When most people think about bearded dragons, they picture a sandy-colored reptile. But many people may be surprised to discover that bearded dragons can come in a variety of different colors, patterns, and something referred to as morphs or mutations. Other reptiles such as leopard geckos also come in different morphs.
A morph has more to do with describing what a bearded dragon looks like rather than just identifying its color, although some use the terms interchangeably. Morphs also often explain what a bearded dragon's body type or size looks like. Different bearded dragon morphs may have different colors, but they can also have differing spikes, scales, head shapes, nail colors, patterns, and more. Some morphs can fetch a hefty price from breeders and are less commonly seen than other morphs, so it's wise to be prepared and educated before going out to purchase a bearded dragon. There are also combination morphs, which can become very confusing if you aren't a savvy bearded dragon morph identifier.
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Classic or Standard Morph
Often recognized as a basic bearded dragon, the classic or standard morph is the kind of bearded dragon that is most like its wild counterpart. Standard morphs have backs that are covered in small spikes and have large triangular heads with a beard. They can come in a variety of different colors, such as tan, red, yellow, and have black and orange markings. These are the most commonly seen morph of bearded dragons and usually the least expensive morph to purchase.
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The term hypomelanistic means "below normal color" and in the case of a hypomelanistic bearded dragon morph, these dragons look somewhat pastel in coloration. Hypomelanistic morphs are unable to produce dark patterns and colors. Their nails are also usually clearer than those of other morphs and they simply appear muted in color when compared to that of a standard morph. This morph type is fairly common and has a body type with spikes just like the standard morph.
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The main identifying trait of a leatherback bearded dragon morph is its smooth back. Leatherback morphs do not have spikes on their backs but do have them on their heads and sides. The lack of spikes on their backs also makes their colors appear more vivid and therefore make them a popular bearded dragon morph. These are a more rare type of bearded dragon morph than the standard and hypomelanistic morphs.
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As its name implies, the translucent bearded dragon morph is named as such due to its almost see-through spikes and scales. Translucent morphs are also commonly hypomelanistic so they are typically lighter in color. Baby translucent morphs have an almost clear belly that appears blue, like that of a leopard gecko, and adults typically have solid dark eyes where no iris is visible and occasionally blue eyelids. These unique eyes are what most obviously sets this morph apart from the others.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Possibly one of the most unique types of bearded dragon morphs, the silkback is completely lacking the classic spikes that other bearded dragons have. They have smooth skin and vibrant colors since there are no scales impeding them. Silkbacks are also referred to as silkies because of how soft their skin feels. They are more difficult to care for than other morphs.
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German Giant Morph
Appearing just like a standard or classic morph, the German giant morph is a very large bearded dragon. It is difficult to know whether or not you have a German giant until they are full grown, and these morphs require a much larger enclosure because of their size.
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Named after the breeder who created them, the Dunner morph looks similar to a classic morph except there is no obvious pattern to their scales. The markings of a Dunner morph seem to go in any direction instead of the typical stripes found fairly symmetrical on many other types of bearded dragons. Dunner morphs often have spots, and their scales are not organized, so even patternless Dunner morphs can be identified from their unorganized scales. Often they also have more scales than other morphs.
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Extremely rare, the zero bearded dragon morph is completely lacking of patterns and colors. These white bearded dragons are growing in popularity.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Not quite a zero, but more muted than a hypomelanistic, the witblits morph is a very pale colored dragon with no patterns. They can come in different solid colors.
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A combination of the witblits and the zero morphs has produced a newer morph called the wero. The wero often resembles the zero morph except it has splotches of darker colors near its tail.
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This uniquely patterned morph was created by crossbreeding a combination of several different morphs. A paradox morph is obvious to spot since it has blotches of bright colors on its body. They look as though paint was splattered on their bodies in no obvious pattern.
Bearded Dragon Care. Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, 2020