Crested Gecko Morphs, Traits, and Colors Guide
Crested geckos come in many different colors and patterns ranging from very light to nearly black, as well as many shades of creams and reds. They can be a solid color, or be heavily mottled, striped, or spotted.
In the wild, crested geckos are a range of brown colors with little to no pattern and are rarely seen with their tails past juvenile age. Although there are many colors and traits, crested geckos only have four confirmed genetic morphs,
Lilly White - Lilly white was discovered by the UK Based breeder, Lilly Exotics. They noticed offspring that possessed the lilly white gene would progress with lots of white as they aged. Lilly whites can often be identified at hatch by mostly white tails, raised lower lateral scales that are typically white with highlighted yellow scales, and white on the belly. Lower expression and phantom lillies may be harder to identify due to less white coverage. The shade of white may range from bright paper white to a more muted cream. Lilly white is an incomplete dominant gene, meaning 50% of offspring will be lilly. Breeding two lilly whites together is heavily frowned upon since 25% resulting “super lilly white” offspring are non-viable and will always die.
Red lilly White crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Axanthic - The axanthic gene reduces yellow pigment, resulting in a primarily gray, black, and white animal. Axanthic is a recessive gene, meaning offspring must inherit two copies of the gene to be axanthic.
Cappuccino - Described for the first time by Reptile City Korea, the cappuccino gene is traditionally a brown gecko with a few subtle clues that it could have the gene. Such as bright white on the tail at hatch (brighter than non-cappuccino counterparts), and reduction in orange/yellow pattern from baby to young adult. If not purchasing a cappuccino from a proven line, it can be very difficult to identify a cappuccino gecko as other non-cappuccino geckos can also have these traits.. Cappuccino is an incomplete dominant gene, with the resulting offspring of cappuccino x cappuccino being a super form, known as “super cappuccino”.
Cappuccino Crested Gecko - Celestial Exotics
Frappuccino - The combination of the cappuccino gene and lilly white gene. Frappuccinos tend to hatch with a brighter white than a regular lilly white, and have dramatic transformations by the time they reach adulthood such as white spotting on the head.
Frappuccino Crested Gecko - Celestial Exotics
Super Cappuccino - A “super” form of the cappuccino morph, created when two copies of the cappuccino gene are inherited. The resulting offspring is known as a “super cappuccino” This morph is known for looking rather alien, with smooth skin, limited head crests, and sometimes hatched with completely black eyes which fade to more standard over time. This morph is also associated with a few health concerns, such as small nostrils, and spectacle eye - a build up of fluid behind the eye causing bulging eyes.
Sable - The sable gene was found by a USA based breeder, Gecko Haven. Sable originates from Gecko Haven’s “Rialto” line. Sables are typically shades of brown, black, or gray with fluffy white pattern. Offspring seem to hatch with more tricolor colors and fade to black/gray/brown and white at maturity. Sable is an incomplete dominant gene. With the resulting offspring of sable x sable producing a “super sable”.
Patternless - Much like the name suggests, a patternless crested gecko lacks any pattern on their body. They are a solid color over their entire body.
Red Patternless Crested Gecko - Celestial Exotics
Bicolor- Similar to patternless, the bicolor crested gecko is typically one color throughout without any pattern. However, the dorsal on a bicolor is typically a different shade than the rest of the body.
Harlequin - A harlequin crested gecko will have a broken dorsal pattern with varying levels of pattern on the body and legs.
Harlequin crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Extreme Harlequin - An extreme harlequin is the extreme version of a harlequin with pattern continuing into the upper lateral often touching the dorsum.
Extreme harlequin crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Flame - Flame is the same trait as harlequin and extreme harlequin, but with lower pattern expression. Flame crested geckos will have pattern on their dorsum and may or may not have a small amount of pattern on their sides, but will have very little or no pattern on their legs
Flame crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Tricolor - As the name suggests, a tricolor has three distinct colors. Tricolors can be pinstripes, or harlequins, but must have 3 colors which are typically red, orange/yellow, and white, or brown/black/lavender, orange/yellow, and white.
Tricolor harlequin crested gecko - CelestialExotics
Halloween - The halloween crested gecko has two colors; black and orange. Ideally, these colors are true black and orange, not shades of brown and yellow, with very minimal to no white at all, to be a true halloween.
Halloween crested geckos - Celestial Exotics
Pinstripe - Pinstripe refers to the lines running on each side of the animal’s dorsum. Pinstripe crested geckos will have a straight line of raised pinstripe scales that are often highlighted a lighter color than the rest of the animal. A break, or multiple breaks in the pinstripe makes the animal a “partial pinstripe”, and a full, unbroken pinstripe is known as a “full pinstripe” or “full pin”.
Partial pinstripe crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Phantom Pinstripe - This trait can appear like a patternless or bicolor animal, but phantom pinstripe animals will have distinct raised pinstripe scales, but they will not be a different color from the body like a normal pinstripe. They can also have brindle/tiger like markings and portholes, or be lilly white. Phantom pinstripes also will often have a small white “Y” of highlighted pinstripe scales by the base of their tail.
Tiger phantom pinstripe - Celestial Exotics
Quadstripe - Quadstripe crested geckos have 4 lines, including a full pinstripe on their dorsum, and two full lateral lines running down their sides. Breaks in the lateral line result in the animal being called a “broken quadstripe” or “broken quad”.
Quadstripe crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Empty Back - Empty back animals have a pinstripe with darker pigment in their dorsum, making it appear “empty”
Emptyback crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Superstripe - Super stripe is similar to empty back, though these animals possess an empty stripe down their dorsum instead of the entire back being muted. This results in a very thick looking pinstripe with a line of darker color in the middle.
Dalmatian - Dalmatian spots can happen on any morph, and are spots of varying size on the animal. Spots can be black, red, or greenish and can range from small pinprick spots, to large ink spots or. Dalmatian crested geckos are often born with very few spots and gain more as they age.
Dalmatian crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Super Dalmatian - A super dalmatian is classified when there is visually a large number of spots on the animal. An animal with more than 100 individual spots is known as a super dalmatian, but more is better!
Super dalmatian crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Tiger/Brindle - Tiger and brindle are the same trait with varying expressions. Brindle will cause dark brindling over the base color of an animal and can range from very subtle to very noticeable. Tiger is a more extreme expression of brindle, where the pattern forms distinct stripes and often continues into the dorsum.
Brindle crested gecko - Ruckus Reptiles
Portholes - Portholes are white spots on the lateral of an animal, often found in the lower lateral, but may also be present in the upper lateral on animals with lots of portholes. This trait often begins with very small white spots as juveniles and the portholes will grow and “bloom” as the animal matures.
Patternless with portholes - Ruckus Reptiles
White Wall- White wall can often be mistaken for lilly white due to also having lots of white pattern right out of the egg. A white wall will have thick white coloration on the lower laterals that will be present immediately at hatch, and may even have signs of being a lilly such as white on the belly, feet, and a primarily white tail.. Often this color makes a “wall” up to the mid-lateral area, which is how it gets the name “white wall”. The tell tale difference between a white wall and a lilly white is one parent must be a lilly white to hatch a lilly white, the white on a lilly white typically spreads much more with age beyond the “wall” area, and lilly whites often have raised yellow scales within the white coloration on the laterals.
White wall crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Crested geckos can come in a range of different shades and colors. They will also change colors in a process known as "firing up" and "firing down". Often, their fired up color is darker and more vibrant, and their fired-down color is pale and more dull. A crested gecko's color is determined by their base (not pattern) color when the animal is fired up.
Dark crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Lavender crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Red crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
Yellow crested gecko - Celestial Exotics
To learn even more about crested geckos and their care, check out our Ultimate Crested Gecko Zen Guide! A comprehensive guide with enrichment, husbandry, and care for crested geckos.