Tiger crested geckos, Harlequin crested geckos, and dalmatian cresties, this post covers the wonderful world of crested gecko morphs! Join me and have a look at some of these awesome cresties!
What Are Crested Gecko Morphs?
In regards to lizards, a morph refers to the different distinct colors and patterns that appear in a single species. It is basically the appearance of the lizard.
Interestingly, the word morph comes from the term polymorphism, meaning different forms of one thing.
Do Crested Geckos Have Morphs?
Crested geckos don’t technically have different morphs. This is because crested gecko morphs aren’t part of a crestie’s genetics.
However, just because they aren’t technically morphs, reptile lovers still use this term to describe the patterns and colors of crested geckos.
Can You Breed For Crested Gecko Morphs?
When it comes to crested geckos, the term morph means appearance, and this is different from genetics. Think of crested geckos like humans. Two blonde people having a baby means that their baby is probably going to be blonde. However, this is not guaranteed.
When breeding crested geckos, the babies can look nothing like the parents and have a completely different morph! But usually, you have some idea what morph the baby will be.
Crested Gecko Morphs
Now that we know a little about morphs, let take a look at the incredible variety of crested gecko morphs! If you’d like to skip to the good bit and just see some awesome crested gecko morphs, jump to this section of the blog!
Patternless Crested Gecko Morphs
Patternless morphs are perhaps the most common crested geckos available. Their body is one block of color, usually a cream, red, orange, or yellow. However, there is a huge pool of possible colors, even black!
As the most common of crested gecko morphs, these are the cheapest.
Bicolor Crested Gecko Morphs
Bicolor crested gecko morphs are made up of two colors. One color on their body (and limbs) and one on their back (dorsal). The dorsal color is usually lighter and runs all down their back.
These cresties don’t usually have patterns and the colors seem are similar to the patternless morph. Mainly with shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Tiger Crested Geckos
They come in colors of yellows, browns, beiges, and even oranges, with stripes that run perpendicular to their body.
Their base color is normally light, while the stripes are often dark shades.
Tiger crested geckos are named so because they look like the product of an inappropriate tiger-lizard relationship! In reality, it’s just clever breeding!
Brindle Crested Gecko Morphs
The brindle crested gecko morph is similar in looks to the tiger morph. However, their patterns are slightly different and a bit more extreme! Brindles often have more stripes. Their stripes are also more scattered.
Depending on their stripiness, a crestie may be called a tiger (least stripy), super tiger, brindle, or even super brindle (most stripy)!
Flame Crested Geckos
The flame morph has two distinct colors. Unlike bicolors, the contrast between the two is far more distinct!
Flame morphs can be of any color, but the ‘flame’ on their back is typically beige. Their flame stripe goes from their head right down to their tail.
Harlequinn Crested Geckos
Harlequin morphs are one of the most sort-after crested gecko morphs. Similar to flames, they have two contrasting colors. However, the rest of their body is patterned. They have patterns of cream along their sides as well as their back and tail.
They come in lots of different colors, mostly beige and browns. One of the most desirable harlequin morphs is the dark harlequin! As you may have guessed, these have dark, striking features. They are now available at cbreptile.com for $130!
Extreme Harlequin Crested Geckos
This morph is like a harlequin on steroids! Their colors and patterning are more apparent and eye-catching. Unsurprisingly then, these geckos are in high demand!
For a crestie to be classed as an extreme harlequin, over 60% of their body needs to be patterned. That’s a lot!
You can get yourself a stunning extreme harlequin crested gecko from cbreptile.com for as little as $139.95!
Tricolor Crested Geckos
If you thought bicolor’s were cool, get a load of this… sometimes crested geckos can have three colors! Tricolor crested geckos look similar to harlequins; however, their coat is made up of three distinct colors.
This trait can appear on a lot of different crested geckos with a range of base colors, from red and black to cream and yellow!
Crested Gecko Traits
When it comes to crested geckos, there are morphs, and there are also traits, which appear alongside morphs.
Crested geckos can also have more than one trait, which results in some wacky combos! You can have a harlequin crested gecko with the pinstripe and dalmatian trait. What a quirky lizard!
Let’s jump in and have a look at crested gecko traits in more detail!
Pinstripe Crested Geckos
Okay, so some people do class the pinstripe trait to be a morph. However, most lizard lovers consider it to be a structural trait. Whatever you want to call it, this trait makes the crested gecko look super funky!
A pinstripe crested gecko’s spikes, which run down its back, are highlighted a certain color. The pinstripe is normally cream but can be lots of different colors, even a beautiful orange color, like the crestie below!
As pinstripe is a trait, you can get some really cool combinations. Flame pinstripe crested geckos or tiger pinstripes (like the one shown below) are only two of the many variations you can have!
Tiger Pinstripe Crested Gecko
To add even more variety to the wonderful world of crested geckos, there are different forms of the pinstripe trait, and some are more desirable than others.
Types of Pinstripe Crested Gecko
Type of Pinstripe
Gaps of color in spikes (e.g. yellow with white gaps)
Spike are a dark shade
Spikes contain a pattern
Quadstripe Crested Geckos
Another popular trait in crested geckos is the quadstripe. The quadstripe has the pinstripe on its back but two more stripes on its side! These lines run from their front leg to their back.
Sometimes you get a crested gecko with a fifth stipe right down the middle of their back. This is a super trait!
Dalmatian Crested Geckos
You can probably guess this one! A Dalmatian crested gecko has spots over its body. These spots are normally black but can be red or orange. The size of the spots varies, from little tiny ones to bigger and bolder spots.
If a dalmatian crested gecko has an extreme number of spots, then they are, in fact, classed as a super dalmatian crested gecko!
Dalmatian Crested Gecko, Available at cbreptile.com from $89.99
Dalmatian crested geckos come in all different types of colors and morphs. Patternless morphs are more popular to have as it means the spots are more vivid. However, dalmatian spots also look great on other morphs!
Lavender Crested Geckos
Lavender crested geckos have an underlying color, which is visible in flame or harlequin crested gecko morphs. The color is a pale-blue/purple hue when not fired up.
Drippy Crested Geckos
A drippy crested gecko has a color that looks as if it is dripping down from its back. Some people might get confused between drippy crested geckos and harlequins because they do look really similar!
The general rule is that if the top color is a lighter one, and the pattern moves downwards, the pattern is a drippy one. For harlequin crested geckos, the lighter pattern moves up the side of the lizard.
7 Awesome Crested Gecko Colors
On top of all these different morphs and traits, we can also use a range of terms to label the different colors that crested geckos might have.
As we know, you can have morphs such as a flame or tiger morph. These morphs come in a variety of colors. So, you can have red tiger crested geckos or brown flame crested geckos!
A lot of crested geckos have a morph, a color type, and another trait. This means there is a huge variety of different combinations! Check out this awesome red brindle dalmatian crested gecko!
Certain colors are really common in crested geckos, such as orange, yellow, grey, or buckskin. However, some special color variations have specific names. They are not morphs but are considered important when breeding and choosing crested geckos.
1. Solid Back
Some crested geckos have a completely solid back color. The body is usually a slightly darker shade.
You will find this trait in a lot of different morphs, such as flame or harlequin crested geckos.
2. White Wall
These crested geckos have a white color block on their lower section. The white stands out and is often unbroken!
3. Halloween Crested Geckos
Harlequin, pinstripe, tiger, or flame crested geckos are considered to have Halloween coloring if they only have orange and brown on their body. These contrasting colors make Halloween crested geckos very desirable. You can see why from the image below!
4. Creamsicle Crested Geckos
Creamsicle crested geckos are usually flame morphs with an orange body and cream patterning. Harlequinn crested geckos can also be classed as creamsicles if they have the appropriate coloring (orange body with cream patterning)
5. Blonde Crested Geckos
Harlequin and flame crested geckos can be classed as blonde. A blonde crested gecko has a dark base color, which contrasts stunningly with its creamy back. These two contrasting colors make this gecko a sight to behold!
6. Cream on Cream
The creme de la creme! These cresties are completely cream-colored. They are one of the rarest types of crested gecko. So, As you can imagine, they are very highly sought after!
This wonderful combination of colors can appear in flame crested geckos, but only if you’re fortunate!
7. Mocha on Cream
These are brownish lizards with cream markings. They can come in a number of morphs such as flame, tiger, and pinstripe. Mocha on cream crested geckos are loved by many due to the bold contrast between their two colors!
Crested Gecko Structure
When it comes to crested gecko breeding and care, a lot of owners are not just interested in the color and pattern of their scales but also the shape of them.
Crested geckos can have distinctive structural differences between them. A lot of breeders like their crested geckos to have large, broad heads and smaller snouts. People also like the lizard’s crest to be really defined and bold. The bigger, the better!
So, Let’s take a look at some cool crested gecko structures!
Furry cresties have raised scales over their back or dorsal area. Normally crested geckos just have the spikes that run from their eyelashes, but furry ones have little spikes all over them!
The arrangement of the raised scales is random, so every furry crested gecko is unique!
These cresties have more defined crests around their head. This makes them look like they are wearing a little lizard crown, hence the name! Crowned cresties have heads that look larger, making them sought after by many lizard owners.
Similar to crowned cresties, cactus crested geckos have bigger spikes on their head. However, the spikes are not just long on their heads!
Cactus-structured lizards have crests that run down their back, which are longer than usual, making them look oddly tough!
Reverted crested geckos are ones that don’t have many spikes. They have very narrow heads and so aren’t usually that desirable! However, if you’re after something a bit different, these could be the cresties for you!
Soft Scale and Super Soft Scale
A soft scale crestie has smaller scales, making the lizards feel incredibly soft. It’s a new trait that has recently been developed by breeders.
These crested geckos feel soft to touch and have been described as feeling “as soft as silk”! This trait also appears to make the lizard’s contrast of colors appear bolder.
Super soft scale crested geckos are those that are even softer! This is a trait that you will have to witness in person.
Currently, these crested geckos are super rare, so you might have to wait a while!
Check out the video below to see a real-life soft scale crested gecko!
Crested Gecko Genetics
We have looked at the different traits, colors, morphs, and structures of crested geckos. However, we haven’t really delved too deeply into the science side of things.
When you are breeding crested geckos, it is good to know about the morphs, but even better to understand the genetics of these lizards.
A lot of reptile companies and breeders want to create new and exciting crested geckos. This is how the super soft trait was discovered. Crested gecko genetics is a fascinating field and, in the future, will produce even crazier crested gecko morphs!
So, let’s answer some of the questions related to crested gecko genetics, including:
- What is selective breeding?
- Can you get albino crested geckos?
- What are genotypes and phenotypes?
- What are mutations?
Genotypes And Phenotypes
For some crested geckos, you can guarantee a certain morph or trait because of the parents. This is because their phenotypes (observable characteristics) are directly linked to their genotypes (heritable genes).
A lot of reptile genotypes are known, and therefore their phenotypes are too. However, it is a little bit different with crested geckos as their phenotypes don’t directly correspond to their genotypes. Crested geckos are polygenic, which means that there are multiple genes that control their phenotypes.
Due to their polygenic nature, it isn’t always possible to predict what morph a crested gecko will be, even if you know their parents morph!
When it comes to breeding crested geckos, it is the traits, not the specific morphs, that are passed on to their offspring. Multiple genes affect what traits the crested gecko will have. Because of this, you can’t pick out a gene you want and breed the lizards to pass on that gene.
Even when selective breeding crested geckos, you will never be 100% sure what you are going to get! However, you can breed them in a way that makes certain morphs or traits more likely.
So, if you are breeding a pinstripe crested gecko with another pinstripe crested gecko, a lot of their traits will be passed on. Therefore, the baby crested gecko has a high probability of being a pinstripe. However, it is not guaranteed.
Crested geckos have distinct color cells, which are responsible for the colors you see in cresties.
There are two types of color cells, melanophores and xanthophores. The former contains melanin and produces browns, reds, and oranges. The latter produces lighter colors such as yellows.
Some crested geckos have the color cell iridophore, which produces a blue color. This is not a pigmentation but a cell that reflects light in a certain way.
A lot of breeders try breeding for white patterned crested geckos. Animals that are pure white or mostly white often have a recessive gene, and this is something many breeders have been looking into.
Currently, there are two lines of white patterned crested geckos. Lily-white crested geckos have a co-dominant white pattern. These lizards have a lot of pure white on them, which is not often seen in crested geckos.
When Lily-White cresties are bred, they appear to pass down the white patterning really well! Each new generation has more white on them. However, some of the offspring of this line appears to have a head tilt. This suggests neurological disorders could be present.
Albino Crested Geckos
There have been no recorded albino crested geckos, but many people have wondered what they look like. As crested geckos have xanthophore color cells, an albino crested gecko might still have certain colors!
Albinism is caused by faulty melanin production. In a lot of animals, this makes them all white. However, this is not always true. Since there is no melanin, it means that there are no dark pigments. So, albinism comes in different degrees.
Melanin is produced from the amino acid tyrosine, and this amino acid plays a role when it comes to albinism. There are two different types of albinism, one where there seems to be no tyrosin and one where there is melanin, but the gene seems not to be working.
Issues with tyrosin can be caused by mutations of the gene. This has caused a few different lines of albino leopard geckos.
Piebald Crested Geckos
Piebaldism is a recessive trait where patches of skin lack melanin. The other patches of skin are patterned and colored as normal.
There has been one known piebald crested gecko, aptly named Patient Zero. However, he didn’t pass on his piebaldism when he bred!
He is a really astonishing looking reptile and truly one of a kind. Maybe another piebald crested gecko will turn up again one day? We can only hope!
The Effect Of Incubation
An incredible part of crested gecko genetics is the way that the incubation of the eggs can affect the appearance of a lizard.
A lot of breeders prefer to have a longer incubation period for their crested geckos as the babies often will come out bigger. To elongate the incubation period, the temperature needs to be a little cooler than normal, at around 70℉. This means that the babies stay in their eggs for longer and therefore come out bigger.
Many breeders have witnessed that those crested geckos with a longer incubation period seem to have wider heads and a good head structure.
Crested Gecko Morphs – A Motion Picture
Wrapping Up Crested Gecko Morphs
The variety of morphs, colors, and patterns that exist in the crested gecko world are stunning. To have such a selection of bold, striking, and beautiful morphs means that breeders and lizard owners will never be bored with crested geckos.
The genetics of these lizards is an interesting and evolving area. Maybe one day we will meet another piebald crested gecko or even an albino one!
If you enjoyed this post on crested gecko morphs, why not check out this article on crested gecko breeding!
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