Axolotls Traits Category upgrade! [DONE][1333]

In preparation to promote Axolotls to a top level category, we need to build a trait list for the genes and combos.

For each of these, we need to know what kind of gene it is (recessive/incdom/dom) OR what combination of genes represent it.

Please add anything that is missing or correct me where I am wrong.

If you know anyone that work with Axolotls, send them a link to this thread and ask them to help out.

@elementalherps I believe you know your way around these guys?

Dark - Wild type
GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) - Super GFP
RFP (Red Fluorescent Protein) - Super RFP

Leucistic / Pink
Melanoid / Black
White albino
Axanthic albino
Golden Albino /
melanoid albino
HI - starburst

Line bred:
high iodophors (HI)
Green wild
Light wild
Dark wild
Silver Dalmatian

Leucistic Line bred:
Dirty Leucistic
blue Gill leucistic

Combo names
Golden HI- Sunburst

Chimera not genetically inheritable
Mosaic not genetically inheritable
FireFly embryonic graphing


Oh jeez, I wish I did know more about the “newer” morphs. Back when I was breeding there was only half a dozen or so. By “dark” do you mean wildtype?


No worries :blush: I was certain you had bred them in the past, so it was worth a shot asking.

I’m glad you said that as I wasn’t 100% sure if “dark” was the WT or not :blush:.

Thank you.


Dark is the dominate “opposite” of luestic. You can be “dark” and still be golden albino, for example, because dark is just what luestic is normally. So, say you have a wildtype het for luestic. This means it has a D (dominant dark gene) and a l (recessive luestic gene). That has been my understanding on what dark means.

Also, lavenders are heavily debated. In my personal experience, they’re just high white axanthics. Idk anyone breeding lavenders consistently that are truly lavender. The other theory I’ve heard is that lavender is axanthic melanoids. I’ve produced both a high white and an axanthic melanoid, but still waiting to see if either retains their “lavender” look. I know some of the “big names” who produced lavenders ended up with adults who look like regular melanoids. That has been my and another breeder’s private experience, so I think you may want to bring someone in more knowledgeable (maybe someone who has an adult lavender that doesn’t look like high white AX or AX Mel) and see what they say about that category?

Only other thing I saw was that axanthics is its own recessive color. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t make white albinos. We bred some this season and neither parents are het for axanthic. What they are het for is luecy, and I’ve seen the argument made that white albinos are just luestic albinos, so the luecy knocks out the golden coloring that is standard in albinos. So white albinos aren’t axanthic, they’re luestic albinos. Sorry for the novel. If I’m wrong, hopefully someone else can clarify or explain it better to all of us.


That post on caudata explains it better. Looks like axanthic albinos do exist, but they’re visually very similar to d/d albinos (aka luestic albinos). I’m not sure how MM wants to put labels, but I wouldn’t want to list a white albino that I 100% know cannot be axanthic based on lineage (and you can ID axanthics right after hatching with a black light), so there would need to be a way to clarify if it was a luestic albino vs axanthic albino.


This looks good to me I would just add high iodophors as a genetic option it is usually considered lime need though

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So most morphs for axolotls are recessive. The only non recessive are basically what you have listed as dom… I’m assuming “dark” means wild. It’s generally just called wild type. That’s the basic default color of an Axolotl, but it has a huge variety. GFP and RFP and genes introduced by people that make the animal glow under a black or blue light. From what I’ve discovered following the geneticist Strohl, at least with GFP there is a super version. I guess you’d call it a dominant gene, since I believe the super and non super look about the same (though there can be variation in the amount of glow in any of them). The difference is of course that the super should produce all GFP offspring, and you get them from pairing GFP x GFP. I have not been able to test this but I’m working on it myself, I’ve got a GFP x GFP pair and waiting on eggs. I would think RFP is the same, but that’s much less common and I don’t know for sure that it follows the same pattern.
The basic recessive morphs are this: melanoid, axanthic, golden albino, white albino, copper, and leusistic.
White albino and axanthic are definitely separate genes. Albino and golden albino are linked and I personally just for hets say “het albino”, because depending on the pairing and their genetics you can get whites, goldens, or a mix. It’s very complicated and explaining how that works is difficult. They’re connected, but two different morphs.
Each morph has variations. For instance, you list dirty leusistic as a separate category. A dirty leusistic is just a variety of leusistic, like a bluegill leusistic is. You can breed them to have higher pigment in their face or gills, various different genes work together to make these differences, but they’re still leusistic.
Lavender in my experience is usually use for a light melanoid or axanthic, and I’ve noticed in both cases they’re usually het leusistic which I believe helps with the lighter color. Though I’m not sure that’s a defining trait explicitly.
Piebald is a variety of leusistic. It’s basically an extremely dirty leusistic. I would keep all leusistics in the same category. If you can give them sub categories that is okay. But you could breed a high dirty leucistic and still produce babies that aren’t very dirty or dirty at all. So making them separate might be confusing. I already get people thinking dirty and regular leusistic are two different genes :sweat:
I’m not familiar with enigma.
Silver dalmatian is I believe a very light silver colored wild with spots. They’re selectively bred to be that way. As I said originally, wilds have a lot of variety. I’ve got one that belongs to someone else in my house right now and we’re going to breed it to a het axanthic because we’re not sure if r dal is actually axanthic or truly a wild like I was told. You will also see things advertised as green wilds, which are particularly green animals… Light wilds… Dark wilds… Starburst (high iridiphore wilds). At the end of the day, they’re all wilds, just like all those leusistic types are all leusistic even if they’re bluegill or dirty.
Copper albino is a combination of copper and albino. Not one morph. Both are recessive. A lot of gene combos in Axolotls are actually kinda hard to tell apart. A copper albino for instance would be kinda hard to tell apart from a regular copper. Though you could tell a copper melanoid apart, or copper axanthic. But copper leusistic? Not really. People call red eyed leusistics “copper leusistics”, but from my research, they’re often just leusistics with red eyes. Usually their eyes are blue, but they can be red. A copper leusistic looks almost identical to a regular leusistic so many of the combos you will only know by knowing the genes of your animals or breeding them.
You have other variations in some colors such as HW (high white) and HI (high iridiphore). Iridiphores are the shiny spots on some axies. They are not on every morph. I believe mostly just wilds, coppers, and goldens, though I could be missing one. If a large part of the body is covered in these shiny bits, they’re considered high iridiphore. With goldens that’s called sunburst, with wilds it’s starburst… I think coppers is moonburst but I’m not positive. Some morphs also have high white variations, especially goldens. That’s where a large portion of their body is very light or white. You can also have pink goldens (I called them rose golds). They’re fairly uncommon, but very pretty. They are goldens with a pinkish look. I’m sure that’s not all the variety for the different morphs but it is a good bit! These variations are not recessive, but are based on various genetics at play other than the basic morph. From my discussions with Strohl, my understanding is that it’s not often just one gene that creates bluegill or many other varieties. It takes several genes working in the right way to get certain things. That’s why I identify them as the base morph, and consider the extra genes just variations in the basic morph. I feel to classify every single gene and variation would get highly confusing and complicated. So you have several varieties within most of the actual morphs.
There’s also something called mosaic, which is basically the Axolotl version of a paradox. You have split mosaic, which is when they’re pretty evenly split down the middle two different genes. I don’t remember what they call the mosaic that’s not split but it’s where the two genes are scattered all over the body rather than split. Mosaics are usually very expensive and highly sought after in the Axolotl community.

My suggestion would be to add a category for each basic gene and then subcategories for the different varieties if that’s possible (leusistic > dirty leusistic), but I’m not really sure if that’s what you are going for or not. Very awesome to see y’all working on so much. I’ll see if I can get anyone else to comment, and if I think of more I’ll add it or edit.


Your Dominant genes are correct: Dark, RFP, GFP
“Dark” is simply the dominant, opposite gene to the “white” gene. It codes for the production of endothelin-3 protein.
RFP and GFP are genes added to the axolotl genome deliberately from other organisms. They are always expressed when present, and have increased effect in homozygous animals.

There are only five recessive genes that directly influence color:
white (leucistic)

By definition, a “wild-type” has the dominant genes at all of these loci. In other words, a “wild type” has NO recessive features.

There are many other recessives that affect appearance. One example: Eyeless

Traits like “dirty leucistic”, spot size and number, or degree of color expression, like black melanoid vs light melanoid, are controlled by complexes of polygenes (like human skin, eye, and hair color).

A “lavender” is homozygous for both axanthic and melanoid, and the term is usually applied only to the lighter animals, which are het for albino, copper, or white.

True piebalds and “enigma” are forms of mosaics. You can add NAGs to that list, as well.


Also, regarding “fireflies”; the term is “embryonic grafting”, not “graphing”.

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“Starburst” is a specific, recessive gene or pair of genes that causes clustering of iridophores as the animal ages, causing the skin to darken as melanophores spread out much like the effect of the melanoid gene. It is NOT a high-iridophore wild.


The same for Sunburst? Just + Golden?

I would have to see an example of what you’re calling “sunburst” to answer that.

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A white albino may be either homozygous for both white and albino, or homozygous for both axanthic and albino. They are, in fact, distinguishable, but not without knowing exactly what to look for.

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This is what I’m going off.

I may be reading it wrong, you guys have been absolutely amazing here and I’m just catching up.


No. Satrburst has nothing directly to do with the number of iridophores - only their distribution. I understand that many of these terms being thrown around are made up by breeders as they find new combinations of genes or interesting genetic lines, but “starburst” has a very specific origin and meaning. I will try to locate the paper from the IU colony that first uses the term.

Continuing to refer to wild-types with high iridophore production as “starburst” is going to cause serious problems, not the least of which could be the failure to recognise real starbursts. They are relatively rare, and I have seen them called “wild melanoid”, “mel mosaics”, etc in posts.

It would be very nice if breeders who have actual starbursts would breed them and determine the inheritance pattern. They can’t do that if they mate them with “HI Wilds”.

I have only one, btw, and inadequate space and time to hold large numbers of wilds to maturity to get more just now, or I’d be on it myself.


I was stating things as I understood them regarding the starburst and such. I have always heard them referred to as basically just an animal with high iridiphores. However, Strohl is literally the professional here on that subject so definitely go with what he says!

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I have noticed a lot of confusion in the axie community because like he said, people tend to just make things up… And then no one is on the same page. There’s a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I find myself misunderstanding or being wrong occasionally because of that, like with the starburst! But he’s the geneticist so he’s probably one of the best sources for exactly what to go by.


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Like other have said, most morphs are recessive and only the 5 that influence color. Most people will refer to the dominant “dark” gene as wildtype, and since a wildtype can vary so much in color from very dark to very light individuals or even green it’s better to simply call them all wildtypes.

I wouldn’t personally think of dirty leucistics as line-bred, as my experience has shown that dirty leucistics can occur in a clutch where the parents are not from the same line or not too closely related. I could be wrong though so take what I say with a grain of salt. I also wouldn’t consider light or dark wilds line-bred traits either. The lighter or darker the individual is simply comes from the parents (ie. wildtypes from a melanoid parent usually end up as pretty dark adults), or can also be influenced by its environment. It really just depends on the amount and dispersion of dark pigment but isn’t necessarily a result of line-breeding.

There’s some debate around the whole lavender thing. I’ve seen light melanoids, copper axanthics, and high-white axanthics all called lavender; but it doesn’t really seem to be a recognized morph or phenotype.
This can also be said of the silver dalmatian morph, where some high-white axanthics or light melanoids are labeled as silver dalmatian, though it hasn’t been proven as an actual morph to my knowledge.

I’m not sure why axanthics are listed here as albino. Since axanthicism is just the lack of yellow pigment really any morph can be axanthic. It is a recessive trait that can be inherited though.
It can be hard to identify some axanthics such as leucistc and albino axanthics, but generally the visual axanthics include melanoid axanthic, copper axanthic, and melanoid axanthic copper (MAC).

My version of the list would look something more like this:
Wild type
GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) - Super GFP
RFP (Red Fluorescent Protein) - Super RFP

Dirty leucistic
Melanoid leucistc
-HI copper (moonburst)
Golden albino
-HI gold (sunburst)
Melanoid albino
-HW axanthic
-copper axanthic
-melanoid axanthic
-melanoid axanthic copper (MAC)

Line bred:
High iridophores (HI)
Blue Gill leucistic

Combo names
Golden HI- Sunburst
Copper HI- Moonburst
Melanoid axanthic copper- MAC

Chimera not genetically inheritable
Mosaic not genetically inheritable
FireFly embryonic grafting/not genetically inheritable


If I needed to categorize, this is how I’d put it:



NAG (non albino golden)
Genetically Modified (fireflies and the like)

Wild - Starburst, HI, green
Leusistic - dirty, bluegill, piebald
Albino - golden (HI, HW, pink)
Copper - HI
Axanthic - lavender/light
Melanoid - lavender/light

There are likely more varieties but that covers a lot of the typical ones. That list could go on and on since as we’ve discussed sometimes people just kinda come up with a new one (not that that’s exactly bad but not having much standard makes things like this difficult).

You can have any variety of recessive combos. Just like how in ball pythons you can have a pied hypo, you can have a melanoid albino or copper axanthic, ect. You can even have triple recessives, like a MAC. As previously mentioned, it may be hard to distinguish certain combos, but they’re still genetically possible regardless.

Any morph can be GFP or RFP, but wild is exclusively wild, like a normal ball python.

Recessive genes transfer the same as in ball pythons… You breed a wild to an albino, you’re going to get all wild 100% het albinos babies unless the wild parent carries the albino gene.

I will try to think of more for this :thinking: