This designer mutation of the bearded dragon is described as the lack or absence of dark pigment (melanin). A dragon that displays this trait is a homozygous carrier of the trait. These are generally referred to as Hypos, short for hypomelanistic. A characteristic of the most common hypomelanistic dragon is clear nails on all 20 toes. This would be indicated by the absence of the black line through the animals toe nails. This mutation does reproduce all clear nailed animals when two visual trait carrying parents are crossed and has been proven so many times. This is the only form of hypo that has been proven out. There are also other lines of hypos that have not been particularly utilized by breeders where certain lines of animals display no dark pigmentation but have dark coloured nails.
These dragons do not develop this trait as they age in our experience. They are born with the lack of pigment, and it does not develop usually remaining the same as they age. We have found that some hypos do tend to lose their patterning, even with some animals losing their patterning completely. From our experience, these dragons are visibly different in colouration right out of the egg. You can clearly see the difference between most hypos, and non-hypos. The hypo animal will hatch most times very bright in colour, sometimes even with a more white appearance. These dragons also may hatch a beige or grey colour with clear nails, although not as common as the bright, vividly coloured hypos and hypo pastels. This would suggest that maybe the animals still do produce some sort of dark melanin and in our experiences, we would agree. From our experience most hypo animal babies that have vivid colour contrast and patterning lose this as adults (become pattern less and some times colourless).
Marketed Leucistics are a form hypo. The definition of a Leucistic is to be colourless, pattern less, hypomelanistic animal with clear nails with black eyes. This should be true from birth into adult hood. It seems that there is no proof of producing a true leucistic bearded dragon. Most animals have some absence of patterning and colouration , and are sold as marketed leucistics. We have not seen proof of a true leucistic bearded dragon, that satisfies us that it is not a colour variation of the hypo. We would be interested in seeing a true leucistic animal, crossed to a true leucistic animal, which produces only leucistic animals in its offspring consistently and again that the offspring would produce consistent leucistic offspring as well. So again, this is why we are not satisfied that there is a true leucistic bearded dragon.
Hypo pastels are also a colour variant of the hypomelanistic gene. These animals produce pastel colours, and have clear nails.
Some breeders will produce what they call hypos, but do not have clear nails. Please be specific with a breeder when purchasing a hypo, to see that it has 20 clear nails. Animals without clear nails prove to be more difficult to produce more hypos than clear nailed animals. It has been our experience with some breeders in several instances that we have bought a dragon that was advertised as hypo, but did not have clear nails ad did not reproduce hypo babies. Please be aware of what you are buying. Every hypo advertised by Dragon Fortress or its affiliates has 20 clear toe nails, and is guaranteed to reproduce all clear nail hypo babies when crossed to another clear nail hypo.
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