The bearded dragon is one of the world’s most well-known and loved pet reptiles. Its calm temperament, hardy nature, and adorable appearance have made the bearded dragon, often affectionately known as the “beardie,” incredibly popular amongst exotic pet owners. Best of all, they are also fairly easy to care for and breed in captivity. This has resulted in many different “breeds,” or morphs, of bearded dragons being developed over the years. These incredible morphs vary wildly in size, color, shape, and even texture!
With so many different bearded dragon morphs on the market, it can be overwhelming and challenging to choose the perfect one for you. This article will guide you through the basics of what bearded dragon morphs are and how they’re developed, how they are distinct from one another, and how to decide which one you’ll end up bringing home.
What is a Bearded Dragon Morph?
The term “morph” is generally used to refer to different types of a certain reptile within a particular species. You can think of them as the reptile equivalent of dog or cat breeds. For example, there are leopard gecko morphs, ball python morphs, and, as we’ll be covering here, bearded dragon morphs.
To put it simply, morphs are created and refined through the process of selective breeding. This way, reptile breeders can select, combine, and pass on certain desirable traits to their animals, such as certain colors, sizes, and even skin textures. By understanding and breeding for particular dominant and recessive traits, it is possible to create a rainbow of diverse and unique beardies!
Keep in mind it is nearly impossible to list every single bearded dragon morph in existence, as new morphs are constantly being developed, modified, re-named, and even crossed with one another to create new combinations. Additionally, many morphs have multiple common names that can vary depending on the breeder that produces and sells them.
Still, we’ve managed to list more than 25 of the most popular and unique bearded dragon morphs you’re likely to come across when searching for the perfect lizard for you and your home!
List of Bearded Dragon Morphs: A-D
Today, there are dozens of different types of bearded dragon morphs, with more being developed all the time. To make things a bit simpler, we’ve listed them in alphabetical order.
- Black (AKA Melanistic): A very dark morph characterized by excess melanin in the skin. Black bearded dragons can vary from dark grey with some patterning to solid black with almost no patterning at all.
- Blue (AKA Purple): A rare morph created by breeding translucent bearded dragons together. This gives the lizard a spooky greyish-blue skin tone.
- Blue Bar: A variation of the blue/purple morph. This morph typically has bars or stripes of bluish or purplish coloration along its back. It is often combined with red and orange morphs to create more contrast between the different colors, resulting in a very vibrant beardie!
- Citrus: A morph characterized by very bright orange and yellow markings. The citrus trait is very popular and has been introduced to and combined with many other morphs, such as the tiger, hypomelanistic, and Witblits morphs.
- Citrus Tiger: A popular combo of citrus and tiger morphs. Citrus tiger bearded dragons have prominent tiger-like stripes that are bright orange or yellow in color.
- Dunner: The Dunner morph differs from the standard bearded dragon in several ways. While it can come in many colors, it has more cone-shaped scales than the typical teardrop-shaped scales of most standard beardies. It also has a larger foot size and a bumpier, more textured scalation overall. Finally, the patterning on the lizard’s body and tail tends to be more splotchy or speckled rather than striped.
List of Bearded Dragon Morphs: E-L
Up next, we have bearded dragon morphs that start with E through L. Again, some of these morphs have multiple common names, which are also listed.
- Fancy: This is a sort of catch-all term for any bearded dragon morph other than the standard or normal base morph. This term is often used by pet shops to describe bearded dragons with backgrounds or morphs that can’t be verified but are clearly not standard in origin.
- Genetic Stripe: A bearded dragon with racing stripes! This morph is characterized by a thin stripe on either side of the lizard’s spine extending lengthwise down its body. It can present in various colors and has been combined with many other morphs, such as the hypo, leatherback, and translucent varieties.
- German Giant: One of the few existing bearded dragon size morphs. True to their name, German giant beardies are much larger than their standard counterparts and can reach up to 30 inches in length!
- Hypomelanistic (AKA Hypo): Hypomelanistic bearded dragons have little to no dark pigmentation in their skin. This results in a light yellow or orange lizard with a more pastel coloration. This trait is commonly combined with other morphs, such as the tiger, zero, translucent, and genetic stripe varieties.
- Hypo-Trans: A combination of the hypomelanistic and translucent morphs. This results in a very light-colored bearded dragon with scales that are almost see-through!
- Leatherback: A morph with minimized spikes, resulting in a lizard with smooth, soft skin. This trait is often combined with color morphs such as the hypo and citrus morphs to create a vibrant yet smooth-skinned beardie.
List of Bearded Dragon Morphs: M-S
Below are the most common bearded dragon morphs starting with the letter M through S, as well as some lesser-known varieties.
- Normal (AKA Classic, Wild-Type, or Standard): The lizard that started it all! This is the standard, base morph, typical of bearded dragons in the wild that have not been selectively bred.
- Orange: This can refer to a variety of morphs with yellow, orange, and red coloration. It is often used as a general term to refer to beardies with an orange color whose precise morphs/background cannot be verified.
- Paradox: A rare and beautiful morph characterized by uneven splotches of color and pale grey or silver.
- Purple Paradox: A variant of the paradox morph. This morph’s grey splotches have a more bluish or purplish tinge than usual.
- Red: This is another sort of general term used to refer to any dark orange or red morph. It is often used to refer to bearded dragons that are reddish in color yet cannot be clearly identified or verified as a more specific morph.
- Sandfire: A somewhat rare and newer morph characterized by a primarily orange and yellow coloration. This morph was originally developed by Sandfire Dragon Ranch, though many other breeders have attempted to replicate the morph with mixed results.
- Silkback/Silkie/Scaleless: A morph similar to the leatherback with even more reduced scalation. Silkback bearded dragons, also known as “silkies,” are almost entirely smooth with no spikes.
- Sunburst: A handsome yet somewhat rare morph with a base yellow body color and vibrant orange and red markings. This morph has almost no tan or brown coloration typical of standard bearded dragons.
List of Bearded Dragon Morphs: T-Z
We’ve finally come to the end of our list of bearded dragon morphs! These morphs start with the letter T through Z.
- Tiger: A unique morph with prominent tiger-like stripes crisscrossing the lizard’s entire body. This morph is commonly combined with various other traits, such as the hypo and citrus varieties.
- Translucent (AKA Trans): A morph with uniquely translucent or semi-see-through scales, giving it a ghostly appearance. It is commonly combined with the hypomelanistic morph, which results in a pale yet still colorful lizard.
- White: A fairly rare, difficult-to-achieve morph that lacks nearly all pigmentation whatsoever. Some white bearded dragons have patterning, while others have reduced patterning or are solid white. This can also be used as a general term to refer to any bearded dragon morph characterized by a lack of pigmentation.
- Witblits: A uniquely patternless morph that is typically a solid light, sandy tan, grey, or beige in color. It is similar to the white and zero morphs yet slightly darker in color overall.
- Yellow: This is another general term used to refer to any morph that is primarily yellow in color. Some breeders consider this as an alternative name for the citrus morph.
- Zero: A very rare and highly sought-after morph with pale grey or white skin. It is typically patternless.
- 10 Incredible Bearded Dragon Facts
- How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get?
- The 4 Largest Bearded Dragons in the World
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/huettenhoelscher
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