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Q: Incubation and mutations in Crested Geckos
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 So I noticed something with my bit of experimenting on my crested geckos eggs and incubation temperatures. I understand that many breeders, at least those from the facebook forums, see a correlation between low incubating temperatures hatching out crested geckos with more impressive cresting. However do incubation temperatures have a role in more than just crest structure? I ask this because out of eight hatchlings I've hatched this season, two of them I incubated at high temperatures around 80-82 degrees F. These two did show very small crests when hatched, which I expected, but they also showed other differences from the other four siblings who were hatched from lower incubation temperatures of 70-74 degrees.One of the two looked to be a dwarf with a very large head regular sized body, and shortened limbs. I do believe he was just a random mutation. Both siblings acquired a beautiful eye popping cherry red color.

Now hear me out, I was doing the high temperatures to encourage mutations during incubation, and both the parents have one red grandparent each. So I was expecting some reds to appear as well as the regular yellows, oranges, and browns. Of the six regular incubated geckos two were reds but they were the average kind of red, not eye popping in brightness or color. It was the kind of red I was expecting. The two hatched from high temps were not the usual red I was expecting. Is it possible that high temperatures may also influence the color of hatchies as well as crest structure? I attached the family tree of these geckos so that you can see what I am talking about.

Attached Photos:

Points: 50
Topics: General Health , Heating , Incubation
Tags: Crestedgecko, Crestedgeckomorphs, Incubater, Incubationperiod, Temperature
Species: Lizards > Geckos > Correlophus ciliatus
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 9/7/2017 3:06:47 PM


it is certainly possible, but with cresteds you can incubate everything exactly the same way and still get a smorgasbord of coloration, especially if the parents aren't line bred over multiple generations.

Author Comment 9/7/2017 10:39:42 PM


That's one thing I was worried about because with most geckos people don't tend to know past the grandparents patterns and colors in their lineages, unless you are the breeder yourself and have bred them with records for that long. Even then the occasional "woah what is that?" pops up in long well known bloodlines where you would normally be able to assume something close to what you should get.

I'm starting to think geckos skin colors are much like human eye colors. It isn't just a few genes at play making different colors, but hundreds. Like a person with brown eyes could have it because of a single gene "A" working while another brown eyed person has genes "H, G,L, and Y" making their eyes brown. 

Even so I may continue this experiment in the seasons following this to see if they ever produce a cherry red like those two in low incubation temperatures. If they only ever produce them in high we might be on to something. However that's going to take hundreds of hatchies. >.< Unless someone else wants to help with their own pairs for scientific purposes. Though in order to participate you'd have to probably have lines longer and better known than my pair. Something like a orange line of dalmatians or flames that you can trace back at least four to five generations so you know where your colors are coming from. IDK.

Heck it might even be other colors that react to the high incubation temps in other bloodlines. Mine just might be cherry red because they have it in their background and it might express more after a hot incubation. XD Other people might see Yellow or green show up when they incubate high, and normally they'd have tons of other colors. Now that I think about it there would be too many variables really and this is all going off an idea, not even a proper theory on my end. Why'd I put this question up even. XD I should have at least three seasons worth of babies and experiementing before asking anything. >.>

Member Comment 9/8/2017 2:19:36 PM


cresteds in particular don't have genetic determinants established in "morphs" or color, even by breeders with multiple generations. not all geckos are the same, lol. 

I would caution against deliberately incubating for mutations, just because it's not only coloration that might be affected.

Author Comment 9/9/2017 10:32:39 PM


Like the guy who might have been a dwarf physical bad mutations may occur. If the baby is healthy despite a slight malformity I might keep it as pet only, but if a malformity is severe enough to cause problems and pain the animal I will humanely cull. 


Yes I know getting into two highly argued topics of experimenting and culling. >~>  sorry and I won't delve further into it. However I may benewto cresteds but I know enough about genetics from studying corns and breeding them to know that there aren't any morphsout there. None proven yet anyway there was that one woman on facebook who's got something interesting going on over there. XD  However even selectively bred lines for certain colors or patterns should have a degree of establishment along longer lines unlike mine.

Author Comment 9/9/2017 10:34:30 PM


Speaking about geckos not cornsin that second paragraph second and third sentences. XD

Member Comment 11/6/2017 2:26:07 AM

Double Helix Geckos

You can't introduce mutations in the germline after fertilization. Any changes due to incubation temps would be due to changes in development; or signaling what genes already there turn on or off more than others. There has been anecdotal evidence that reds can be brighter at higher incubation temps, but you would only be emphasizing what is already available genetically. For example, if the gecko may have been a muddy red at lower temps, there is the possibility that the red genes already within the embryo may be triggered to overexpress to get a more vibrant red.

Crested gecko morphs/colors in general have been noted to be quite polymorphic, and likely there is a combination of many genes at play behind different "morphs". "Morphs" in crested geckos are not under control of simple mendelian single-gene changes like BPs for the most part (aside from recently discovered axanthic and possibly leucistic). Developmental signals may also play another role. For example, I recently had conjoined twins hatch (passed shortly after), one was a full pinstripe and one a partial even though their DNA code would be exactly the same.

Long story short, there is a lot that is still not know about how/why certain colors/morphs express phenotypically in crested geckos. However, one things that will be true is that you can't induce "mutations" with incubation temperature, but you may still be able to affect phenotypic expression.

Member Comment 11/6/2017 2:37:12 AM

Double Helix Geckos

I can't see how to edit my post, but I just wanted to add in some comments regard the dwarfism of one of your geckos. In general, proteins are much more subsceptile to problems with higher heat - they will denature. Embryo development has a very delicate balance of protein signals which result in (hopefully) a perfect balance of skin, bone, internal organ, etc development. Going outside of the ideal temp range for developing (again, higher temps have more risks than lower temps) can interfere with proper neural tube formation, segmentation, and other body proportion issues among many others. Not saying the high temps necessarily cause the dwarfism problem with that one gecko as it is possible it could have happened at normal temps, but incubating at 80+ has been known to result in a higher proportion of funky babies.

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