A morph refers to an animal's pattern and colour and can also refer to the structure of the body. Of the former Rhacodactylus family the crested gecko is probably the best known for its colours and patterns but other geckos from New Caledonia also have different morphs.
The crested gecko is a species which is being bred to be a designer gecko which means that people are trying to produce new colours and patterns all of the time. Most crested geckos have white or pale fringes along the backs of their legs, they also have paler tails often giving the impression of bird poo on the tail which is no doubt for camouflage in the wild; also have pale or even white edges to their bottom jaws. Crested geckos can change colour depending on time of day, temperature and moods but they can only go lighter or darker shades of the base colours. When a gecko is at its brightest it is said to be 'fired up'.
Buckskin - a brown gecko of various shades sometimes as light as a pale beige but can be almost black
Yellow - in various shades
Red - in various shades
Orange - in various shades and can include even pinkish specimens
Green - usually an olive shade but some can be brighter
Below are some photos of some of my crested geckos to demonstrate colour morphs.
This is Chilli one of my buckskin crested geckos
This is Saffron a yellow crested gecko
Cherry is a red/orange morph
Bi-Colour - a gecko which is one colour but with two tones, where the body is one shade, and along the back and head is another.
Brindle - is a more exaggerated form of a tiger, with more stripes which are thinner.
Dalmatian - this can be any of the other morphs with distinctive spotting, the spots are usually black but can be brown, green or red and occasionally white.
Flame - this is a gecko with a pale section of colour running down the head and between the crests along the back, the body colour is usually a different colour, they often have a similar colour to the colour on the back on their sides but not all have this, the background colour is usually olive or brown, but can be any colour.
Harlequin - this is exactly the same as the flame but with extra patterning on the legs and the flanks (sides) the harlequin and flame morphs are often mistaken for each other and it sometimes takes an experienced eye to tell the difference.
Extreme harlequin - this is the same as a harlequin but the colouration on the side of the gecko is extended to the dorsal area and covers a much larger area than a harlequin.
Patternless - a gecko which is all one colour, it may have a very faint pattern though not distinctive.
Pinstripe - this is usually a flame or harlequin pattern with two lateral stripes running from the head down to the tail along the crests, this is usually a much lighter colour than the rest of the gecko; if the stripes are of a darker shade than the rest of the gecko then this is known as reverse pinstriping; a gecko which has breaks in its pinstripes are said to have 'partial pinstripes' but it should have at least 50% pinning to qualify as a partial pin.
Phantom pinstripe - the same pattern as a pinstripe except there is no colour on the pins.
Tiger - a gecko with a solid colour but with distinctive striping running from the back round to the belly, sometimes the head can also be striped, the striping is usually a darker shade of the background colour.
A bi-colour crested gecko
This is Cinnamon one of our adult females she is an extreme harlequin.
A Patternless - this is my old female Spice she is at least 18 years old and is an F1, which means she is the offspring of some of the original wild collected geckos. As you can see she is a big chunky female and has a lovely broad head and quite large crests, which is something I feel has been lost through the years of crested breeding in some collections.
This is Lucifer who is a 100% Pinstripe - bred by The Urban Gecko
The same gecko also has the lateral line, on some harlequins the pattern on the flanks is in a solid almost straight line.
This is Acer our home bred yellow/orange phantom pinstripe male crested gecko.
This is Peanut who is an orange tiger morph. She is the first crested gecko that I first bred.
These are the characteristics which affect the body and head crests.
Crowned - this is where the temporal crests are larger than normal and can sometimes even hang down, this makes the head wider than an average crested gecko so they have a head length less than 1.3 times the width.
Furry - this is where the crests along the back are enlarged and give the appearance of 'fur.'
Reverted - these geckos have a head length 1.5 times or more than the width of the head, this shows in the crests being reduced or even absent altogether, some people class these as a negative trait and do not like to breed from these geckos as the it may be passed on.
Phantom pinstripe - also known as patternless pinstripe. This is a structural morph rather than a colour morph like the pinstripe. It is basically a pinstripe gecko where the pattern is absent but the raised pinstripe scales are present; also there is usually traces of lateral striping. The pinstripe scales are the crests that run from the neck down to the tail. The main difference between these and 'normal' crested geckos is that the dorsal crest scales are raised up and spiky rather than small rounded scales as most crested gecko have. It is a newly described morph which has caused some controversy as some people do not consider it to be a morph at all.
Cactus - showing the furry trait, he also has a very broad head and large crests, which some would class as crowned.
This is a home-bred Phantom pinstripe Nightshade. She was produced by breeding a pinstripe (Parsley) with an orange tiger with partial pinstipes and some dalmatian spots (Ginger).
This next picture is the same gecko but clearly shows the raised scales along the dorsal crests.
These are newer colours and patterns which are man made through selective breeding, and are very desirable. Breeders of these types are always trying to improve on them. Pinstriping is often considered a designer morph but I have included in in the pattern section as it has been known to occur in wild specimens but not to the same extent for example partial pinstriping not a full pinstripe.
Blonde - this is a gecko with a very dark background colour (black/dark brown the darker the better) with the flame/harlequin pattern being white/cream (the paler the better)
Halloween - this is generally a harlequin, flame or pinstriped crested gecko with orange and dep brown/black colouration.
Tricolour - this is generally a harlequin or pinstripe with three distinct colours - usually yellow/orange, brown/black and white/cream.
Creamsicle - is a gecko with the flame or harlequin pattern but with an orange background and yellow, cream or white pattern on the back and head.
Green flame/ harlequin - this is as it sounds a harlequin crested with a greenish background instead of the usual olive or brown. Red flame/harlequin - this is a red background and usually has a yellow or cream pattern down its back and head.
Moonglow - this is an almost white gecko. Moonglows are thought to be a bit of a myth as some geckos when unfired may appear white however when they do fire up they will change to a darker colour.
This hatchling is a home bred Halloween morph.
This is Acacia who is a fantastic tricolour crested gecko.
Lucerne at the bottom of this picture is a blonde harlequin and the female is an extreme harlequin.
Willow is a lovely example of a home bred creamsicle
This is a crested gecko that I bred myself and she is a red harlequin.
This is actually a buckskin gecko that sometimes looks like what some would call a moonglow.
Gargoyle gecko Morphs.
Grey/Silver - this can be shades of white right through to almost black.
Brown - in various shades
Red - this is usually not a background colour but in markings on the gecko
Yellow - in various shades
Orange - in various shades
Patternless - a gecko of one colour and no distinctive markings.
Reticulated / marbled - this is a morph which has a background colour with an overlaying darker markings which are mottled sometimes this mottling can be arranged in such a way that bands occur across the back of the gecko.
Striped - this is a gecko which has stripes running from the base of the neck right down the tail, these stripes are usually quite high contrast, sometimes even being black and white.
This is a hatchling reticulated/marble with a brown background.
This is a brown and yellow striped gargoyle gecko.
This is a brown and cream gargoyle gecko.
This is an orange striped gargoyle gecko.
This is a red striped gargoyle gecko.
Jasper is the main breeding male gargoyle and he is an orange blotched reticulated gargoyle gecko.
This is a hatchling orange blotched gargoyle gecko sired by Jasper.