!Boa Morphs!

Being the serious boa enthusiast I am, I wanted to display the many different morphs of boa constrictor imperator in the marketplace.  If you are at all confused about genetic terminology or morphology used in the text, feel free to click on the "Basic Genetics" link below.  Well deserved credit will be given to the owners of those photos not belonging to Class Reptilia.  Enjoy...

Basic Genetics

Single Allele Mutations

Colombian Tyrosinase-Negative Albino (Amelanistic) Boa

I.    Original "Kahl" Strain:
      Pete Kahl is given credit for the introduction of the albino boa.  The original albino boa was imported in the 1980's and and was successfully bred in the early 1990's and remains to be one of the most popular morphs.  Babies are fairly white with well distinguished saddles, but these snakes normally become yellow and their pattern fades.  The juvenile to the right seems to be retaining its color rather nicely.

(Photo Courtesy of Jon Roylance)

      These special albinos are typically marbled with many red flecks throughout their bodies and retain much of their adolescent color.  This is a selectively bred trait developed by Pete Kahl and can be observed in other albino boas outside this bloodline. 

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda and Tom Burke)

* also see Snow, Sunglow, Albino Arabesque, and Pastel Albino in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

II.   Sharp Strain:
This strain of albino boas are genetically incompatible with the Kahl strain.  There is definitely something to be learned here- the amelanistic trait may not be controlled by a single mutant gene.  As we have seen with the t-positive albino boas, a mere break down in the melanin-synthesis pathway can cause an irregular production of melanin.  Breeding both strains of albino boas results in offspring heterozygous for both strains.  Brian Sharp imported the animal pictured to the right and she (the snake) birthed the first babies heterozygous for the Sharp strain.  These albino's are relatively rare and usually more desirable due to their tendency to retain color (i.e. the reminiscent saddles and the strongly contrasted tail markings).  

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Sharp)

Colombian Tyrosinase-Positive (Caramel) Albino Boa

      Unlike the t-negative albino boas where melanin remains absent throughout their lives, t-positive boas will produce a reduced amount of melanin as they mature.  T-positive boas have functional tyrosinase enzymes required to synthesize melanin, but they lack a subsequent enzyme required to complete the melanin-synthesis pathway normally.  We have posted two photos of this mutant to illustrate their dramatic metamorphosis; one at 4 months of age and the other as a yearling.  The first t-positive albino was born in 1997 and a few have been imported since.  T-positive albinism is also a simple recessive mutation.  To learn more about albinism in snakes, click on the link below hosted by VPI.
Albinism in Snakes

(Photo courtesy of Dave and Tracy Barker)

Central American Tyrosinase-Positive (Caramel/Lavender) Albino Boa

      A group of Central American (Nicaraguan) t-positive albino boas were imported in 2001 and are now owned by few breeders.  We have yet to see how their coloration will compare to the Colombian morph as adults, but they appear to have their own unique look.  These t-positives are yet to be proven, but there is no doubt they will.  It is in our humble opinion, this morph will become very popular to boa enthusiasts.

(Photo courtesy of Jeremy Stone)

Colombian "Type 1" Anerytheristic Boa

      Anerytheristics are sometimes called "black albinos" because they appear to lack all other pigment besides black.  These boas really lack red pigment called erythrin, thus their name (i.e "an"- without + "erythri"- red).  Anerytheristic boas begin their lives grayish-silver in coloration, but turn brownish-yellow as they mature. This recessive mutation is a key ingredient for ghost and snow boas.

(Former animal of Class Reptilia)

* also see Colombian Snow, Ghost, and Ivory in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Central American "Type 2" Anerytheristic Boa

      These anerytheristics have more of a grayish-silver background compared to the brownish-yellow hue typical of the Colombian morph.  This phenomenon may be due to a reduction of yellow pigment- similar to an axanthic specimen.

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda and Tom Burke)

* also see Central American Ghost in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Colombian Arabesque Boa

      Originally produced by Steve Hammond, the relatively uncommon arabesque is highly speckled and has abnormally thin saddles connected like rungs in a ladder.  This mutation is codominant. 

(Photo Courtesy of Jon Roylance)

* also see Albino Arabesque and Hypomelanistic Arabesque in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Central American Blood Boa

      This dwarf boa is relatively rare in collections and was originally imported from El Salvador.  The intense red coloration in these boas is a simple recessive mutation.  You could call them hypererythristic.

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda and Tom Burke)

Colombian Hypomelanistic Boa

      Hypomelanistic boas lack varying degrees of melanin, thus their name (i.e "hypo"- below + "melanin"- black pigment).  Hypomelanism is a codominant mutation in boa constrictors and simple recessive in colubrids.  These beautiful boas begin their lives lightly colored with intense red saddles, but tend to "muddy up" as they mature (become more maroon in color).  The intense red coloration is probably due to the full expression of erythrin, being only masked by a reduced amount of melanin.  The hypomelanistic mutation even causes varying degrees of aberrancies as seen in the animals pictured to the right.  The animals with the most aberrancies are those homozygous for hypomelanism- these boas received a mutant allele from both parents.  The history of the hypomelanistic boa is convoluted.  There are two recognized bloodlines (Orange-tail and Salmon) and are said to have come from the same original boa collected from Panama.  Although the bloodlines have their own matriarch, the mutation remains to be operating from same mutant gene.  This morph is a key ingredient for ghost and sunglow boas.

(Photo and animal owned by Class Reptilia)

      Super Hypo (homozygous):
      These boas have almost no black flecking and are sometimes highly aberrant.  These boas have the mutant allele from both parents and must be proven despite their apparent differentiation from their hypo siblings.

(Photo and animal owned by Class Reptilia)

* also see Colombian Ghost, Sunglow, Salmon Pastel, Hypomelanistic Motley, Hypomelanistic, and Hypomelanistic Jungle in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

 Central American Hypomelanistic Boa

      These hypomelanistic boas have been imported in recent years.  The one pictured is a Nicaraguan hypo.

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda and Tom Burke)

* also see Central American Ghost in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Colombian Jungle Boa

      Jungle boas are pattern morphs controlled by a codominant mutant gene.  This mutation causes varying degrees of aberrancies as seen in the animals pictured to the right.  The animals with the most aberrancies are those homozygous for the jungle mutation- these boas received a mutant allele from both parents.

(Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Kjaer)

      Super Jungle (homozygous):
      These highly aberrant boas have the mutant allele from both parents and must be proven despite their apparent differentiation from their jungle siblings.

(Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Kjaer)

* also see Hypomelanistic Jungle in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Central American Leopard (Mephisto) Boa

      The leopard boa is a Mexican/Sonoran Desert pattern morph controlled by a simple recessive mutant gene.

(Photo courtesy of Hans J. Winner)

Melanistic Boa

I.    Colombian:
      A true melanistic boa would also be axanthic.  Axanthic animals have both red and yellow pigments absent from their coloration.  This trait is not yet proven, but there are a few black boas out there.

(Photo Courtesy of Rich Ihle)

II.   Central American: (see "Type 2 Anerytheristic" section)  

Colombian Motley Boa

      We do not own a single specimen of this morph, but we would like to.  Just look at them!  Jeremy Stone produced motley's in 2000 after acquiring a pair in 1998 and is ultimately given credit for originating this particular morph.  People are often times fooled into thinking their snake is a motley when they really have "circlebacks," or circlebacks with a ladder tail.  Genuine motleys have fleckless bellies, lateral striping, a black underside past the vent, a cross connecting their eyes, and either a ladder or striped tail.  There was a motley produced by a Colombian x Colombian breeding in 2001 and is expected to be proven in 2003 (bottom photo).  The Motley trait is a codominant mutation and proves to be a promising project.  Since the motley boa is primarily a pattern morph, all the color mutations can be plugged into it.

(Top photo courtesy of Alex Barreiro)

(Bottom photo courtesy of Jon Roylance)

      Super Motley (homozygous):
      Not yet proven

* also see Hypomelanistic Motley in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Central American Motley Boa

      Originally imported by Alex Barreiro, these motley boas are more aberrant than the Colombian's and lack the ladder tail.  We should see more of these snakes in the near future.

(Photo courtesy of Alex Barreiro)

Colombian Pastel Boa

      The pastel trait is selectively bred and often introduced to "clean up" other morphs (i.e. flecks, coloration).  Pastels are usually light in coloration, washed-out, and nearly fleckless.  Some bloodlines of pastels have impressive red and pink coloration.  The most desired bloodlines include Ronne, East Bay Vivarium, and Washington.  The animal in the photo to the right is a Ronne pastel 66% heterozygous for anerytheristic.

(Photo and animal owned by Class Reptilia)

* also see Ivory and Salmon Pastel in the "Double Allele Mutations" section below

Colombian Patternless "Purple" Boa

      During the 2002 breeding season, Jeremy Stone serendipitously produced two patternless boas from a motley litter!  This may be the freakiest boa morph yet.  If this animal makes it to maturity and proves genetic, we will be seeing the likes of these for years to come.  We will keep our fingers crossed!

(Photo courtesy of Jeremy Stone)


Double Allele Mutations

Types of Colombian T-Negative Albino Boas

Snow (albino and anery):
      The first snow boa was produced by Pete Kahl in 1996.

(This is not our boa, but we would appreciate it if someone could direct us to the owner to give them credit.)

Sunglow (albino x hypo):
      These animals were first produced by Dave and Tracy Barker from VPI and Jeremy Stone in 2000.

(Photo Courtesy of VPI and Jeremy Stone)
The less intense neonate to the right is pictured below.



(Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Stone)


Albino Arabesque (albino x arabesque)- est. ?

(Photo Courtesy of Bluegrass Herp)

Types of Anerytheristic Boas

 Colombian Ghost (anery x hypo):

(Photo and animal owned by Class Reptilia)

Ivory (anery x pastel):
      These boas were first produced by Jeff Ronne.  Remember, the pastel trait is not a genetic mutation, so an ivory is a clean- washed out anerytheristic.

(Photo Courtesy of John Lokken)

Central American Ghost (anery x hypo):
      This ghost is supposedly a naturally occurring Nicaraguan ghost.  The off-chance of a pairing resulting in this animal is slim to none.  Either the Nicaraguans working at the farms are "designing" these boas, or they simply resemble ghosts.  These naturally occurring ghosts remain to be proven.

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda Burke)

Types of Colombian Hypomelanistic Boas

Salmon Pastel (hypo x pastel):  
Hypomelanistic Motley (hypo x motley):
      The first litter of hypo-motley's were produced by Jeremy Stone in 2001.  These special motley's are highly aberrant and tend to lose the typical motley pattern.

(Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Stone)

Hypomelanistic Arabesque (hypo x arabesque):
      The first hypo-arabesque's were produced by Jeremy Stone in 2002 and were mixed in with morphs unrelated to them.  The litter was fathered by two different males.

(Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Stone)

Hypomelanistic Jungle (hypo x jungle):
      A few of these magnificent looking animals were produced by Rich Ihle during the 2002 breeding season.

(Photo Courtesy of Rich Ihle)



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