May 13, 2019 6 min read
Welcome to the definitive crested gecko morph guide! The traits and types of crested gecko morphs listed below are here to help clarify any confusion within the crested gecko hobby. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or need help deciding on which morph you like the best, this morph guide is for you!
Thanks to the input of several other crested gecko breeders and enthusiasts across the globe, we have put together a list of traits most commonly seen in the hobby. This guide will refer to traits and morphs commonly seen in the current world of crested geckos.
Take a look at the areas highlighted in the picture below as most traits in this guide will reference specific parts of a crested gecko's body.
Keep in mind that crested geckos can appear to change color, though they do not change colors like a chameleon. The term for this color change seen in crested geckos is "fired up", or flamed. Fired down would be the term for a crested gecko that appears pale or muted in color. The morphs and traits listed below will be much more apparent when the gecko is fired up, so to best represent traits being described, most of the geckos pictured in this guide will be fired up.
A solid, or patternless, crested gecko is exactly what you'd expect, a pattern-less gecko. There may be some slight fringing or row of cream colored scales along the back of the hind legs, but otherwise, the gecko is one solid color. Patternless cresteds vary in color from the old-school buckskin brown to olive, yellow, orange, red, dark brown-black, and cream.
A bicolor morph is a gecko with two colors, one being the base color. The other, lighter color, is usually found running along the back, or dorsal, of the gecko. Bicolor crested geckos express the same variety of colors as patternless, but with a less contrasted pale hue along the dorsal area.
A tiger crested gecko will have a lighter base color with darker bands that run almost vertical from the back (dorsal) down the sides of the gecko. This morph appears on a variety of colors similar to patternless and bicolors, but most often available in a shade of brown or beige.
Some tigers may have more pronounced and thicker vertical lines. Tiger crested geckos that display this pattern when fired up are often referred to as a "Bold Stripe Tiger".
Brindles are very similar to tigers except for the bands of pattern don't run up and down, but are broken with a more marbled look.
Much like bicolors, flame crested geckos will have a base color with a more defined lighter color along the back of the gecko. The key difference between flames and bicolors is the secondary color will be more contrasted and will always be lighter compared to the base color. Flames will show little to no pattern on their laterals or limbs. Describing specific colors will always include the body/leg color before the secondary color. Examples: red and yellow, black and cream, yellow and cream, etc. Here is where we really will start to see different color combinations and morphs. See a mocha flame, and a yellow flame pictured below.
Flame crested geckos can display various patterns along their dorsal that could be solid in color, or unique staggered patterns. A chevron flame crested gecko will have a chevron, or V-shaped, pattern along the dorsal area.
Harlequin crested geckos are much like flames, but with more pattern. Harlequins will show significantly more pattern along the sides (laterals) and legs. Harlequins and flames can appear in a wide variety of colors like red and creams, tri-colors, which will show 3 distinct colors (see full description below), and almost endless shades of yellow and orange.
Building off of harlequins, extreme harlequins have even more pattern! The contrasting color will cover more of the gecko's upper lateral area. Patterns seen on extreme harlequins will most often connect the dorsal pattern to the lateral, or sides.
Building off of the traits listed above, there are many traits that can appear along with patternless, bicolor, tigers, brindles, flames, harlequins and extreme harlequins.
Pinstripe is somewhat of a debateable trait, though these days it is generally accepted as a "structural trait". The raised scales that crested geckos are most famous for can run down the entire length of their body connecting almost entirely to the tail.
These raised scales can be highlighted with a cream color, or not. When the scales are highlighted, they can be more accurately described as "cream pinstripes".
If the rows of pinstripe scales do not connect the head to the tail, this would define a partial pinstripe.
Partial pinstripes can also be seen as semi-uniform dashed lines, aptly named "Dashed Pin Stripes".
Quad pinstripes will have the standard pinstripe pattern or structure, with the addition of two well defined lines along the top of the lower lateral area of the crested gecko's body. These lateral stripes should span the majority of the area between the gecko's front and hind legs as a continuous line.
Reverse pinstripes are non-structural stripes visible when the gecko is fired up. A dark stripe will be visible along the very top of the lateral area, but just beneath the dorsal or pinstripe scales. Phantom pinning can be in addition to other pinstripe traits listed above.
Phantom pinstripes will have a darker colored row of scales, and will often times be seen on geckos with the reverse pinstripe trait. Phantom pins can be full, partial, or dashed much like the traits listed above.
This trait describes the raised scales along the edges of the dorsal area. As pinstripe crested geckos have a uniform line of raised scales, "furry" crested geckos will have similarly raised scales with a more sporadic arrangement.
This trait can be seen on all crested geckos regardless of other visible traits. Dalmatian spots are defined as black or spots varying in size. Hatchlings don't always show their spots at young ages but may have pale patches where dalmatian spots can develop with age.
A crested gecko could be described as a Dalmatian when visible clearly defined spots are seen that are dispersed across the majority of the gecko. A few spots here and there may not justify "dalmatian" as an accurate description
Dalmatians can also display spots larger than normal. Big spotted dalmatians show at least a handful of larger diameter spots. Inkblot/ink spots describe big dalmatian spots that have an irregular shape.
The popular Super Dalmatian (pictured below) is a dalmatian morph with any significant number of spots. Super Dals can show an extreme number of spots, but many will have a fair number of spots across their entire body.
This is a color trait referring to the base color that can be found on flames, harlequins, and extreme harlequins. When the gecko is unfired or fired down, the base color will have a blue-ish to purple hue. Fired up, this base color will turn a near black and can still show a faint blue hue.
A drippy crested gecko has a pattern that "drips" downward from the dorsal. Some breeders and crested gecko owners claim that the pattern must have some degree of cream in order to actually be called a drippy. Think of stalactites and stalagmites: if the pattern appears to be going from the bottom upward, it's an extreme harlequin. If the pattern goes from the top (dorsal) down, it's drippy. An extreme harlequin can also express the drippy trait.
Solid back crested geckos have a completely solid dorsal pattern. Solid back, or solid cream backs, can appear on flames, harlequins, and extreme harlequins. Other traits such as drippy, or pinstripe can be found in combination with the solid back trait. Partial, or broken, solid backs will have a slight degree of missing pattern.
Crested geckos referred to as "tricolor" show three distinct colors. Tricolor patterns can be seen on a variety of geckos with different base colors from red to black.
Though tricolor can be a bit of a subjective morph, many breeders currently in the hobby are labeling geckos as tricolor only when each distinct color represents a roughly a third of the overall color/pattern on the gecko.
White wall crested geckos will have a solid block of white cream color on the lower lateral section. The area of white cream should be solid and appear unbroken with a distinct line separating the block of cream color from the rest of the pattern and/or base color - think of old-school white wall tires.
What colors come to mind when you think of Halloween? Black and orange. Some subtle variation in the orange coloring is accepted, however, any defined yellow or cream colors should not be visible.
This morph was originally reserved only for geckos with an orange and cream/white pattern, much like the orange and cream frozen dessert. Lately, many breeders are labeling geckos as creamsicles when the base pattern is either a vibrant yellow or orange paired with a white-cream pattern. Creamsicles can be any variation of harlequin, extreme harlequin, or flame, and are often seen displaying other traits such as pinstripe, dalmatian, solid back, etc.