Posted December 18th, 2011


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A glossary including definitions of various morphs, breeding terms, and more.
NOTE: The following was compiled in its original format by Roussis Reptiles and Tropical Vision.

- A -

aberrant - not normally patterned or colored, indifferent, irregular.

aestivation - the act of passing the summer or dry season in a dormant state.

albinism - the state of an animal where there is an absence or great decrease of melanin, referred to as “albino”

amelanistic - containing no melanin.

anerytheristic - a condition with generally only black, gray, and white colors, resulting in an animal lacking colors such as red and yellow.

aquatic - growing, living or found in water.

arboreal - living in the trees.

axanthism - the absence of yellow, referred to as “axanthic”.

- B -

blonde - a variant of a snake when the color is reduced to a straw/yellow color, seen in Trans Pecos Rat Snakes, Anacondas, and other animals.

brumation - the cooling period for reptiles and amphibians, similar to hibernation in mammals.

bumbleebee - the designer mutation found in Ball Pythons. Produced by crossing the Spider and Pastel morphs.

- C -

caramel - term often used to describe the T+ form of albinism in Ball Pythons and other animals.

carapace - dorsal side of shell of turtle.

clown - term used to describe a recessive condition in Ball Pythons and other species that results in a vibrant yellow coloration with abnormal head colors in most cases.

co-dominant - condition in which a certain trait can be reproduced by breeding the homozygous (see) animal to a normal and achieve 50% of the trait and 50% normal offspring.

colubrid - term used to describe all non python, boid, and venomous animals, such as Rat Snakes, Kingsnakes, Milk Snakes, and others.

- D -

dominant - condition in which a certain trait can be reproduced by breeding the homozygous (see) animal to a normal and achieve 100% of the respective co-dominant trait.

dorsal - the top side of an organism.

- E -

embryo - the very early most stage of an organism’s life, generally while the animal is still contained within it’s mother or inside an egg.

- F -

F1 - first generation offspring

F2 - second generation offspring

- G -

generic - a term used to describe a natural occurring morph that is achieved every clutch with no variation, or non-locaility (ex. Blair’s Phase Gray-Banded Kingsnake vs. Alterna Phase Gray-Banded Kingsnake).

genetics - study of heredity

ghost - a condition achieved by crossing a hypo with a anerytheristic, resulting in a snake with reduced or no yellow and no black, also incorrectly used in Ball Pythons to represent Hypomelanistic (see).

gravid - pregnant

- H -

herpetoculture - breeding/husbandry of reptiles and amphibians.

herpetology - study of reptiles and amphibians.

heterozygous - genetic term describing an animal that posses the gene for a recessive gene but does not show the trait, often referred to as a “Het”.

homozygous - shows the trait, has two of the (r) types in genetic makeup in which it shows the trait, can be recessive, dominant, co-dominant, etc…

hybrid - condition in which the hybrid animal is a cross between different species or animals with one or more heritable characters.

hypomelanistic - condition resulting in a snake lacking black and brown pigment.

hypopigmented - trait resulting in decreased amount of pigment.

- I -

incomplete dominant - when a mutation is “co-dominant” in expected results ratios (ex. Spider Ball Python x Normal is expected to produce 50% Spiders), not recessive, and cannot produce a “dominant” form (ex. as of 2003, a Super Spider cannot be produced, in other words, a Spider cannot be produced as of yet that can be bred to a normal and get 100% Spiders).

intergrade - term often used to describe a condition in which two species of the same genus “intergraded”, or bred, and produced liable offspring, which in turn are called intergrades.

ivory - a recent form of Leucistic (see). Produced by The Snake Keeper.

- J -


- K -

killerbee - the designer mutation found in Ball Pythons. Both a Super Pastel and a Spider at the same time.

- L -

lavender albino - a recent genetic mutation that displays a variant form of Albinism. Lavender Albino specimens appear to be “glowing” under a black light, showing a very purple/lavender coloration on top of being Albino.

leucistic - a condition when an animal appears all white in color, generaly has black or blue eyes.

- M -

melanin - black or brown pigments.

melanism - unusual increase in melanin, a specimen exhibiting melanism is referred to as melanistic.

morph - a condition, phase, or variant of a certain animal (ex. Black-Backed, Striped).

motley - term used in Boas and Corn Snakes referring to a snake that is either “spotted” or exhibits bullseye patter and/or exhibits a wider range of varience.

- N -

neurotoxin - poison that effects the nervous system.

nocturnal - active at night.

- O -

oviparous - animal that lays eggs.

- P -

patternless - a condition resulting in a generally one tone color animal (ex. Patternless Leopard Geckos show only pink or brown in adult form).

piebald - spotted, patched, or blotched colors, usually in black or white.

pinstripe - a condition in which the bands of the animal are reduced greatly to thin lines.

pinstripe (morph) - a morph seen in Ball Python resulting in greatly reduced black and increased brown pattern

- Q -


- R -

recessive gene - an allele that occurs only when two (r) are present in genetic make up (ex. Albino Ball Python, Axanthic Trans Pecos Rat Snake).

- S -

silver - this condition is termed silver due to the silver color of the animal, term most commonly used in Trans Pecos Rat Snakes, real name is Axanthic.

snow - a condition produced by crossing albino and axanthic or anerytheristic, in Ball Pythons it resultsin a two toned white snake with red eyes.

spider - a co-dominant condition in ball pythons resulting in pinstripe (see) black colors, and white bleeding up from the ventral side of the snake.

striped - condition in which the pattern contains abnormal striping, in most cases the condition is not genetic (i.e. Ball Pythons)

- T -

taxonomy - scientific naming of organisms.

terrestrial - living on the ground.

toxic - poisonous or pertaining to poison.

tyrosinase - the enzyme essential in development of melanin.

tyrosinase negative - albinism due to lack of tyrosinase.

tyrosinase positive - albinism form in which tyrosinase is able to be produced, but not melanin.

- U -

unilateral - found only on one side.

- V -

variant - differing from normal variation.

ventral - underside or lower side of specimen.

- W -


- X -

xanthic - increased yellow, often referred to as Caramel Albino or T+ Albino.

- Y -


- Z -


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