What you need to know:
-The Morph Evaluation Process
-The Order of Description
This is a guideline to help everyone come to a common ground, improve communication, and create a better understanding between each other. It is meant as an updated reference that reflects the community as a whole as far as what is known about morphs and what we have learned from various respected locations. Pictures shown are quality examples meant to show pattern, color, structure, or all three.
The Morph Evaluation Process is important to understand because it creates a uniform approach to the morphing process and allows us to direct our attention to the specifics. Here are 5 easy steps that will help you determine a morph.
STEP 1-At what state do we describe a morph in question...Fired-up. What does fired -up mean? Fired up is when a geckos boldest colors are displayed. There are many things that cause a gecko to fire-up like stress, misting, or just becoming active. A lot of details come out when a crestie fires up and sometimes allows additional pattern to be easily seen. It’s also when they seem to be at the height of their visual impact. So step 1...Make sure the gecko is fired-up!
STEP 2- Pick a color description to use for the base color.
STEP 3- Decide on what color description to use for the pattern color.
STEP 4- Examine each pattern zone in detail with attention to placement, shape, and amount of pattern.
STEP 5- Look for any traits that may be in place.
Order of Description:
The order in which an official morph is described is called the Order of Description. Base color then Pattern color then Morph then Traits. For example a yellow gecko with orange stripes would be called a Yellow and orange tiger. A grayish gecko with yellow harlequin markings would be called a Grey and Yellow Harlequin.
Morph decisions come down to three things most of the time: Color, Pattern, and Traits.
Color can be hard to determine, especially when online and not in person, and will definitely be the most subjective area of every description. We can view color as an additional descriptor in a morph placement since it’s more the pattern side that determines a morph. Not to mention color changes in many ways with age, the shed cycle and environmental conditions. Some “Designer Morphs” include color in their "nicknames" to help highlight any developed traits or color schemes in a specific manner.
The Base color then pattern color of a gecko will be the areas described when including color in morph descriptions. The base color is basically the overall coloration of the gecko beyond the pattern.
It would be very helpful to make yourself aware of the various pattern zones that are included with morph descriptions including the following:
A- The top of the head.
B- The back. (Middorsal/Dorsal)
C- The top half of the sides. (Upper Lateral)
D- The bottom half of the sides. (Lower Lateral)
E- The legs. (Limbs)
Below is a great visual reference thanks to Jaybee!
Some Traits are not considered in morph placement since they are “independent” and can be found on various morphs. Any of the following may be present on a crested gecko and not affect their morph placement:
-Dalmatian spots -Fringing -Knee caps -Portholes -Pinstripes -White walls -Blushing -Furred -Crowned -Exaggerated crests
Crested Geckos have a very wide range of color, pattern and traits with a seemingly endless possiblity of combinations that opens the doorway for serious breeders to an excitingly beautiful world of Morphs. Crested geckos are relativly new when it comes to the animal world only being rediscovered no more then 20 years ago after being thought extinct. This has not allowed scientists the time needed to prove out any traits so when it comes to crested geckos, traits are not genetically connected to the morphs. Once they are it is possible many things will change but until then we try to maintain a logical approach and come to a universal standard that can be accepted by a majority of the gecko communtiy. Dedicated breeders have a very good idea what they can produce and which traits seem to breed true.
Morph Related Terms.
Here is an ongoing list of terms brought into question throughout the morph guide project. Whenever you come across something you don’t understand you can check here. If you don’t find what you were looking for just bring it up and we can add it in. If you come across something that may be false, please bring it up so we can straighten it out.
Morph- A common description for a trait or group of traits. A visual or behavioral difference between organisms of distinct populations in a species.
Trait- A trait is a distinct variant of a phenotypic character of an organism that may be inherited, environmentally determined or somewhere in between. Colors, patterns, dalmatian spots, white fringe, and pinstriping are all traits. Some traits like dalmatian spotting are independent and can be commonly seen on a variety of morphs
Clean- No dalmation spots
Order of Description- The order in which an offical morph is described. Base color x Pattern color x Morph x Traits