Spark vs Specter

Hello! I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there are visual cues that might indicate the differences between Specters and Sparks? If I’m remembering correctly they are both in the Yellowbelly complex so they look similar, but are there any definitive markers?

Thank you!

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I believe that, in general, the different genes in the YB complex cannot be reliably told apart, although some people will tell you otherwise, and that is how mistakes are made. I would never buy an animal as a spark if it had a YB parent, no matter what the breeder said. Animals like that can only honestly be represented as “spark/YB”

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I agree :100: with @westridge.

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I see, thank you so much!

Here is the thing… Prior to Asphalt/Gravel it was not uncommon for people to breed out a SuperStripe or a Puma and be able to segregate the offspring. The fact that Specters were around for years in multiple collections and known to be at least a dominant gene backs this because if people really thought they were just YBs then they would not have been treated as something different.

Out of all the clutches from SS and Puma that that I saw I only recall a single case where someone purchased an animal labeled as YB and it ended up being a Spark (and it was a multi gene one as well so that explained the confusion)

Then Asphalt/Gravel hit the scene and the ability to tell them apart from a YB became a major issue. Because these alleles are so phenotypically similar, breeders could not tell them apart and so they had to use the either/or designation. But that same near-identical phenotype would mean that the known ability to distinguish the other two alleles would continue to apply. I feel the rest of the hobby just adopted the either/or less because Specter and Spark are not indistinguishable and more because it is just easier to throw the backslash in there rather than take the time to really ID things and also because it is a bit of a marketing tool

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Hey thanks for the insight!

@t_h_wyman This is interesting! Do you know of any resources websites etc that would have information on telling the difference? I personally would like to be able to distinguish between the various yellowbelly complex genes. It would be great to sell animal’s labeled with out a slash! Also would greatly help me out in my own projects.

I don’t have any experience with Spark, but with Spector & YellowBelly in the mix I felt I was able to tell them apart. I’ll post some pictures of the single gene animals from a superstripe x gravel pairing. When I see breeders, who have a lot of experience with the highways & freeways, not being able to tell them apart I tend to believe that they’re indistinguishable in their single gene form. It’s not like they’re only going off of a few pairings from only one or two seasons. Honestly I would rather not deal with the backlash down the road of mislabeling, I’ll put my opinion out there but also the facts from the pairing so whoever is purchasing can decide for themselves. I do believe, like @t_h_wyman said, that some use it as better marketing for their offspring. Not everyone is smart enough to think that way about it though, most likely more to avoid the backlash :joy:
I was thinking Specter

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Yellowbelly hereimage|375x500

I haven’t found any sites dedicated to pointing out the differences but there are quite a few posts out there from over the years where people lend their two cents. I primarily would go off of pictures out there, but now that I think of it that’s maybe not the most reliable source, depending on the breeder & how much actual experience they have. My best advice would be actual personal experience W/ the genes in question &/or talk with someone trustworthy who already has.

Sadly, the best resource was past interviews on the old ReptileRadio podcast and the BLBC forums, both of which are defunct and lost to the cyber-ether now.

If you are on Facebook, Jerry Robertson has been a great source for ID when it comes to Specter animals. I will see if I can get him to jump in over here

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I don’t work with spark, but to me spark is sort of an inbetween if you will, between a specter and a yellow belly. They have some of the flaming yb’s have, the same head stamp as a yb, but their pattern tries to emulate specter, so i get the confusion. That confusion is why i have stayed away from sparks, and asphalt/gravels too. I can almost always ID specter and specter combos from yb and yb combos, because they are quite different. Specters main marker is their square and rectangular aliens that extend clear to the belly. In general specters have very few flames compared to yb.

Specters tend to be striped with spots inside some of the striping, some sparks also have this feature, so no help differentiating the two there. Same head stamp too, all of the yb complex head stamps are very similar, so no help there.
Having not worked with spark, i really can’t say how to 100% differentiate spark from specter, but in general, spark with try to emulate yb more than specter. Most sparks and most yb’s have a lot more flaming than specters have.

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Doesn’t get much better than Jerry here. He helped me years ago when I was trying to ID yb’s in one of my first clutches. Glad to see you here as I’ve been out of the FB world lately.

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Pastel yb het clown on left, pastel specter het clown on right.
Fairly easy to id yb from specter …

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A single gene specter to show the lack of flaming specters have.
all of the other yb complex snakes have more flaming than specters, in my experience

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Thank you!!! This helps a lot.

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Yes thank you!