Morphs & Projects – What’s the Diff?!?

Sometimes breeders, ourselves included, give a title such as "Xander Mardi Gras" or "Dirty Line" to describe a particular group of geckos. Titles like these are used to describe Projects, not Morphs. So why do we do it? To cause mass confusion? To make a gecko seem fancier so we can bump up the price? Not quite. Project titles can be a very useful tool...not just to the breeders, but to our customers as well. Read on to find out why we title our Projects, how Projects are different than Morphs, and how all of this info can help you to select that perfect gecko!

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Morphs & Projects – What’s the Diff?!?

In recent years we have seen crested geckos given an extraordinary amount of labels to describe their unique colors, patterns, structural qualities, traits, and combinations of all of these.  To someone just entering the wild world of crested geckos, this can get pretty confusing.  There are set standards for moprhs (as described in our “Crested Gecko Morph Guide“), but sometimes other labels are applied – such as “Xander Mardi Gras” or “Dirty Line”, which are not recognized morphs.  Well, if they’re not recognized morphs, these must just be fancy titles that Breeders tack on to try to make their geckos seem better than they are…just so they can bump up their prices….Right?  Not quite.  I’ll admit, I’ve come across some seedy folks (they will remain nameless…not looking for a fight here) who are guilty of this practice, but more likely this gecko is the product of a Breeder’s specific project.

When crested gecko breeders select their breeding pairs, often they have done so with a particular outcome in mind.  Let’s use some ficticious geckos here as an example – Let’s say I have a couple Tiger morph geckos.  Some of them are Cream with Brown stripes, and some are Yellow with Red stripes.  I have a vision…that by pairing these geckos I could potentially produce Cream geckos with Red stripes.  This is my “project” now.  I have given myself a goal, and I have set specific qualities to be seen in the offspring of these geckos.  Now, let’s say my plan worked & the offspring produced from this group are displaying a Cream base with Red stripes.  I may want to work with these offspring in the future, selectively breeding them to produce even better examples of Cream based geckos with Red stripes.  Ugh…but “Cream based geckos with Red stripes” is such a mouthful!!  At this point, since I am working selectively to produce a particular outcome, I may want to name my “project”.  I’ll call them “Candy Canes”.  As I continue to work with this project & begin offering the offspring for sale, I will use this word “Candy Cane” to describe the gecko & the group of geckos that are working within that particular project.

Most Breeders would not officially name their project until it is tried & true – meaning that they have worked with several generations, successfully producing the desired outcome.  If my Cream & Brown Tiger paired with my Yellow & Red Tiger prodcued a Cream & Red Tiger baby, however that baby, once grown, did not produce any Cream & Red Tiger babies of its own, well, this would not be a very successful project.  I would just have one awesome pair that produced the offspring that I was hoping to produce.  On the flip side, if that Cream & Red Tiger baby produced more Cream & Red Tiger babies, and then those babies went on to produce even more with that same color display, and so on and so forth, it would be worth giving this group a title such as “Candy Cane”.  Sure, assigning a name to a group is sort of a matter of pride…and why not?  If I have set a goal & reached it, and am able to repeat that success time & time again, I think a certain amount of celebration is in order.  More than just pride though, naming a “project” will let buyers know the potential that this gecko holds…that it comes from a long line of Cream & Red Tigers who have consistantly gone on to produce more Cream & Red Tigers.  So, if you want to produce Cream & Red Tigers too, you can feel confident that by purchasing a gecko from the “Candy Cane” project, you will be able to produce the desired offspring.

So, naming the geckos in this project “Candy Canes” does not imply that “Candy Cane” would be recognized as a morph.  Its simply one Breeder’s way to show consistency in production & to track the lineage of this particular group of geckos.  Its just a way to give some definition to a particular combination of colors, patterns, structural qualities, and/or traits within a particular breeding group of geckos.

In the end, my “Candy Canes” are still Tiger morphs…specifically Cream base with Red stripes. :)

*Special thanks Wembley – our lovely creamy boy – for being our fake “Candy Cane” gecko!  Please don’t judge us on my editing capabilities…I wanted the photo to look very obviously doctored so it would be clear that this is a fictitious gecko!*