Crested Gecko Genetics: The Secrets of Spots and Stripes

A close up shot of a juvenile lilly white crested gecko on moss

The Crested Gecko species is known for a dazzling array of colors and patterns, and maybe you’ve heard lots of fancy gene terms like “Cappuccino” or “Sable” or “Hypo”, but have you ever wondered what creates these unique appearances? It all boils down to a fascinating secret language: genetics!

Think of genetics like a special code that determines everything about a living thing, from its eye color to its fur pattern. In the world of crested geckos, this code dictates the colors and markings we see on their skin.

Here’s a simplified breakdown:

A close up shot of a juvenile lilly white crested gecko on moss

Imagine Tiny Instructions

These instructions, called genes, are the building blocks of all life and they work together to create all of your gecko’s features. Everything from the funny little eyelash crests to the exact distribution of scales, is completely controlled by genes! Genes work together like a pack of colored pencils to fill out the coloring sheet, in this case your gecko’s patterns and base colors!

A juvenile lilly white crested gecko climbs a mossy wall

Mix and Match

Just like mixing paint colors, different combinations of genes lead to different patterns and colors. Sometimes, when you mix in a color it doesn’t show up exactly like how you think it will. In the case of Crested Geckos, we call this “muddy” base colors! If you’ve heard the term “Het” or “Heterozygous“, these terms really describe non-visual carriers of a gene. Some morphs like Axanthic and Phantom can pass on the genes to an animal that may not actually look like the morph, but they can pass those genes on to babies that can look like the morph! Read more about what Non-Visual/Het actually means here: Foundation Genetics – Het

A lilly white crested gecko juvenile sits on a mossy branch

Beyond Color Mixing

Sometimes, these genes interact in surprising ways, creating even more unique and complex combinations. This is why some crested geckos have stripes, spots, or even a combination of both! There’s even different kinds of stripes, like Pinstripes, Quadstripes, Super Stripes, and Partial Pinstripes. Some genes can mix with other genes, for example, a Tricolor and a Lilly White can create a Tricolor Lilly White baby! Understanding these basic principles can help you appreciate the incredible diversity of Crested Geckos. It’s like having a secret decoder ring to unlock the fascinating story behind their unique appearances!

Please Note: This is just a simplified explanation to help you understand the general genetics you might see in your Crested Gecko. The world of genetics is vast and complex, but hopefully, this gives you a taste of the incredible science behind the beauty of Crested Geckos! You can learn more about this amazing species by visiting our blog, right here!

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