OK...so you've browsed the website and seen some words and descriptions that leave you scratching your head. No problem! Below, you'll find an alphabetical glossary of common terms used with corn snakes (and other reptiles). Learning can be fun, and once again, the more you know...the happier you and your new pet will be.
Amelanistic (aka Amel, red albino): A genetic condition resulting in the lack of any melanin. Melanin is a pigment in a snake mainly responsible for the black, brown, and grey coloration. Amelanistic corns have a much brighter appearance due to the lack of this melanin. Amelanism is the most commonly found mutation in corn snakes.
Anerythristic (aka Anery, black albino): A genetic condition resulting in the lack of erythrin. Erythrin is a pigment in a snake mainly responsible for the red coloration. Anerythristic corns also lack most of their yellow coloration, but individuals vary.
Caramel: A genetic condition resulting in the lack of red pigment (erythrin), but yet retains a large amount of yellow pigment (xanthin). A snake which is heterozygous for caramel generally tends to have "more yellow" coloration to its phenotype.
Co-dominant: A relationship between two genetic mutations in which the result of the combination affects the phenotype (appearance) of a snake. An example of co-dominance: a snow corn snake. A snow is a co-dominant example of the expression of both amel and anery. Take away the red, brown, black, and grey colors from a normal corn snake and what do you have? A primarily white snake.
Diffused (aka bloodred): A genetic condition resulting in deep red color and a faded pattern in a snake's phenotype. As a hatchling, a bloodred is darker than a normal corn snake, but as it matures, the dark red coloration intensifies and its pattern fades. Diffused corn snakes lack ventral checkers similar to motley and striped specimens. The most impressive adult bloodreds have almost no visible pattern.
Genotype: The genetic make-up of a snake. The genotype represents all known genetic characteristics and/or mutations a snake possesses, but does not necessarily express in its appearance.
Heterozygous (aka Het): A genetic condition in which a snake may possess one or more mutations (color and/or pattern) inherited from one or both of its parents. Other than a few exceptions, the snake's appearance will not be affected by its heterozygous traits. Depending on the genetic make-up (genotype) of a snake's parents, it can result in 100%, 66%, 50%, or "possible" probability of it being "het" for traits. Heterozygous traits can make a snake more desireable or valuable.
Homozygous (aka Homo): A genetic condition in which a snake possesses identical traits inherited from its parents. There are only a few exceptions where a snake's homozygous traits are not visible. An example of homozygous traits: The offspring from a male and female amelanistic corn snake...will result in all of their offspring being homo amel.
Hypomelanistic (aka Hypo): A genetic condition resulting in the reduction of the quantity and/or quality of melanin production. Hypomelanistic corns generally have a lighter appearance than normal corns due to the reduction of melanin.
Lavender: A genetic condition in which a snake's phenotype results in an odd gray color..."purple"...hence the name! A lavender's color is hard to capture in pictures and could really only be appreciated in person. Many lavender corn snakes have a peachy/pink background coloration...hypomelanistic lavender corn snakes express this trait even more.
Melanin: A pigment mainly responsible for the black, brown, and grey coloration.
Motley: A genetic pattern mutation. A motley corn snake's dorsal saddles appear to be "stretched". Though the pattern of motleys vary greatly, many tend to have the appearance of connected saddles. Motley individuals lack ventral (belly) checkers similar to striped and bloodred specimens. Motley individuals also appear lighter in coloration than a normally patterned snake, similar to a hypomelanistic influence.
Phenotype: The outward appearance (size, color, pattern, etc.) of an individual. Phenotype is what a corn snake "looks like", and does not necessarily represent the entire genetic make-up (genotype) of the snake.
Snow: A morph resulting from the co-dominant combination of amel and anery. This mutation results in a primarily white snake with markings which appear to be "clear" or yellow depending on the individual.
Striped: A genetic pattern mutation. A striped corn snake's dorsal pattern consists of four thin stripes, the top two stripes are slighty thicker than the two located on the side of the side. Though "perfectly" striped corns exist, it is much more common to see striped corns with at least one break in their pattern. Striped individuals lack ventral (belly) checkers similar to motley and bloodred specimens. And striped individuals (like motleys) also appear lighter in coloration than a normally patterned snake.
Ultra: A form of hypomelanism. A genetic condition resulting in reduction of melanin production. The ultra gene is unique in that it is found at the amel locus, making it co-dominant. When an ultra corn is bred to an amel corn, the offspring are then referred to as "ultramel". Ultramels are generally lighter than ultras and darker than amel. The ultra gene has just been discovered recently, many ultra morphs are still quite rare, and many new exciting corn morphs are being produced using ultra and/or ultramel.
There are literally thousands of genetic mutation combinations!!! There are far too many genetic morphs/mutations (color and/or pattern) to even scratch the surface of what is available. For more information, order a copy of 'The Corn Snake Morph Guide'. This book is a guide for morphology, genetics, pricing, and identification. And this book is cheap too! Order a copy here: http://www.cornguide.com