Morph Issues [Ball Pythons]

A post was split to a new topic: A question about piebald

So many different things said over the years with different a morphs.
How about HGW pairings. To Spider? To Woma?
Spider x Woma?


Pairing any known wobblers together is generally ill advised and frown upon. It either creates babies that die early on, or have severe wobble. Due to champagne x hgw being bad, I would imagine all the combos you stated would have similar if not worse results.


NERD has, in the past, sold animals labeled as Spider X HGW and Spider x Woma. From the few people I have been able to track down, al of them report that those animals only ever turned out to be Spider.

Back on the BLBC, Kevin mentioned once that HWG x Woma was lethal.

These animals either are, or are likely, alleles (HGW has been proven allelic, Woma has not) so it is no surprise that crosses between them are lethal when the superforms of all are lethal


What’s your opinion on why the blackhead crosses with all of them are viable? It seems to be the only one on the locus that doesn’t have a wobble and all the allelic crosses result in healthy offspring.


From a while back…


Wasn’t coming from that angle. I’m was asking all of them have wobble by themselves and have lethal crosses. Blackhead doesn’t have wobble by itself and none of the blackhead crosses are lethal. Why is it so much different than the rest of the alleles of the locus.


I’m gonna attempt the Travis example. Equal but opposite. We tend to think of a gene being expressed on a scale. Say up to 10. Spider is a 10 and expresses the wobble issue greatly. Champagne might be called an 8 as it does show it but not as greatly. Still has a lethal super. If sable proves to be part of the complex we could call it a 2, it really only shows a wobble in super form.

There’s no reason that same locus can’t express the other way. Blackhead might be a -10. So even a spider at 10 still gets cancelled out by a -10 from the blackhead. The locus controls the expression of that trait and it can go either way, depending on the gene.


Don’t get me started on this one lol. I understand yours and Travis examples. Just find it odd like blackhead is the odd man out of the team if that makes sense. But it’s proven allelic to multiple of these genes. Imo blackhead doesn’t have neurological problems not even at -10.

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So, I am kind of buried at work and do not have the time to go into details at the moment but I can address this quick

I know of one fairly good sized breeder that is reporting SuperBH do have a very minor wobble. I have not see/heard this confirmed by anyone.


When I have some free time I will dip back and address this in full


Haven’t heard that but that would for sure change my thoughts a great deal. Thanks Travis!


Okay, coming up for air (though may get pulled back into the depths at a moments notice…)

So… I apologize in advance but this is probably going to be a bit heavy on the jargon.

Without an actual gene-level interrogation, we do not know the identity of the gene at play in this complex but the consensus among those of us in the field is that it is most likely something to do with melanocyte migration and neural crest development. Background relevance here… Melanocytes, in addition to their well known, more normal role in being the cell type that holds melanin, also sometimes act as sort of “guides” for other cells to follow from point A to point B. When it comes to the neural crest, the proper distribution and integration of subsets of nerves is dependent on the proper migration of the melanocytes.

To try and make this an analogy - Imagine you have to run new fibre-optic cable under a street to wire up some houses. In a normal (WT/WT) case, you have a robotic drill unit that has a pair of drill heads that work together to bore a nice clean round hole under the street and the branch points to each of the houses and you can easily feed the fibre-optic cable through it.

With the majority of the mutants in this complex (Spider, Champ, Woma, HGW), one of the two drill heads in the pair is smaller/missing. So instead of a nice clean round hole you end up with a smalled, ragged, rough, spiraling hole. This makes it much harder to feed the fibre-optic cable through - the normal amount of cable gets hung up or kinked or forms clumps so you have to halve the amount of fibre-optic cable you put through so the performance in the houses is much reduced (manifest as wobble/neuro/twitch)

With the Blackhead mutation, we see something different. In this case, one of the drill heads is now larger than the other. The hole you end up with may be slightly rougher than normal but it is significantly larger and because of that you can actually feed extra fibre-optic cable through the hole. In this case, the performance in the houses is increased.

Now, when you pair Blackhead with one of the other mutants, you essentially end up with a hole that may not be perfectly circular but is still the proper sixe and because of that you can actually the normal amount of fibre-optic cable through the hole and end up with normal performance in the houses.

And, by extension, if you have a superform of the bad mutations, both of the drill bits being under-sized/missing means that you cannot feed sufficient fibre-optic cable through the hole for the houses to function at all
I hope that makes sense


Never ceases to amaze me the amount of info and detail you put into these explanations. Thank you! Never would have known any of this. Goes for this most recent response of yours as well as all the previous ones.


I appreciate that :slight_smile:


What is your opinion on the, admittedly anecdotal, statements by some breeders that notably lower temps during incubation result in reduced, or eliminated, expression of the neurological issues? Do you know of anyone incubating spiders at these lower temps reporting any improvement? Btw, loved your cable/digger analogy, very nice imagery.


How low of temps are they talking? I incubate at 86 degrees and definitely had some bad ones.


Wish I could remember where I saw it, but yeah, 85 or 86 sounds right. I remember it sounded much lower than the usual 88 to 90 I was hearing. I think the point was that they just felt like the wobble was reduced, like maybe growing slower gave the nervous system more time to develop.

But if Travis is right about the actual mechanism involved during development, then temps and time might not matter. And honestly, I’m going to go with what he says, I mean is there anyone else here who is a professional and does genetic research for a living?

Maybe those guys were just lucky and had slightly better lines with just abit less damage?


@chesterhf :wink:


Well much of the problem is 99% of the time, our first hand experience is a small sample size. Far too small to make any claims as concrete fact. I hatched 3-4 clutches of spiders before I had my first corkscrewer. After a few clutches I could of easily made the same claim of temps helping and said my limited experience agrees with others, I could claim the one corkscrewer was a fluke. As my sample size has grown over the years and more occasional cork screwers produced, I’ll say lower temps (at least at 86 ) don’t make a bit of difference. There nothing to suggest lower than that would matter either.

Only thing I’ve seen a actually reduce the wobble is when going from bad husbandry to good husbandry. That I’ve seen multiple times help out a wobbling snake and I mean bad trainwreck to barely noticable. Husbandry makes a world of difference.


Really? I honestly didnt know. That is awesome! Two experts sharing info with us, so cool, and we don’t even have to take out student loans. :wink: