Translucent bearded dragons are dragons that completely lack, or lack to display a certain level of white pigmentation. A dragon that displays the translucent appearance is a homozygous carrier of the trait. There are different degrees of translucency. We like to refer to them as low expression translucent or high expression translucent. This gene will give the bearded dragons scales/skin a translucent or transparent effect. This is how the purple bellies or arms, pink arms, etc. are explained. This defect allows the keeper to see right through the animal, exposing its internal organs, and tissue matter.
This mutation also affects the colouration of the eyes. Since there is a lack of white pigment, bearded dragons may show expressions of the translucent gene in varying levels. A high expression translucent bearded dragon will have black eyes. This is because the white colouration of the Iris is removed by the action of the mutated gene. A low-end translucent may not show any difference in colouration of the eye.
Another trait of this gene is its progressive or retrogressive development. Some dragons will develop this gene as they age, some dragons may lose characteristics of this gene as well.
Translucent bearded dragons first showed up around 2002-03. The gene in these animals have a recessive mode of inheritance The animals have been out-crossed for several generations. Inadequate research may lead to issues when new dragons are purchased. It makes it very difficult to determine how closely related animals you may be trying to breed (especially in translucent to translucent crossings) are. When closely related translucent bearded dragons are bred together, it will yield much higher mortality rates and deformities at birth.
Our experience with the animals shows many differences from the average bearded dragon. An average bearded dragon has no gene manipulation, no high colouration, nothing other than your average looking animal. The translucent morph shows a higher mortality rate in the babies produced than that of an average dragon. From our experience it also seems that the animals do better with a higher humidity level (this is achieved by adding a water bowl to the enclosure of the animal). It almost appears as if the gene (or genes, we can only see what is visual) that is being manipulated, does have an effect on the animal as far as dehydration is concerned. It seems that the higher humidity level helps counteract that.
We have also taken notice that a lot of our translucent bearded dragons would keep their eyes shut during the day considerably more often than the rest of the morphs. We have since lowered the UVb output of the light with our translucent dragons only.
When this white background colouration is removed, it again provides a translucent or transparent effect that allows light to pass more effectively through to the retina.
We believe that the translucent gene affects more than visual aspects of the animal. Until we can completely figure out what is being affected, we cannot care 100% for the animals, and will experience loss through trial and error. If we learn from the losses or experiences and share them, we can hopefully find the absolute perfect husbandry practices for this specific mutation to thrive.
Written by http://www.dragonfortress.com/