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Leopard Gecko Morphs and Genetics

Updated on June 22, 2011

Various Morphs

Bold Stripe Gecko
Bold Stripe Gecko
Bell Albino
Bell Albino
High Yellow
High Yellow
Mack Snow
Mack Snow
rainbow morph
rainbow morph
super hypo tangerine
super hypo tangerine
tremper giant
tremper giant

Various Leo Morphs

There are many different types of leopard geckos out there, produced from selective breeding and combinations of recessive traits.  Some of them are more common than others, and some are even considered controversial. 

A rare morph will often cost more than a common one, and can be subject to additional health problems.  For instance, albinos of all types are especially light sensitive, and must be kept out of the sun.

The different morphs in the world of leopard geckos may be produced in a number of different ways.  Some are genetic traits based on the mutation of a single allele. 

Others are obtained only through careful line breeding - the breeding of animals within the same bloodline to produce a consistent set of desired traits, without undesired ones which may crop up.  These animals are likely to be the most costly, since a great deal of effort and a lot of resources have gone into producing them.

Leopard geckos experience three distinct types of albinism.  An albino leopard gecko will be able to produce pigments in the chocolate, yellow, orange, red, blue, white and tan ranges, but will never be able to produce black coloration.  Every albino will have a varying amount of pigment, and will look a little different.

Patternless Leopard Geckos
Also called Murphy's Patternless and leucistic leopard geckos, this morph also comes about through a simple recessive trait.  As adults, these geckos have a lack of pattern over their bodies and head, but as babies, their bodies are spotted in a unique pattern around the head and shoulder.   Colors vary, with the body ranging between gray and greenish, but the tail is almost invariably purplish gray. 

Mistakable at first for a patternless or albino leopard gecko, a blizzard lacks the typical banding and spots seen on other animals.  However, these animals are anywhere from bright, pure white all over to various shades of gray.  Some will have a yellowish toned shine to their bodies. 

Striped Leopard Geckos
Striping can occur in leopard geckos, replacing their usual spotted pattern with one that runs down the length of their body instead.  These traits are considered polygenic by most, but some note that the traits may also behave much like recessives.

Low Melanin Non-Albino Leopard Geckos
There are a number of different terms used to describe the reduction of dark pigment in leopard geckos which are not albinos.  These include baldy, super-hypo, and hypomelanistic.  These are different morphs, with different appearances and expression of their lack of melanin. 

Orange Pigmented Leopard Geckos
Orange coloration on leopard geckos can be bred in, as well.  The different amounts and locations have different names.  However, all traits are polygenic or line bred, and affect similar colorants.

Giant Leopard Geckos
Giant and super giant leopard geckos have co-dominant traits that affect their size.  This trait was originally found in Tremper albinos, and usually refers only to this strain, but giant geckos are now available in all specialty color morphs.  These geckos are larger than usual, with the largest on record coming in at a weight of a hundred sixty-eight grams.

Reduced Yellow Leopard Geckos
Reduction of the yellow background color in leopard geckos produces an animal with a mostly white background pattern and varying other coloration. 

Darker Leopard Geckos
Just as some animals can exhibit lighter coloration, some can also show darker colors and pattern.  Hyper melanistic leopard geckos are predominantly black, and come in nearly all pattern morphs. 

An excellent video of numerous leopard gecko morphs!

Pictures of Various Morphs


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