Snowflake aka "White Spot"

History of the Snowflake or "White Spot" Trait

In 2005 I hatched a lavender/black & cream pinstripe crested gecko that started off looking like a nice, fully pinstriped lavender & cream quad - which was a very high-end gecko at the time. It later started developing white spots all over its legs and flanks, which got more noticeable as it matured. Unlike lateral "porthole" markings, these white spots extended to the legs and reached further up on the sides of the gecko's abdomen - some reaching the dorsal surface, what some will call a "drippy" dorsal (like the one at right). Once I noticed that gecko, I went back and looked at the parents. Sure enough, the dam that produced it had these same white spots, but she didn't have very many - nothing I would've thought anything of. This pointed to a dominant mode of inheritance, rather than recessive. I quietly worked with these geckos for a few years before saying anything about them. The cages were labeled "White Spots". That wasn't a "morph name", but rather an internal label we used on the cages to identify the project.

The biggest issue I have with this trait is that it's not generally apparent in hatchlings or even young juveniles, which is a major reason why we haven't focused on them as much as we have some other projects. That being the case, by the time I noticed the trait in that one nice one, and started breeding for it, I had inadvertently sold a bunch of these geckos before they developed the spots. Still, I went ahead and started a project to select for more and more spots, or larger spots (whatever I could do with it) in 2007.

Introduction to the Crested Gecko Hobby - 2009

Several years later, in 2009, I decided to sell a nice red one. I explained that the project was fairly new, I hadn't named it, that it seemed to be inherited in the first generation (making it a dominant mode of inheritance), and I also explained that I was just using the label "White Spots" for breeding groups in that project. The gecko was priced $1,200 (it was RED and had a lot of spots) and the gecko was immediately snapped up by Brian Butler of Altitude Exotics. Brian, excited to have a really awesome gecko coming his way and not yet familiar with the childishness of wannabe experts on the internet, proceeded to show it off on the Repashy Forums. Sure enough, Brian was called "gullible" by two of Repashy's admins, and told the spots "were just random", and that he had been "ripped off". They then went on to throw shade at my name. Of course, I didn't let that go unchecked, and Allen Repashy finally removed the thread from the forum.

Being a trait that doesn't seem to show up in the babies or younger juvies, it isn't a great fit for a selective breeding program of the scale that I like to work with. I don't like to have a micro-project where I'm not going to eventually end up breeding similar looking, but mostly unrelated geckos together - too much other weird stuff going on here. To start a large, genetically diverse project that I can refine over several years, which is the only way I usually like to go, I need to be able to pick my holdbacks at a younger age, and I also don't want to have to raise them to a large size in order for them to be sellable. As such, I have kept my groups fairly small and I only hold back babies where we have that trait in combination with other traits that I am working with on a larger scale, such as Whiteout/Whitewall laterals and Tangerine pigmented pinstripes.

The "Snowflake" Name & Ensuing Controversy - 2016

PS: Grab yourself some popcorn...this is good. :-)

Over a decade after first recognizing the trait in my own colony, and never having given it a proper name, I realized there were way too many traits with the word "white" in the name. Even my own employees were getting confused about what was what, especially when we had multiple "white" traits in the same project. Even though it started by me writing it on my cages, I also think the term "White Spot" sounds a bit lacking - after all, it was never intended to be an official name.

That's when I decided to give the trait a proper name. Following a long-honored tradition of borrowing familiar morph names from morphs of other species, such as how Allen Repashy borrowed the term Creamsicle from the corn snake world, I started looking for similar traits in other species. That's when I remembered Allen Repashy's famed "Snowflake" Leachianus (made famous by the 2002 Rhacodactylus book). If you don't remember, it was a big leachie with white spots all over the place - in fact, genetically speaking, the white spots on that gecko could very well be the same thing. And if you think that's even remotely far-fetched, you aren't very familiar with morphs in various python species - a lot of times, similar appearing traits are genetically compatible when hybrids are produced. Not only did I think the name was fitting, but I think Allen's Snowflake Leachianus has a great look that we can aspire to with this project.

This was clearly meant to be a fun, if not nostalgic, nod to Rhacodactylus culture, but some smaller-scale breeders, and Facebook renowned internet experts, who are working with the trait, and apparently threatened by the prospect of me contradicting them in public, started accusing me of naming a morph that already existed! I'll be the first to admit that I had no idea how many smaller-scale breeders there were working with the trait, or what a big deal they would make about it getting a proper name. I explained the story as best and politely as I could, but those folks had already gone too far in their attacks on me to turn back, so they didn't want to listen. A number of these people went on further, calling me a con-artist (even though I wasn't trying to sell one), claimed that I cater to newbies (hint: newbies don't buy $500+ geckos), and all kinds of other childishness. Needless to say, I found it more than a little bit amusing that the people hurling all these accusations were only doing so because they were completely oblivious to the fact that I'm the breeder who introduced the trait to the hobby 7 years earlier, and that the labels on my cages are where the "White Spot" term came from. Apparently, these folks hadn't been around long enough to remember the big blowout on the Repashy forums, when I first introduced the trait back in 2009, much less long enough to remember the Snowflake Leachianus from the Rhacodactylus book, which was written in 2002. Now, to this day, they're playing on the fact that a lot of other people haven't been around that long, either.

To further stoke the fire, one small-scale breeder (but epically large-scale internet expert) went on to erroneously proclaim that she had been working with the "White Spot" trait, and calling it "White Spot", since before I started working with it. She went on to spout that she would never use the Snowflake name because she just didn't like it (insert menacing cat sounds here). It wasn't until some veteran breeders, who knew better and vividly remembered the 2009 incident on the Repashy forums, that she admitted that she had misread my post and gotten her years confused.

Still, for some reason - probably due to the embarrassment of having been dead wrong about the very thing they were roasting me for in public - a handful of these "experts" still refuse to accept the truth, and they still act as if they somehow won the childish argument that they started...and subsequently lost in spectacular fashion. I think another veteran gecko breeder put it best: "Arguing with internet experts about a trait that you introduced and a term you coined reminds me of the 'playing chess with pigeons' analogy." (PS - Google "chess with pigeons" if you're not familiar.) :-)

Bottom line, it really doesn't matter to me what people call it, because the trait just isn't a major focus here, nor are the type of hobbyists who like to argue on the internet about morph names. In my professional experience, the most successful breeders let their animals do the talking, rather than relying on popular buzzwords to sell them. I'm happy enough that I could introduce the trait to the hobby back in 2009, and continue to develop some cool projects with it - and it's even cooler to see smaller scale hobbyists continuing to work with it, regardless of what they want to call it. If people prefer to use the term "White Spot", so as not to be harassed on the internet by the "experts", that's completely fine with me. I don't have any room to argue, considering I'm the one at fault for getting the term "White Spot" started in the first place. :-)

While this trait is not something we are working with in large numbers, any that we do put up for sale will be listed below on this page.