Glossary of Bearded Dragon Related Terms
Adolescent Bearded Dragon:
Adult Bearded Dragon:
Albino Dragon: Technically not a breed, nor have they been successfully bred with any regularity, we simply wanted to designate their difference from translucents, hypos and marketed leucistics. While there is the chance of one day being able to consistently create albino dragons their mere existence requires special care as they are sensitive to being burnt by the UV light rays, the very same UV rays that their bodies rely on for healthy living. Some Albino dragons have come up by chance but there is very little evidence of them living into adulthood.
Alleles: An allele is the reference given to one of two or more forms of a gene. In a simple example where there are exactly two forms of a gene, designated A and B, this gene would have three combinations of alleles possible. AA, AB and BB.
More about Alleles:
Alleles – Wikipedia
American Smoothie: American smoothies are the US version of the leatherback bearded dragon. Technically this is a different breed designation as the American smoothie gene has actually been shown to be recessive where as the Italian leatherback is dominate. Therefore the gene that causes the American smoothie is actually believed to be a different gene all together.
American Silkback: Similarly to the Italian leatherbacks, two American smoothies bred together can create a super-form with the silky appearance like that of the Italian silkbacks. Rarely do breeders market dragons as American Silkbacks because they have become essentially obsolete with the availability of the proven Italian leather and silkback genes.
Baby Bearded Dragon:
Blue Morphs: Currently there are no true blue or purple morphs but it is a color being more commonly seen in some of the hypos being bred. Often referred to as bars on the back, you will see back patterns of blues and purples. Translucents are also showing lighter shades of blue and purple hues and tints.
Common Bearded Dragon: Common bearded dragons are most frequently known as the typical domesticated bearded dragon mostly coming from central bearded dragon decent. Sandy tan to even grey in color with lighter bellies and patches as well as darker patterns throughout.
Dunner Morph: Dunner Dragons are a new dominate morph with some rather strange traits. Originally bred by Kevin Dunn, these dragons have spikes that grow upward on the beard, spikes growing from left to right on underside instead of down. They have white striping that runs vertically along the tail instead of the typical horizontal pattern found on most dragons as well as conical spikes on their backsides. The gene has been proven dominate and co-dominate.
Domesticated Bearded Dragons:
Dominance (Genetic): Every bearded dragon carries multiple sets of genetic makeups compromising of genetic contributions by both the mother and father. These expressions passed from parent to offspring are known as phenotypes. From the previous example above using only two alleles, Lets call A the dominate trait and B the recessive trait. In this example let’s imagine the A trait is a normal bearded dragon and the B trait is a yellow morph bearded dragon. Those dragons with the allele combinations of AA would appear as normal. Because A is the dominate trait, dragons with the allele combinations of AB would appear as normal. Now Dragons with the Allele combination of BB would appear as yellow morph bearded dragons because they only have recessive traits.
More about Dominance in Genetics:
Dominance (Genetics) – Wikipedia
Dominant Allele (Genetic): In an allele set there are dominant alleles and recessive alleles. The dominate allele will nearly always be the trait physically displayed in bearded dragons. That is because, like the name literally states, this allele dominates over its counterpart the recessive allele. In a good example using eye colors and three homozygotes (carry only their specified eye color), we can demonstrate dominant alleles. Lets say that Brown eyes dominate all other eye colors, being represented as AA. Now lets say Blue eye colors dominate all other colors but Brown eyes, being represented as BB. Finally we have green eyes, which labeled as CC dominate no other colors. Using both a Male and Female of each color and pairing them each with each other once we can demonstrate how dominate alleles work.
In the examples below the male contributed the Allele on the left and female contributed the Allele on the right.
AA = Brown Eyes
AB = Brown Eyes Dominant, Blue Eyes Recessive
BA = Brown Eyes Dominant, Blue Eyes Recessive
BB = Blue Eyes
BC = Blue Eyes Dominant, Green Eyes Recessive
CB = Blue Eyes Dominant, Green Eyes Recessive
CC = Green Eyes
CA = Brown Eyes Dominant, Green Eyes Recessive
AC = Brown Eyes Dominant, Green Eyes Recessive
As demonstrated in the example, just because a gene is dominant in one set of alleles does not mean it will be dominate in a different set of alleles.
More about Dominance in Genetics:
Dominance (Genetics) – Wikipedia
Genes: A gene is the molecular level of heredity passed on from parent to offspring. It is the genes strung together that compromises the makeup of DNA.
More about Genes:
Genes – Wikipedia
German Giant: “German Giant” is most commonly in reference to a particular line of bearded dragons being bred in Germany with consistently exceptional size. These dragons have been crossed with all other sorts of morphs for a variety of appearances, but a true German Giant in unmistakeable when seen fully grown. It is said German Giant dragons may be the outcome of crossbreeding of the pogona vitticeps with a larger cousin.
Green Morphs: Green Morphs are most likely going to be the result of special coloration on a translucent dragon, perhaps crossed with a hypo. Often referred to as lime greens, these dragons have heavy hints of green throughout their entire bodies.
Homozygous: Homozygotes have two of the same alleles for that particular gene, and thus whether dominant or recessive, those with homozygous genes will always contribute alleles with the same appearance. In the example used above, the dragons carrying the allele sets of AA and BB would be considered homozygous.
More about Zygosity:
Zygosity – Wikipedia
Heterozygous: Heterozygotes have two different alleles of that particular gene and consequently could pass either allele to their offspring. That means that a dragon could appear as normal and yet carry the translucent gene, which it could then pass to its offspring. In the example used above, the dragons carrying the allele set of AB would be considered heterozygous.
More about Zygosity:
Zygosity – Wikipedia
Hypomelanistic: Hypomelanism is the term for a particular mutation in which the dragon creates black or darker pigments but can not transport them to the skin. This results in a significantly lightened color display on the bearded dragons as well as every single toe nail being clear in true hypos. The gene producing this hypo effect is recessive.
Hypo Morph: Typically short for “Hypomelanistic”
Italian Leatherback: Leatherbacks are a particular line of bearded dragons apparently discovered nearly by accident. An Italian breeder noticed some dragons with significantly less spiky scales then normal and bred them into what become the leatherbacks of today. Now leatherbacks are judged in quality by the quantity of spikes, lesser being considered a higher quality of a leatherback. The gene that creates the leatherback trait is dominate.
Leatherback: see Italian Leatherback
Leucistic Morph: Leucistic dragons appear white in color but in fact actually lack any pigments and you are merely viewing the natural color of pigment free skin. These dragons vary from hypos which are naturally lighter in color as well as other white based breeds because they do not have pigmentation showing anywhere in their body. True leucistic bearded dragons will have all clear nails, and even one colored nail would indicate that dragon is not leucisitic. Truth is there is no proof that a true leucistic exists and therefore the dragons currently being sold as leucistic are most likely simply marketed leucistics. With that said a marketed leucistic is most likely a very white hypo.
Melanin: Dark Pigments
The heaviest of pigments, melanin is the reason for anything of a dark color on the bearded dragon.
Orange Morphs: Many orange morphs are the outcome of the selective breeding of hypo dragons. Because hypos lack the darker pigmentation of a normal dragon, these allows for oranges to show through more vividly. Through generations of breed refinement, there are some intensely orange morphs available today whereas at first there was really no difference between red and orange morphs.
Paradox Morph: Paradox Morphs technically aren’t morphs in the sense the rest of our categories are. While still a genetic mutation, paradox morphs are not something readily replicated. The term paradox itself in this case means an unexplained variance in the genetic makeup, typically in a visual sense, of your bearded dragon. This can include illogical visual pattern breaks, spots, odd color variances, and just about anything else that is essentially “unexplained” in a genetic sense.
Recessive (Genetic): A recessive allele as outlined above is the trait being masked by the dominate allele, and even while its appearance is that of the dominant allele, it can still pass the recessive allele on to its offspring. This allele can then be paired with the other parent’s allele and become dominant, or be paired with the same allele, in which either case the previously recessive trait can now be physically demonstrated in the offspring.
More about Recessive Traits in Genetics:
Recessive (Genetics) – Wikipedia
Red Morphs: Red morphs like many colored bearded dragons typically come from hypo blood lines. Because hypos have such little dark pigment, colors like red can be allowed to bleed through far more vividly. Red is also becoming more common in the leatherbacks as breeders infuse the unique scaling with deeper coloration. With selective breeding, this coloration has become deeper and more saturated over time.
Silkback: Silkback morphs were first discovered by breeding a leatherback with another leatherback. This created approximately 25% Silkbacks, 50% Leatherbacks and 25% Normal Bearded Dragons. Silkbacks are defined by their near naked appearance. These dragons lack any sign of spiky scales and instead are covered in all circular and oval shaped scales with a smooth feeling. Because they lack the skins that grow into the tougher spiky scales on normal dragons, these dragons have skin that appears and almost feels “silky” soft. This trait is a super-form of the leatherback gene and therefore is dominant.
Tiger Morphs: Tigers are less color more pattern, but don’t really fall under the breed category. Tigers are defined by their tiger like patterns running down the sides of their bodies. Coming in various styles, typically you will see a striped vertical pattern. Some also have deeper more vividly red eyes.
Translucent: Translucent morphs are defined by the translucent appearance to their skin surface, most vividly viewable when younger. Translucent bearded dragons are actually the result of a genetic disorder that prevents the creation of white pigments in the dragons skin. Because dragons are typically more light than dark, this makes the rest of the body nearly translucent. When translucents are young you can actually sometimes see right through them in proper lighting.
Translucent morphs also have what appear to be all black eyes due to their lacking of lighter pigments. Some argue the purer the black, the more pure the translucent bloodline. These dragons look nearly demonic in the right color combinations. This gene is recessive and it is discouraged to breed two translucent dragons together as they lead to poor health in offspring as well as low fertility rates. Instead, breed a translucent to a dragon whom is heterozygous for translucent.
UV (Ultra Violet):
White Morphs: Typically white morphs are going to be of Hypomelanistic decent. The term “hypo” actually is a broader term that translates to “less than normal” and then “melanistic” being defined as dark pigments. Obviously if you lack dark pigments, there’s going to be excessive light pigments, often leading to breeds appearing vividly white in color.
Wild Bearded Dragons:
Yellow Morphs: Yellow morphs are frequently the result of hypo bloodlines as the lightness of the yellow is typically masked by darker pigments. Hypos lacking the darker pigments allow for light colors like yellow to really show and over generations of careful breeding there are numerous variations of yellow morphs from lemon heads to entirely yellow dragons with deep colored patterns.