised with regard to specimens sold as heterozygous, as the results obtained from breeding them will not follow expected Mendelian rules of inheritance.

Single Genetic Trait Leopard Geckos

To fully understand the genetic makeup of any given type, it is important to understand that there are currently seven loci known to harbor mutated alleles in Leopard Geckos. Additional alleles/loci will most certainly be identified as time goes by and research is performed on suspected new mutations. All of the Leopard Geckos presented in this section are affected by a single mutated allele.

Patternless (Pa) Locus

  • Pa+Pa+ = Wild-type
  • Pa+pap = Wild-type, heterozygous for Patternless
  • pappap = Patternless

Patternless

This was the first true simple recessive genetic mutation to be produced. After over twenty years of breeding Leopard geckos in captivity, imagine the surprise of finally getting a true mutation! Why did it take so long? Well, Leopard Geckos have small territories and probably do not travel far in search of mates in the wild. So they seem to have a natural resistance to inbreeding.

Originally marketed as 'Leucistic' and sometimes still labeled as such by some breeders. Today the name Murphy Patternless is gaining usage to help in distinguishing them from other lines of patternless appearing geckos entering the marketplace.

Tremper Albino (Ta) Locus

  • Ta+Ta+ = Wild-type
  • Ta+tat = Wild-type, heterozygous for Tremper Albino
  • tattat = Tremper Albino

Tremper Albino

The second simple recessive mutation to occur was a beautiful form of albinism. Popularized and brought to market by Ron Tremper, this line is now referred to as the 'Tremper' Albino, to differentiate it from the other types of albinos that have since popped up in the market place. It was the first of the albinos to be produced. Note that the different types (Tremper, Las Vegas, and Bell) have been given different names for a reason - each mutated allele resides at a distinct locus. Thus, they are NOT genetically compatible when bred together. Maintain each line of albino separate and keep good records, or a genetic mess may result!

Some keepers believe the three types of albinos can be separated visually based on overall appearance. This is not accurate! There is much variation in overall appearance of these albinos, based on the underlying naturally occurring variations present in all populations. As a result, a near complete overlap in appearances is present within large samples of albinos, rendering accurate visual separation of the types impossible.

As mentioned above, the overall appearance of any given albino specimen can be affected by a number of factors. Many breeders are carefully selecting for specimens with a given appearance and crossing their albino specimens to selectively bred color variations to create a host of new 'morphs'. New names for such specimens are created almost daily by breeders in an effort to gain a foothold in the marketplace. Most of these name appear and then quickly vanish, but several seem to persist, based on acceptance by the public and common usage.

Las Vegas Albino (Lv) Locus

  • Lv+Lv+ = Wild-type
  • Lv+lvl = Wild-type, heterozygous for Las Vegas Albino
  • lvllvl = Las Vegas Albino

Las Vegas Albino

The second strain of Albino, not genetically compatible with the Tremper or Bell lines. Many folks believe these to be superior to the Tremper line as they tend to remain lighter in color. This is the result of an aggressive marketing campaign by the originator of the strain! Both types are absolutely lovely and when selected for appearance based on the naturally occurring variations which shine through the albinism, the results can be stunning with any of the albino types. Sometimes referred to as the 'Rainwater' Albino, after the originator of the strain.

Bell Albino (Ba) Locus

  • Ba+Ba+ = Wild-type
  • Ba+bab = Wild-type, heterozygous for Bell Albino
  • babbab = Bell Albino

Bell Albino

The third strain of Albino, also proven to be non-compatible with other known strains. Mark Bell, a very respected breeder in the industry, was fortunate to have yet another form of albinism pop up in his collection. Like the other types, it has been proven a simple recessive trait.

Blizzard (Bz) Locus

  • Bz+Bz+ = Wild-type
  • Bz+bzb = Wild-type, heterozygous for Blizzard
  • bzbbzb = Blizzard

Blizzard

Completely patternless, with only faint traces of yellow coloration remaining, these are quite possibly true leucistic Leopard Geckos. A high-yellow variant is often referred to as 'Banana', although this term is more properly applied to specimens double homozygous for Murphy Patternless and Blizzard. Another simple recessive genetic trait.

Tangerine (Tg) Locus

  • Tg+Tg+ = Wild-type
  • Tg+tgt = Wild-type, heterozygous for Tangerine
  • tgttgt = Tangerine

Tangerine

One of the first traits to show itself was the presence of orange in the ground color of Leopard Geckos instead of yellow. Apparently inherited as a simple recessive trait, and like all mutations it can be improved upon through the process of selective breeding. Additionally, the gecko's diet will play a role in determining the quality of appearance, as the intensity of the orange color can be affected by the retention of carotenoids from the diet. Appears to be the same trait marketed as 'Orange'

Eclipse (Ec) Locus

  • Ec+Ec+ = Wild-type
  • Ec+ece = Wild-type, heterozygous for Eclipse
  • eceece = Eclipse

Eclipse

A relatively new trait which affects the eyes only, and can be combined with any pattern appearance. Quality specimens homozygous for the trait exhibit deep solid black eyes, or solid red in the case of albinos. Some specimens from this line have only half the eye, or half of one eye, affected and are termed "snake-eyed". It is not clear precisely why at this time. Our experiments have indicated this trait is inherited in recessive fashion. Solid-eyed Eclipse specimens when bred to normal eyed specimens have only produced normal eyed specimens, "heterozygous" for the trait in the F1 generation.

This trait has proven remarkably unstable, with some solid-eyed hatchlings fading to normal or snake-eyed with growth on one or both eyes. This is the eye trait used to create Raptors and Diablo Blancos. It should not be confused with the identical appearing trait present in Mack Super Snows. The two traits involve separate loci and are not compatible.

Giant (Gi) Locus

  • Gi+Gi+ = Wild-type
  • Gi+gig = Giant
  • giggig = Super Giant

Giant and Super Giant

A unique mutation uncovered by Ron Tremper. This mutation is unique in that it has no effect on color, but is instead the first known mutation controlling overall size and body configuration. Additionally, it has recently proven incomplete dominant - the first such mutation discovered in Leopard Geckos.

Sadly, the true genetic nature of this mutation was not fully understood at first and this has caused quite a bit of confusion surrounding them in the marketplace. Originally thought a simple recessive gene, with 'heterozygous' specimens sold for rather high prices during the first years. Being a codominant mutation, there is no such thing as a 'het' in the classic sense, leading many breeders working with 'hets' to believe the mutation was not real. The simple truth was that many of their specimens were in fact completely normal!

Since the mode of inheritance of codominant mutations is so poorly understood by most Leopard Gecko keepers, I'll attempt to explain it here in some detail:

With regard to the Giant mutation and it's effect on appearance, Leopard Geckos can exists in three possible genetic states: Normal (no mutated alleles present), Giant (one mutated allele present) and Super Giant (two mutated alleles present).

1) Normal specimens (no mutated alleles present), are of course, just that - completely normal in every way. They exhibit no characteristics of the Giant mutation, nor can they be heterozygous for Giant.

2) Giant specimens (one mutated allele present) can get somewhat larger than normals, although this varies, and many exhibit the elongated 'lanky' appearance caused by the mutated allele. Strictly speaking, these are in fact heterozygous and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them - the only thing different here is that such heterozygous specimens can now be spotted visually, something that cannot be done with simple recessive mutations!

3) Super Giants (two mutated alleles present) show even more of these effects, growing quite large (specimens weighing over 180gms are known) and exhibiting such an elongated and lanky appearance that even the snout is noticeably longer and more pointed. These are in fact homozygous, and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them.

It must be mentioned here that there is a range of variation in the overall effect caused by this mutation, and it is near impossible to separate the various types visually with any degree of certainty. In a mixed bag of all three types, most of the supers can be quickly separated, as can many of the normals. But the remainder will consist of a mixture of specimens that could be either normal or Giant; Giant or Super Giant.

Thus, it is important to fully understand the mode of inheritance as knowledge of the predicted outcomes of various crosses can greatly simplify sorting out the results. Perhaps the following will help:

  • Normal x Normal yields all Normal offspring.
  • Normal x Giant yields half Normal, half Giant offspring.
  • Normal x Super Giant yields all Giant offspring.
  • Giant x Giant yields 1/4 Normal, 1/2 Giant, 1/4 Super Giant offspring.
  • Giant x Super Giant yields 1/2 Giant, 1/2 Super Giant offspring.
  • Super Giant x Super Giant yields all Super Giant offspring.

Additional outside factors can also influence the growth and size of these specimens. Specimens out-crossed to various other morphs can be affected by the size typically achieved by that particular strain (some morphs can run larger than others, and this has it's effect too). Plus normal factors such as nutrition and environmental conditions can have their effect on the size achieved by any individual specimen. Let's face it, a runt is a runt, even if carrying the Giant gene, the thing ain't magic. Topping all of this off is that it seems the Giants commonly grow at a slower rate than other types, and many of ours have taken two years to achieve full size and are still growing, albeit slowly.

Mack Snow (Mk) Locus

  • Mk+Mk+ = Wild-type
  • Mk+mkm = Mack Snow
  • Mk+mkg = Gem Snow, aka Tug Snow or Line Bred Snow
  • mkmmkm = Mack Super Snow
  • mkmmkg = Super Snow
  • mkgmkg = Unknown, possibly non-existent

Mack Snow and Mack Super Snow

Here we have the second known codominant mutation in Leopard geckos, and perhaps the most exciting of all. Labeled after its originators, John and Amy Mack to eliminate confusion with a selectively bred line of Snows also available.

Since the mode of inheritance of codominant mutations is so poorly understood by most Leopard Gecko keepers, I'll attempt to explain it here in some detail (again):

With regard to the Mack Snow mutation and it's effect on appearance, Leopard Geckos can exists in three possible genetic states: Normal (no mutated alleles present), Mack Snow (one mutated allele present) and Mack Super Snow (two mutated alleles present).

1) Normal specimens (no mutated alleles present), are of course, just that - completely normal in every way. They exhibit no characteristics of the Mack Snow mutation, nor can they be heterozygous for Mack Snow. In the above photo, a normal specimen is at top.

2) Mack Snow specimens (one mutated allele present) can be immediately distinguished as hatchlings by their considerably lighter overall appearance. Sometimes these are also simply called 'Macks'. Strictly speaking, these are in fact heterozygous and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them - the only thing different here is that such heterozygous specimens can now be spotted visually, something that cannot be done with simple recessive mutations! In the above photo, a Mack Snow specimen is at bottom.

3) Mack Super Snows (two mutated alleles present) show even more of these effects, appearing nearly pure white with what remains of the black spotting usually arranged into lengthwise stripes. Most interestingly, they also have startling solid black eyes! Hatchlings are so obviously different in appearance that there can be no possible confusion among them. They are uniquely unmarked an almost solid gray at hatching. These are in fact homozygous, and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them. In the above photo, a Mack Super Snow specimen is at center.

Understand the mode of inheritance and the predicted outcomes of various crosses can greatly simplify sorting out the results. Perhaps the following will help:

  • Normal x Normal yields all Normal offspring.
  • Normal x Mack Snow yields half Normal, half Mack Snow offspring.
  • Normal x Mack Super Snow yields all Mack Snow offspring.
  • Mack Snow x Mack Snow yields 1/4 Normal, 1/2 Mack Snow, 1/4 Mack Super Snow offspring.
  • Mack Snow x Mack Super Snow yields 1/2 Mack Snow, 1/2 Mack Super Snow offspring.
  • Mack Super Snow x Mack Super Snow yields all Mack Super Snow offspring.

To further complicate things in the minds of beginning fans of Leopard Gecko genetics, three additional lines of snows are being maintained and marketed. The first of these to appear in the marketplace are most often called Line-Bred Snows. They were originally thought to be the product of selective breeding, hence the name. The second, and best known, have been brought to market by a prolific gecko breeder and are firmly established in herpetoculture as the Gem Snow. The last of these types, being marketed and maintained under the trade name TUG Snow, are purportedly derived from wild-caught E. m. fasciolatus.

All three types produce visible snows when in the heterozygous state, however, it appears that none of these three types can produce a 'Super Snow' either singly or in combination with each other. There are two explanations for this; either the homozygous state for this allele is lethal, preventing such eggs from hatching, or the homozygous form is simply identical in appearance to that of the heterozygous form. Careful test breedings will be required to determine this.

Additionally, all three types have the same genetic result when bred to Mack Snows - specimens carrying one copy of the Mack Snow allele and one copy of any of the other three types appear identical to Mack Super Snows. Thus they are proven allelic to Mack Snow, that is they reside at the same locus. While they may have been derived independently, it's safe to say they are all caused the same mutated allele. This allele is distinct from, but resides at the same locus as the Mack Snow. This has led to a lot of confusion amongst Leopard Gecko aficionados, most of whom lack a clear understanding of genetic principles, but is quite simple from a geneticists standpoint. The Gem/Tug/Line Bred Snow allele is simply recessive to the Mack Snow allele. Like the Mack Snow allele, it is codominant to Normal.

Enigma (En) Locus

  • En+En+ = Wild-type
  • En+ene = Enigma
  • eneene = Unknown, probably non-existent

Enigma

Here we have a dominant mutation in Leopard Geckos, and a very exciting mutation it is! Discovered by Mark & Kim Bell, prodigious reptile breeders indeed, and initially marketed and named by Kelli Hammack in 2005.

Specimens exhibiting this trait develop spots and patches of coloration in unusual locations, yielding a "calico" appearance as adults. Between the unusual appearance and the unusual dominant mode of inheritance, the exact nature of these geckos was initially something of a mystery, or enigma, hence the name.

Sadly, the Enigma trait appears to be linked to a defective gene which causes behavioral disorders. Thus far, all known specimens exhibit varying degrees of head-trembling, odd 'circling' behavior, and spastic motion - especially when excited. This seems quite similar to cerebellar hypoplasia in mammals, although it's unlikely any studies will ever be done with the geckos to confirm this due to financial constraints. We've purchased several specimens from breeders claiming they are free of this problem. But careful observation has revealed it to be present, just greatly reduced in severity, and all offspring from these specimens have exhibited the behavior. Test breedings to non-Enigmas have resulted in the production of large numbers of both Enigmas and non-Enigmas. ALL Enigmas have exhibited the trait, while NONE of the non-Enigmas have shown it - conclusively demonstrating that the behavior is linked to the Enigma trait.

Since the mode of inheritance of dominant mutations is new to most Leopard Gecko keepers, I'll attempt to explain it here in some detail.

With regard to the Enigma mutation and it's effect on appearance, Leopard Geckos can exists in three possible genetic states: Normal (no mutated alleles present), Enigma (one mutated allele present) and Enigma (two mutated alleles present).

1) Normal specimens (no mutated alleles present), are of course, just that - completely normal in every way. They exhibit no characteristics of the Enigma mutation, nor can they be heterozygous for Engima.

2) Enigma specimens (one mutated allele present) can be easily distinguished as hatchlings by their lighter overall appearance, and quickly develop the beginnings of the spots and blotches typical of adults. Strictly speaking, these are in fact heterozygous and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them - the only thing different here is that such heterozygous specimens can now be spotted visually, something that cannot be done with simple recessive mutations!

3) Enigma specimens (two mutated alleles present) are suspected to be of identical appearance, as no obviously different specimens have appeared from breedings between two Enigmas thus far. As of this writing, it is unclear whether specimens proven homozygous for this trait exist as breeding trials will be required to identify them and clarify this issue. This author suspects this to be a lethal gene, causing specimens with two copies of this allele to fail to develop in the egg. This is born out by limited breeding experiments in which a higher than usual percentage of eggs have failed to hatch. Results are limited and far from conclusive.

Understanding the mode of inheritance and the predicted outcomes of various crosses can greatly simplify sorting out the results. Perhaps the following will help and is based on the presumption that all Enigma specimens possessing two mutated alleles will fail to hatch, dying as embryos:

  • Normal x Normal yields all Normal offspring.
  • Normal x Enigma (one mutated allele present) yields half Normal, half Enigma (one mutated allele present) offspring.
  • Enigma (one mutated allele present) x Enigma (one mutated allele present) yields 1/4 Normal, 1/2 Enigma (one mutated allele present), 1/4 Enigma (two mutated alleles present) offspring. These homozygous specimens are suspected to die as embryos and never hatch.

Hypo (Hy) Locus

  • Hy+Hy+ = Wild-type
  • Hy+hyh = Hypo
  • hyhhyh = Super Hypo

Hypo and Super Hypo

Inherited in codominant fashion, this is one of the most prevalent mutations in captive populations of Leopard Geckos. It has been crossed with every known mutation, as it's lightening effects seem to improve upon about anything. It is a critical component of good SHCT lines, among which it seems to have originated.

It must be mentioned here that there is a range of variation in the overall effect caused by this mutation, and it is near impossible to separate the various types visually with any degree of certainty. In a mixed bag of all three types, all normals can be quickly separated, as can many of the Super Hypos. But the remainder will consist of a mixture of specimens that could be either Hypo or Super Hypo.

Since the mode of inheritance of codominant mutations is so poorly understood by most Leopard Gecko keepers, I'll attempt to explain it here in some detail:

With regard to the Hypo mutation and it's effect on appearance, Leopard Geckos can exists in three possible genetic states: Normal (no mutated alleles present), Hypo (one mutated allele present) and Super Hypo (two mutated alleles present).

1) Normal specimens (no mutated alleles present), are of course, just that - completely normal in every way. They exhibit no characteristics of the Hypo mutation, nor can they be heterozygous for Hypo.

2) Hypo specimens (one mutated allele present) can be immediately distinguished as hatchlings by their considerably lighter overall appearance. With even a slight amount of growth, the darker bands quickly fade, leaving few if any dark spots behind. Strictly speaking, these are in fact heterozygous and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them - the only thing different here is that such heterozygous specimens can now be spotted visually, something that cannot be done with simple recessive mutations!

3) Super Hypo specimens(two mutated alleles present) show even more of these effects, appearing nearly unmarked at adulthood. These are in fact homozygous, and typical rules of inheritance apply when breeding them.

Understand the mode of inheritance and the predicted outcomes of various crosses can greatly simplify sorting out the results. Perhaps the following will help:

  • Normal x Normal yields all Normal offspring.
  • Normal x Hypo yields half Normal, half Hypo offspring.
  • Normal x Super Hypo yields all Hypo offspring.
  • Hypo x Hypo yields 1/4 Normal, 1/2 Hypo , 1/4 Super Hypo offspring.
  • Hypo x Super Hypo yields 1/2 Hypo , 1/2 Super Hypo offspring.
  • Super Hypo x Super Hypo yields all Super Hypo offspring.

Carrot-Tail (Ct) Locus

  • Ct+Ct+ = Wild-type
  • Ct+ctc = Wild-type, heterozygous for Carrot-Tail
  • ctcctc = Carrot-Tail

Carrot-Tail

Even as early as the late 70's, we'd begun noticing that some individuals of wild-type Leopard geckos displayed a small amount of orange at the base of the tail. At some point in time, somebody refined this to the point where this orange coloration extended much further down the tail. Early specimens exhibited as much as a third of the tail in orange, while today it has been further refined to the point where virtually all of the tail may appear orange. I think the earliest work on them was pioneered by Ray Hines in England, but I'm not sure. If anybody wants to clear that up for me, feel free to drop a note.

Exact method of inheritance is a little unclear, but I'm going to discuss it here as though it is inherited in simple recessive fashion, with all of today's specimens being refined in appearance through selective breeding. My reasoning behind this is based on our experiences that while truly good Carrot-Tails are produced through the selective process, it doesn't seem possible to create them at all without already having what must certainly be a recessive allele in the mix.

Please note that other methods may be used to create orange tails as well, and these should not be confused with the true Carrot-Tail as described here. For example, Raptor's have very orange tails, but this appears to be based on the result of the Tangerine or Orange mutation in combination with the Patternless/Stripe mutation, which aligns the pattern along the tail - essentially stretching out the orange tail base coloration nearly the full length of the tail. We spent a lot time outcrossing raptors to determine what's in their genetic make-up, and we've never produced anything resembling a true Carrot-Tail from those projects. I'm sure a lot of folks will have varying opinions on this subject, but in truth there is a lot of work that remains to be done by truly objective parties before anything approaching certainty can be discussed.

Carrot-Head

  • Ch+Ch+ = Wild-type
  • Ch+chc = Wild-type, heterozygous for Carrot-Head
  • chcchc = Carrot-Head

Carrot-Head

A Carrot-Head Leopard Gecko exhibits orange coloring on its head soon after hatching which intensifies with growth. Typical specimens will have the white neck band replaced with a yellow or orange color. The trait first appeared amongst SHCT bloodlines, but outcrosses into other lines have illustrated it is inherited separately and can be combined with other mutations. Since it is an increase in orange pigmentation, it obviously will not show it's presence in morphs lacking orange (such as Mack Snows), although breeders must remember that the alleles can still be there! This mutations is most commonly seen in SHCT bloodlines and in Tremper Albinos derived from outcrosses to them, such as Sunglow projects.

Baldy

  • By+By+ = Wild-type
  • By+byb = Wild-type, heterozygous for Baldy
  • bybbyb = Baldy

Baldy

A Baldy Leopard Gecko is a gecko with no spotting on the head. Most are born with at least some spotting which quickly vanishes with growth. The Baldy trait originated amongst lines of SHCT's being produced by Bill Brandt which had been selected for several generations for pure unspotted color. Breeders outcrossing these lines soon noticed that they were producing other morphs from those outcrosses that were showing 'Baldy'. The Baldy trait appears to be inherited in simple recessive fashion. The vast majority of specimens seen will be among SHCT bloodlines, logical enough considering their ancestry.

Bold Stripe

  • ???? = ?
  • ???? = ?
  • ???? = ?

Bold Stripe

Leopard Geckos possessing a wide stripe of light ground color down the mid-dorsum, flanked by lines of dark patterning are often marketed as Bold-Stripe. While the exact mode of inheritance is unclear, many feel it to be an incomplete dominant. Until some serious study is performed, we'll just leave this one open.

Multiple Genetic Trait Leopard Geckos

All of the Leopard Gecko Morphs presented in this section are affected by two or more mutated alleles. Many have become common enough to have well-known trade names. Other trade names are fairly new, and will hopefully be used regularly enough to become established. Many multiple trait Leopard Geckos are simply called by the combination of traits involved. Examples of this are Giant Albino or Patternless Mack Snow, although there are of course dozens more! We won't bother listing all of these 'combination' names, since most are pretty self-explanatory, but we'll show most of the more well-known ones.

Patternless Tremper Albino

Genotype: pappap·tattat Homozygous for Murphy Patternless and Tremper Albino, two recessive traits.  Interestingly, these have proven somewhat difficult to produce from scratch. Early difficulties in producing them even led one very prominent and outspoken breeder to proclaim publicly that it could not be done. Unaware of that info, we quietly hatched a few the following year. Glad we hadn't been listening! Apparently, the Tremper Albino locus is situated fairly close to the Murphy Patternless locus and a slight tendency for trait linkage is expressed. Many breeders report approximately 1 in 50 Patternless Tremper Albino offspring are produced when working with double heterozygous breeders, rather than the anticipated 1 in 16!

Note that the three different types of Patternless Albino have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Patternless Las Vegas Albino

Genotype: pappap·lvllvl Homozygous for Murphy Patternless and Las Vegas Albino, two recessive traits.

Note that the three different types of Patternless Albino have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Patternless Bell Albino

Genotype: pappap·babbab Homozygous for Murphy Patternless and Bell Albino, two recessive traits.

Note that the three different types of Patternless Albino have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Blazing Blizzard (Tremper Albino)

Genotype: bzbbzb·tattat Homozygous for Blizzard  and Tremper Albino, two recessive traits. Interestingly, these have proven rather difficult to produce from scratch. Apparently, the Tremper Albino locus is situated fairly close to the Blizzard locus and a strong tendency for trait linkage is expressed. Many breeders report approximately 1 in 200 Blazing Blizzard offspring are produced when working with double heterozygous breeders, rather than the anticipated 1 in 16! We were among the first to produce them and our results were closer to 1 in 75.

Note that the three different types of Blazing Blizzard have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Blazing Blizzard (Las Vegas Albino)

Genotype: bzbbzb·lvllvl Homozygous for Blizzard  and Las Vegas Albino, two recessive traits. Hatchlings do not appear to be significantly different from the Blazing Blizzards created using the Tremper strain albinos, likely the result of the Blizzard trait overshadowing the more subtle effects of the various types of albinism.

Note that the three different types of Blazing Blizzard have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Blazing Blizzard (Bell Albino)

Genotype: bzbbzb·babbab Homozygous for Blizzard  and Bell Albino, two recessive traits. Hatchlings do not appear to be significantly different from the Blazing Blizzards created using the Tremper strain albinos, likely the result of the Blizzard trait overshadowing the more subtle effects of the various types of albinism.

Note that the three different types of Blazing Blizzard have been given different names for a reason - they are NOT compatible when bred together, due to the three types of albinism used to create each.

Big Mack

Genotype: Gi+gig·Mk+mkm Heterozygous for Giant and Mack Snow, two codominant mutations. It's to be expected that specimens double-homozygous for both traits will also soon appear (as well as combinations), and are expected to wind up with the trade name of Super Big Mack or perhaps Super-Sized Big Mack?

Banana

Genotype: bzbbzb·pappap Homozygous for Blizzard  and Murphy Patternless, two recessive traits. Originally, this name was applied to several yellowish colored specimens of Blizzard Leopard Gecko, under the assumption that these specimens were examples of Patternless Blizzard. This was later proven incorrect. So now we are left with a quandary: Do we continue to label such yellowish examples of Blizzard with this name, or do we reserve it for the true Patternless Blizzard as it was originally intended? I vote for the latter, sine this name was originally intended to be used for this combination morph.

Note: While several keepers claim to have Patternless Blizzard specimens, to my knowledge there are no proven examples of this double homozygous morph in existence. Since it is suspected that these geckos may not be visually distinct from either the blizzard or the Patternless, suspected specimens would need to be bred to both types and the results recorded to prove their genotype without question. To date, nobody seems to have done this.

Hybino (Tremper Albino)

Genotype: Hy+hyh·tattat or hyhhyh·tattat Homozygous for Tremper Albino, a recessive mutation and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. These essentially appear as patternless to near patternless albinos. As with any Hypos, homozygous specimens generally show fewer markings then heterozygous specimens.

Hybino (Las Vegas Albino)

Genotype: Hy+hyh·lvllvl or hyhhyh·tattat Homozygous for Las Vegas Albino, a recessive mutation and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. These essentially appear as patternless to near patternless albinos. As with any Hypos, homozygous specimens generally show fewer markings then heterozygous specimens.

Hybino (Bell Albino)

Genotype: Hy+hyh·babbab or hyhhyh·tattat Homozygous for Bell Albino, a recessive mutation and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. These essentially appear as patternless to near patternless albinos. As with any Hypos, homozygous specimens generally show fewer markings then heterozygous specimens.

Sunglow (Tremper Albino)

Genotype: tgttgt·Hy+hyh·tattat or tgttgt·hyhhyh·tattat Homozygous for Tangerine and Tremper Albino and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. In layman's terms, these are Tangerine Hybinos, but many breeders utilized Super Hypo Carrot-Tails to create them and inadvertently added Carrot-Head and Baldy to them as well. So there's a lot of show-stoppers out there with all these traits visible that carry a lot more traits than the minimum requirements listed here!

Sunglow (Las Vegas Albino)

Genotype: tgttgt·Hy+hyh·lvllvl or tgttgt·hyhhyh·lvllvl Homozygous for Tangerine and Las Vegas Albino and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. In layman's terms, these are Tangerine Hybinos, but many breeders have added Carrot-Tail to improve them, although this is not yet as common as it is in the Tremper line Sunglows

Sunglow (Bell Albino)

Genotype: tgttgt·Hy+hyh·babbab or tgttgt·hyhhyh·babbab Homozygous for Tangerine and Bell Albino and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, a codominant mutation. In layman's terms, these are Tangerine Hybinos, but many breeders have added Carrot-Tail to improve them, although this is not yet as common as it is in the Tremper line Sunglows

Creamsicle

Genotype: Hy+hyh·Mk+mkm or hyhhyh·Mk+mkm Heterozygous for Mack Snow and either heterozygous or homozygous for Hypo, two codominant mutations. Depending on the breeder, these may be homozygous for Tangerine as well. It would seem logical to differentiate these by calling them Tangerine Creamsicles, but nobody seems willing to go that extra step...

Ember

Genotype: pappap·eceece Homozygous for Patternless and Eclipse, two recessive mutations. Many breeders deliberately started off on projects to combine Murphy patternless with the unique solid red eyes of Raptors. Others did it by accident, following the confusing mis-use of the name 'patternless' in the acronym Raptor. Regardless of what headed them down the path, the results were a lovely gecko indeed. Many show enhanced yellowing (likely from the Orange trait in Raptors). Many breeders claim theirs to also be 'Orange" and 'Patternless Stripe" in addition to the two main ingredients, although most do not appear as such - so be sure to check when purchasing.

Raptor

Genotype: eceece·tattat·????·tgttgt Homozygous for Eclipse, Tremper Albino, and Tangerine, three recessive mutations, and either heterozygous or homozygous for 'Patternless', possibly a codominant trait. RAPTOR is an acronym for Red-eye Albino Patternless Tremper ORange. Fantastic near solid orange hatchlings with just faint traces of pattern along the dorsum and solid red eyes, they are a combination of several mutations, but unfortunately the acronym is a bit of a misnomer. In this case, the Red-eye actually refers to Eclipse, Albino does indeed refer to Tremper Albino, Patternless is in actuality a semi patternless look (NOT the Murphy Patternless, but apparently a type of Jungle, possibly the same as reverse stripe?). Tremper ORange appears to be just the common Tangerine mutation, but heck one out of four ain't bad, right?

Aptor

Genotype: tattat·????·tgttgt After reading the above, you've probably guessed this one. It's simply a Raptor without the solid red eyes caused by the Eclipse trait.

Radar

Genotype: eceece·babbab·????·tgttgt A RADAR is the Bell Albino equivalent of a RAPTOR.

Typhoon

Genotype: eceece·lvvlvv·????·tgttgt A Typhoon is the Las Vegas Albino equivalent of a RAPTOR.

Nova (RAPTOR Enigma)

Genotype: eneene·eceece·tattat·????·tgttgt Nova is a name being used in some circles for RAPTOR's which are also heterozygous for Enigma, a dominant mutation.

Firewater

Genotype: lvvlvv·tgttgt A Firewater is homozygous for Tangerine and Las Vegas Albino, two recessive mutations.

Dreamsicle (Mack Snow RAPTOR Enigma)

Genotype: Mk+mkm·eneene·eceece·tattat·????·tgttgt Dreamsicle is a name being used in some circles for RAPTOR's which are also heterozygous for Enigma, a dominant mutation, and heterozygous for Mack Snow, a codominant mutation.

Super Nova (Mack Super Snow RAPTOR Enigma)

Genotype: mkmmkm·eneene·eceece·tattat·????·tgttgt Super Nova is a name being used in some circles for RAPTOR's which are also heterozygous for Enigma, a dominant mutation, and homozygous for Mack Snow, a codominant mutation. Special note: Anytime specimens exhibiting solid eye color which could be caused by Eclipse, Mack Super Snow, or a combination of the two, pay careful attention to visible traces of the unique Mack Super Snow patterning, as potential for misidentification exists.

Black Hole (Mack Snow Eclipse Enigma).

Genotype: Mk+mkm·eneene·eceece Black Hole is a name being used in some circles for specimens homozygous for Eclipse, a recessive mutation, heterozygous for Enigma, a dominant mutation, and heterozygous for Mack Snow, a codominant mutation.

Special Notes About Eye Color

Recently a number of new morphs, and a couple of new mutations have been released which have an effect upon the eye color of Leopard Geckos. With two distinctly different mutations having an identical effect, an enormous amount of confusion is already present among hobbyists. The information presented here should help clarify this confusion.

Albinism

Three distinct forms of albinism are well-established in Leopard Geckos. All three are tyrosinase positive forms, and are so similar in appearance they cannot be separated visually with 100% certainty. It is absolutely critical to be aware which line specimens to be used for breeding programs are from, use of more than one type will result in normal appearing geckos, and if bred together, these may then produce offspring of either or both types. That can be a confusing mess to sort out later!

All three forms of albinism have an effect on eye coloration, although not as consistently as breeders would prefer. Some, but not all, hatchlings have distinct eyes, with reddish pupils and a pink colored iris. For reasons not understood, some hatchlings will have very dark eyes, almost normal appearing. It has been postulated by some that temperature plays a role in embryonic eye color development. Others feel some hidden genetic trait is at work.

Regardless of the reason, it is important to understand that this occurs and that it can be even more pronounced when combined with additional mutations. It is also important to realize that this red coloration will be lost as the animals mature. With growth, the iris thickens and the pinkish color of blood vessels previously showing through the thin cell layers of the iris will be obscured by the solid light golden color of the much thicker mature iris. Most confusion in this regard surrounds the "Blazing Blizzard" which was highly promoted some years ago using artist's renditions of what the expected offspring would look like. A combination of Blizzard and Albino, it was expected these would be a solid white gecko with startlingly solid red eyes. We know now that this is far from the truth, for while some specimens are rather whitish, the vast majority are light cream in color. As with all albinos, the eye color will vary from a clean light red pupil on a pink iris to a very dark, almost normal appearing eye.

Eclipse (Raptor eye)

An interesting mutation first released in combination with albinism and a few other traits as the Raptor Leopard Gecko, caused quite a stir. For good reason, as it creates a unique solid but transparent colored eye - in which the pupil and iris cannot be distinguished! Albino specimens can have unique solid transparent red eyes, as illustrated here. Sadly, it has also created a ton of confusion! Since initially released in the form of the bright orange nearly solid patterned albinos (Raptor), many have come to believe this eye trait to be synonymous with "Raptor". It is not, it is a separate allelic mutation, just one component of a Raptor. To properly be a Raptor, a gecko must possess this mutation, but it is important to understand that Eclipse can be present in non-Raptors and can be combined with other mutations. Thus we can produce a completely solid black-eyed Normal Leopard Gecko, for example.

As with all albinos, the actual color of the eye can vary from light red to near black, as described in the albinism section above.

Eclipse-eyed geckos present another unique problem in terminology. This is a simple recessive trait, with specimens heterozygous for Eclipse possessing completely normal eyes. However, not all specimens homozygous for it will actually display the unique solid eye appearance. Some will have only half the eye colored (these are termed snake-eyed) while still others may have completely normal appearing eyes. To really complicate things, they may start out solid at hatching, later changing to "snake-eyed" or even normal!

Snake-Eyed Blizzards

Just after the Eclipse-eyed Raptors were released, a gecko combining Albinism and Blizzard, and displaying the unique solid-red eyes of the Eclipse trait was produced. It was created from back-crosses of geckos produced from breedings of Raptors and Blazing Blizzards. Most specimens grow to adulthood displaying the same creamy white coloration as the Blazing Blizzards used to make. Simply put, they are Eclipse-eyed Blazing Blizzards. Named the "Diablo Blanco" and marketed in Ron Tremper's uniquely flamboyant style, they created a huge interest. Immediately, customers began inquiring about Blizzard and Blazing Blizzard Leopard Geckos they had either seen elsewhere or had purchased from us which had the same appearance in eyes as "snake-eyed" Eclipse specimens. All were hoping they had inadvertently acquired what was needed to quickly and inexpensively produce Diablo Blancos.

To tell the truth, while I'd noticed that "snake-eyed" look once or twice in our Blizzard/Blazing Blizzard lines, I'd never really cared about it. Honestly, I didn't know how to answer their inquiries, as I was not even certain I'd ever paired two specimens showing the trait. So I dutifully dug through all our colonies, picked out all the "snake-eyed" looking ones and tossed them all in two boxes. One box with the best looking "snake-eyed" male Blazing Blizzard from our lines as harem-master. And one with a splendid solid-eyed Raptor as the stud. No solid eyed Eclipse specimens have ever been produced from them. So, the answer is no, it's not the same trait. Apparently Blizzards can display this "snake-eyed" look without use of the Eclipse allele. Obviously, Blizzards can also be produced using the Eclipse eye trait, and these can display any of the three types of eye appearance described in the Eclipse section above. Due to their ability to appear "snake-eyed" by either method, such specimens may yield unexpected results when bred together! Only specimens from such projects with complete solid eyes can be readily identified as Homozygous for Eclipse.

Mack Super Snows

At almost the same moment as the Raptor lines were being released with their startling solid red eyes, John and Amy Mack were developing yet another unique mutation which had an amazing effect on eye coloration. Nick-named the Mack Snow, specimens heterozygous for this trait hatched out as unique silver and black hatchlings, most completely lacking all traces of yellow. Some heterozygous specimens will show traces of yellow, especially those from tangerine albino or SHCT lines, and nearly all will develop some yellow from carotenoid retention with growth.

The real surprise to this story was the appearance of specimens homozygous for the trait. These specimen completely lacked all yellows, and develop none or almost none with growth. Unbelievably, they also had the same unique solid black eyes as Eclipse specimens. Albino specimens, had, you guessed it, solid red eyes. When combined with Blazing Blizzards, we had at last created the amazing solid-white gecko with stunning red eyes everyone had hoped for with the Diablo Blanco. As an added bonus, 'het' specimens were readily identifiable as Mack Snows, so no guesswork or surprises, except one:

As with all albinos, the actual color of the eye can vary from light red to near black, as described in the albinism section above. So it's possible to produce one that appears to have almost solid black eyes, rather than the desired red.