There are a variety of leopard gecko morph breeds available. While the number of leopard gecko morphs number over 100, there are primary combinations of several key morphs. New morph combinations are being discovered (or created) as breeders continue to experiment with selective breeding.
The High Yellow morph (described below) was one of the first recognized variations of the ‘normal’ or wild leopard gecko appearance. Morphs started coming into vogue in the mid 1990’s after Ron Tremper discovered a particular combination of breeding that yielded a leopard gecko lacking the characteristic black spots. This became known as the Tremper Albino, and was a breakthrough in captive bred selective breeding.
Since, leopard gecko breeders have developed all kinds of combinations to bring out different colors, stripes, spots, patterns, eye color, and even size.
When you see a leopard gecko morph listed as something like Mack Snow Tremper Albino Het Eclipse, what does all of that mean?
Types of Leopard Gecko Morphs
There are 4 main characteristics that differentiate morphs:
- Eye Color
In this post, we’ll describe some of the various types of morphs and their characteristics. First up:
“Normal” or wild leopard geckos display the characteristic black spots and yellow coloring that give the leopard gecko its name. Leopard gecko morph breeds include variations on the pattern to have bolder or a larger or sparser concentration of spots. Some morphs have stripes instead of spots, and some have no pattern at all.
Below is a list of some of the breeds and terms you may come across when browsing or discussing leopard gecko morphs:
Leopard gecko albinos have a lack of black pigment, as opposed to white skin and pink eyes normally associate albinism in other species.
Albinos are more light sensitive than most leopard geckos.
There are 3 distinct types of albino leopard geckos:
- Tremper Albino
- First albino morph breed discovered
- Has characteristic brown spots
- Rainwater Albino (Pictured above – also referred to as “Las Vegas“)
- Physically smaller than other albino morphs
- Usually lighter in color, and may tend toward pink hues
- Bell Albino (Texas Albino)
- Most recently discovered albino leopard gecko
- Characteristic coloring includes light pink eyes and a lavender hue
APTOR stand for Albino Patternless Tangerine Orange (not to be confused with the R.A.P.T.O.R which has solid red eyes.) APTORs are bred through a combination of the Eclipse, Patternless, and Tremper Albino morphs.
Baldy leopard geckos lack spotting on their heads, though have spots on the rest of their bodies.
Bandit morphs usually have less spots on their heads in favor a a few bold stripes or markings between their nose and eyes, resembling a bandit’s mask
Blizzard leopard geckos lack spots, banding, and patterns and characteristically have the solid black eyes of the eclipse morph.
Blizzards usually range from white to gray in color.
The Diablo Blanco is a striking combination of the Blizzard and the R.A.P.T.O.R. Discovered in 2006, Diablo Blancos have the lack of pattern and white color of the Blizzard, and get the red eyes from the RAPTOR.
Similar to Bandits, Halloween Mask morphs have bold patterns on their heads.
Jungle morphs have a collection of irregular strips and spots throughout their body and legs, much like jungle camouflage.
Also referred to as “Murphy Patternless” or “Leucistic.” As the name implies, geckos with this trait lack the typical spotting and patterns usually associated with leopard geckos
Different from Blizzards, Patternless leopard geckos often have orange coloring at the base of the tail, sometimes referred to as “carrot tail”
Stripes & Reverse Stripes
Striped morphs have a stripe of color with a dark outline down the length of the body from neck to tail, usually with a dark tail.
Reverse stripes are he opposite, having a dark strip lined with a lighter color, and usually a white tail.
The juvenile leopard gecko pictured here has strips running the length of its body, as well as down the sides of the tail.
Besides pattern (or lack of pattern), color is another key trait that can be manipulated by genetic breeding. Normal leopard geckos are typically yellow with black spots. These leopard gecko morph breeds offer a variety of choices in the color department.
Before creating new types of morphs became vogue, there was the High Yellow. High yellow was one of the first morphs discovered, and remains a fairly common morph. High Yellow morphs have fewer black spots and a deeper yellow color.
Mack Snow leopard geckos have little or no yellow/orange coloring
Melanistic leopard geckos are mostly black in color, like the Black Night Leopard Gecko shown here from cbreptile.com.
Tangerine leopard geckos have an orange color. There are variations referred to as “Carrot Head” or “Carrot Tail”, depending on where the orange color is concentrated.
The tangerine morph we see here from CB Reptile shows the orange coloring throughout.
Tangelos result from tangerine leopard geckos crossed with a Tremper Albino. The result is a white body with orange stripes or patterning.
Morph Eye Color
Eclipse geckos are notable in that their eyes are solid black. Eclipses are commonly combined with other morphs to produce a variation with black eyes.
When crossed with the Tremper Albino, there is a chance of producing a leopard gecko with solid red eyes
- Red-Eye Albino Patternless Tangerine Orange
- An APTOR is a RAPTOR without red eyes
- Bred through a combination of the Eclipse, Patternless, and Tremper Albino
Beyond patterns and colors, size is another physical characteristic that can be affected by genetics in several leopard gecko morph breeds.
Larger than your average leopard gecko, with males up to 110 grams and females up to 90 grams
The offspring of two giant leopard geckos can be a Super Giant. Super Giants, as the name implies are even bigger than the giants, ranging 110 to 130 grams at about 12 inches in length.
Thought the Super Giants were big? Godzilla morphs are the largest leopard geckos available.
Kind of Leopard Gecko Morphs – And so it continues...
This is not by any means a complete list of leopard gecko morphs available. Our goal here is to provide a solid overview of the most visually striking and common morphs you’re likely to encounter. New combinations and variants are being developed as breeders and enthusiasts alike continue selective breeding.
Many of these traits come from recessive genes, and even with careful planning there is a certain amount of luck involved over what genetic traits are visible. Some combinations take generations to produce (and are priced accordingly!)
It’s exciting to see the designer leopard geckos they’re producing.