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 Post subject: Morphs?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:47 am 
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EGG
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hey ya spent 3 hours so far today looking around on how morphs are created? but it seems to be a subject that has no answers

i just find it extoradary that the morphs are so much different. e.g. Yellow -> Snow thats a big colour change.

im not looking to bread in the near future just want to feed my brain with some information :)

anyinfomation or links would be good

Thanks

Maddy

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:37 pm 
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Andy and Rick, our experts are probably the best people to advise you and I'm sure they will, as soon as they are on :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:14 pm 
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I dont know how morphs are made, but I think that one of micheals dragons(shrek) is a morph. ask him, he might know.


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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:15 pm 
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Both Shrek and Fi are supposed to be morphs, but as most morphs have clear toe nails I'm not too sure. Love them anyway, but didn't sell their offspring as morphs. To be quite honest didn't know how to describe them!

I don't know how you get morphs in the first place - I mean they all had to start from nicely coloured normals being bred to each other, and gradually strengthening the colour of the strain until it could be guaranteed that all the offspring would carry those characteristics.

Some true morphs, such as Sandfires, come with a certificate to prove their breeding. Some beardies are sold as 'sandfires' as they look like they have similar colouring, but unless they have a certificate are not true sandfires. (hope that makes sense!).

Andy and Rick will be able to give you more detail.

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:47 pm 
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I don't know how you get morphs in the first place - I mean they all had to start from nicely coloured normals being bred to each other, and gradually strengthening the colour of the strain until it could be guaranteed that all the offspring would carry those characteristics.

Basically that's all there is to it. Pick a pair with the colour you want and breed, obviously you use as many as possible to prevent major inbreeding, but at the end of the day it's simple selective breeding.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:22 pm 
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There are two ways you can get morphs.

First is the way Rick described - if your "goal" is a red beardie, you take the reddest beardies you can find (remember that they have a huge wild range, with a variety of soil / rock colours, so wild beardies will show some variation in colour). Breed them together, select only the reddest offspring, and breed those to some other red beardies.

It's a little more complex than that though, as you also have to keep your lines genetically healthy. Inbreeding is a very complex topic - much too complex to go into all of the details of it here. It can work well; it can go horribly wrong - it all depends how much the breeder understands the concepts behind it, and how money-driven they are. It may work out that the reddest baby in a given clutch shows slow growth, or is generally weaker. A responsible breeder won't breed from it, even though it's the reddest of the clutch. An irresponsible breeder who wants the reddest dragons regardless of how "strong" they otherwise are may breed from it, in which case you may start to see problems down the line, especially if inbreeding is done and the "weakness" is present to some extent in most of the genetic line. Essentially you can get problems with inbreeding, but you can also get problems without inbreeding; it all depends how responsible a breeder you are.


The second way to get a "morph" is to accidentally find a new genetic mutation that causes a dramatic change - in beardies the common examples are 'Hypo', 'Leatherback / Silkback', 'Albino' and 'Translucent'. You can't "make" one of these short of genetic engineering / exposing embryos / eggs to mutagens (e.g. high doses of radiation); as far as I'm aware no-one has done this.

The two types of morph can be combined - e.g. a 'Hypo' can be selectively bred to get rid of the colour and pattern. This is how something like a 'snow' came to be. It started out as a single chance mutation (just luck, humans had nothing to do with 'creating' it). Offspring showing that trait were then selectively bred to get them paler and paler. Thus humans had a hand in 'creating' this part of the morph.


Trish - I don't know where the idea that most morphs have clear nails has come from... Only Hypo-based morphs (either simple recessive or line-bred Hypo) and probably albino would necessarily have clear nails. Most true morph beardies have dark nails - look a Millie's nails in this photo. She's a high-end Citrus from the US, but has jet-black nails:

Image

The reds are the same; they all have jet-black nails unless they are also hypomelanistic.

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Hey - thanks Andy! :oops: :oops: I must have picked up the wrong info about clear nails.

Glad we've got the experts around on here. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Webmaster wrote:Hey - thanks Andy! :oops: :oops: I must have picked up the wrong info about clear nails.

Glad we've got the experts around on here. :lol:


I've heard a lot of people on various forums saying it but I've no idea where the idea itself came from or why!

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:46 pm 
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What I get stumped with is how to describe colours? Shrek parents were a hypo red and a yellow, and the Fi's were a pastel lime and a yellow. Shrek turned out yellow, and Fi pretty much a normal! So is that how I would describe them?

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Webmaster wrote:What I get stumped with is how to describe colours? Shrek parents were a hypo red and a yellow, and the Fi's were a pastel lime and a yellow. Shrek turned out yellow, and Fi pretty much a normal! So is that how I would describe them?


Unless they have "pure" ancestry (ie their parents were both 100% Blood Red etc), I'd probably describe them as visually appear are but make a note as to their parents, as it's possible that they will be hiding colour traits - any kind of "Red x Yellow"-type cross will produce a variety of colours, from normal-looking to very vibrant. If you bred these normal-looking beardies back to a high-red beardie, you may find that the offspring are redder than you'd expect them to be, due to the red ancestry not being expressed in the "middle" beardie, but being brought back out when that beardie is bred to a pure red. Again, it's the concept of hidden het genes, but on a much larger (numerical) scale, with each gene having a smaller effect than something like the Hypo gene.

If Shrek's parent was actually a clearnails hypo ("hypo red" is often used for beardies that had a hypo ancestor so isn't always a good indicator of whether or not the beardie was really hypo), then shrek would be "red x yellow, het-hypo". Pastel lime is usually a posh synonym for "prettily-patterned-normal", so Fi would be the equivalent of normal x yellow, which often looks normal.



Although it doesn't directly answer the question, this is a post I put up on another reptile forum a few weeks ago where I tried to sum up my personal feelings about the "morph situation". It stemmed from someone asking why there is no list of beardie morphs, when you can make morph lists for things like Royals / leopard geckos:

HadesDragons wrote:Royals and leos are easier because most of their morphs are due to single mutations that have large effects e.g. "Enigma" is a single locus, "BEL" is a single locus etc (albeit with more than two alleles at the locus - most "morph" loci only have two distinguishable alleles; "wild-type" and the "morph"). Something like "Blood Red" in a beardie might consist of 20 different genes at 20 different loci!!

Starting with the "noticable" single-gene mutations:

Leatherback / Silkback (co-dom; het / homo forms respectively)
Albino (recessive, confined to Australia due to the export ban)
Clearnails-Hypo (recessive)
Translucent (recessive)



Of the selectively-bred traits, often different "tags" are used to describe what is essentially the same animal. Often these "tags" are created by a breeder who wants to make their dragons seem more "unique" - something like "high yellow", "citrus", "sunburst", "super citrus" etc etc could all describe the same dragon - they are a lemony yellow. With so many different names, and the fact that selectively-bred morphs are highly subjective, it would be impossible to name all of the names that they can take. It might be more feasible to group them into categories though - these are a few of the categories that I tend to think of dragons as being in - it's probably not a definitive list though...


"Dragons with some colour, but low-saturation" - these are "wild type" (aka "normal"); virtually all dragons are of this type. Beardies have a large wild range, with a variety of different surfaces. Evolution has shaped some local population of dragons to blend in better, so some degree of red, orange and yellow etc can be seen in the wild. Not all wild beardies are grey / brown!!

"High-saturation Lemony-Yellows" - these are your Citruses, Sunbursts etc

"Duller Yellows" - Yellow, Yellow phase, some Golds etc

"High-saturation reds" - these are Blood Red, Red Flame, Chris Allen etc. I personally only class bright red dragons in this group; I know a lot of breeders sell dragons that are more like the colour of dried blood as "Blood Red" though, so again, it's pretty subjective.

"Lower-saturation reds / dull reds" - I'd call these Red Phase or similar; other breeders would disagree though...

"White" - the majority of these dragons are based around the recessive Hypo gene, although it would be possible to selectively breed for 'poly-loci hypomelanism' (the same way you'd selectively breed for e.g. increased red, you could breed in reverse for reduced brown), which may account for some of the dark-nailed brilliant white dragons around in the US. Either that or there is a second mutant allele at the "Hypo-Clearnails" locus that causes the appearance of a hypo without causing clear nails. I'd probably guess at the former. Names include Snow, Leucistic, Hypo Snow, Ice etc...


Added to those, there are selectively-bred patterns, such as "Purple Tiger Stripe" etc. Much like a tiger, I would say they should be orange; I wouldn't say that a normal-coloured beardie with heavy side bars was a "tiger" - as always it's in the eye of the beholder though.

Also worth a mention would be the "German Giants". Their origin is shrouded in mystery, although I would say it's likely that they are a hybrid of P. vitticeps and the larger P. barbata; the Germans were apparently playing around with crossing the two species around the time that GGs first appeared. Virtually all dragons listed as "German Giant" nowadays are scarcely different to normal beardies, possibly just with some hybrid blood in them. Almost none of them will get any larger than regular beardies, and stories of 24"+ beardies are almost always unsubstantiated. The largest dragon alive now that I've ever seen a reliable measurement of was 23" long and had no "German Giant" ancestry. A few "pure" lineages are still around in the US, and are characterised by the dragons apparently being a bit more fiesty than usual, and laying large clutches of eggs. "Vittikins" dragons are a hybrid of P. vitticeps and P. henrylawsoni. A dragon doesn't have to be 50% Inland and 50% Rankin to be a "vittikin" - a dragon that has a great, great, great, great, great grandparent that was a Ranking and the rest of it's family tree as Inlands is still a hybrid and thus is still a "vittikin".



Colours can combine with the 4 "noticable" single-locus mutations I listed earlier, and those 4 can also combine with one another - e.g. "Blood Red Leatherback", "Hypo Citrus", "Hypo Leatherback" etc.



To make things even more confusing, names of individual breeders are also added into the mix. "Sandfire" is a breeder; what is often (erroneously) called a Sandfire dragon is usually a high-end Red x Gold dragon from the Sandfire Ranch. From what I've managed to find out, when beardie morphs first appeared, Sandfire were one of the first breeders to popularise them, and had a range of different colours. At trade fairs in the US, other breeders saw the Sandfire Ranch selling Red x Gold beardies that looked similar to theirs. They jumped on the bandwagon and called their beardies "Sandfire", even though they had nothing to do with the actual breeder. From there it spread. This is taken from the Sandfire website and shows what a true "Sandfire Red / Gold" should look like, along with a warning about "fakes":

Image



Crossing lines makes things even harder; unless you have two "pure" parents and know their ancestry, it's impossible to determine what a baby should be called as so many of the "morphs" will produce the same thing when combined e.g. a "Citrus x Blood Red" often looks the same as a "Red Flame x Sunburst", which will often look the same as a "ChrisAllenRed/RedFlame/HypoRedxCitrus/Sunburst/SuperCitrus" (and yes, I have seen a dragon that was called that...)

A general rule with crosses involving selectively bred traits is that the offspring will show characteristics of both parents, but to a lesser extent. For example, a Red crossed to a Yellow will produce babies that have both red and yellow colours, but neither colour will be as bright in the baby as it is in the respective parent; the colours are essentially "diluted" by the cross, as less of the "colour genes" are homozygous in the babies.

This is made more complicated if one parent has ancestry in another line. For example, if a dragon that appears Yellow has a Red grandparent, it may be carrying single copies of recessive Red-pigment genes. When crossed to a suitable red, these genes may for homozygous pairs which would result in a dragon that shows more red than expected - as I said that's pretty complex, but it does give you an idea of why beardie colours are so hard to predict, and why naming them as a definitive "morph" is all but impossible unless you know the ancestry of the parents...


Apologies if that throws up more questions than it answers - post back if you want me to try and clarify anything, or if you have different ways of looking at things!

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:28 am 
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remember that they have a huge wild range, with a variety of soil / rock colours, so wild beardies will show some variation in colour

Here's a prime example, how would you describe this colouration?

Image

Regretfully he turned the wrong way and was clipped by a wheel (you don't swerve to avoid them at 100 kmh towing a caravan!) I've seen captive bred fetching quite a nice price with this bright a colour. Just to confuse the matter here's a shot of the surrounding area, you'd have thought he'd be a little redder,

Image

Open woodland.

And a close up of the soil/surface.

Image

The stumpy tail was apparently not happy about being disturbed during his lunch.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:03 am 
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That was the point I was trying to get across - in the UK that beardie would probably be called "Red Phase", but you'd get some people wanting to give it a "Blood Red"-esque specific morph name, when in reality you could find one identical in the wild, so technically it could still be called "wild type"...

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Thanks Andy - that was really interesting. As you know I didn't describe Shrek and Fi's babies as anything - just showed what the parents were, as I had no idea what the babies would turn out like. Stumpy though is definitely showing more red than I would have expected, which must be down to his grandfather! I would have expected the babies to be yellow, as they had three grandparents with yellow in them!

Must be really exciting having a larger breeding stock to see what you end up with!

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R.I.P Shrek and Stumpy - you are sadly missed.

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Hey Rick Sophie says your 'stumpy tail' is a blue tongued skink althougth the feet are quite stocky. I thought they were quiet cute actually :D

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 Post subject: Re: Morphs?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:03 pm 
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Yeh, that's what I said it was :lol: Here's a little bit about them for you

http://www.austmus.gov.au/factsheets/bl ... lizard.htm

Rick

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