Monday, December 26, 2005


an interesting post from KS by Aaron Mattson about the gray vs. silvers

Hey Dusty, glad you posted those pics.
A little history, that "silver" suboc was collected by Shawn Deveroe in 1999 in the Christmas Mtns. when we were both there and I got it from him. There has been skepticism by people that have only seen pics of that snake and I can't say it's unwarrented. I have never gotten a good pic of that snake. I will say that every hunter who saw it in person said anerythristic. At the time I thought so too but now I would say more correctly it is hypoxanthic. There is not a trace of yellow on the snake anywhere however the head and the longitudinal dorsal stripes that connect the H-Bars are a faded brown. The ground color is gray and the H-Bars themselves are black. Last year I bred it to a wild caught normal female suboc also from the Christmas Mtns. I got six babies and all were normal dark beige. I no longer have either of the adults or the babies. In 2002 Ric Blair and I collected another "silver" at Black Gap. The colors are exactly the same as the Christmas "silver" except the gray is much lighter. Last year I bred her to a wild caught normal male from Black Gap and produced 4.3 and I kept 2.1, Ric got 1.1 and Shannon Brown got 1.1. All of those babies were very pale cream, but not white and not silver. The 2.1 I kept are developing more color and they look like they are going to be just normal light colored subocs. This year I bred the same pair and got 3.3 and all are just like the ones from the previous breeding, pale cream. I will refrain from commenting on Sighthunters snakes because I have not seen them in person and I know how inaccurate pictures can be.

Now a little info on the so called gray phase that is mentioned sometimes in field guides. I have read there is a gray phase that occurs naturally in the Franklin Mtns. I do not think it could be very common there because I have a friend who hunted the Franklins alot for many years for lepidus and he has seen many subocs there but never a gray phase. Maybe there is a population in the Franklins where they are common but everything I have heard and what you just reviewed indicates that it is a rare morph that occurs sporadically throughout their range. I think the natural gray phase and the "silvers" I have and have had are possibly the same thing and I think that is that they are naturally occuring but rare hypoxanthic subocs. I think the variation from very light to regular gray is is possibly the same gene acting on different base colors. My opinion is based on ten years of hunting west TX and I have seen hundreds of wild subocs of all phases, cream, yellow, orange, biege and even light army green.

My sincere opinion is that the "silver" Black Gaps will prove to be simple recessive. "Silvers" did not show up for me in the first generation from 2 clutches and I have never seen a snake that is (in person at least) so obviously a color morph of some sort eventually prove out either simple recessive or co-dominant. I would not be suprised if all those you mentioned, including the axanthic blonds were compatible. The reason I think even the axanthic blonds may be compatible is because they already lack the longitudinal dorsal stripes so there are no stripes there to be brown. This could also acount for the lack of any brown on the heads of the axanthic blondes. Anyways that is just my personal opinion and I am not claiming it is 100% correct. I should be able to bred the unproven het males to their mother in 2007 and maybe I will find out for sure about at least my snake then.

Seems to me the axanthic/silver/black and white thing will be settled once someone makes a snow with one or all of them. I am curious to see what a snow Sub oc looks like from any of them seems Trumbower or Barkers should have made one by now. I know silver adults have been around for 15 years or so. Mark Bell used to have tons of them.
Albino could have been crossed into silver many years ago. So why aren't there any "snow"? Could it be that the silver is just that "silver? Maby there is no true axanthic yet? Seems there is some problem making them in my thinking there sould be snow by now.
The Barkers had triple hets, but I don't know what happened to them.
Adam told me alot of their animals died off. Maybe their non-cooling methods of "brumation" didn't work on subocs long-term.
The only people I know of who have adult triple hets now are Todd Smith, Craig Trumbower and myself. Again, I don't know about the Barkers.
The albino x silvers should produce snows. I have no doubt about it. Todd's triple hets have produced albinos, silvers of both patterns, blondes, even a couple of albino blondes, and plenty of het "normals" .
We're just waiting on that 1/16 chance of hatching out a snow.
My triple hets and Craig's triple hets (all siblings) are two-year-olds and should hopefully produce this year.
I'm sure one of us will see a snow this year, if not, then the next for sure.
We know that the Bell axanthics are true axanthics.
You're right about the "gray" phase. I don't think we quite understand the genetics yet on the wild gray morphs. Only time will tell on those.
And yeah, I'm interested to see how your light-colored ones come out when bred together or back to the father.
Bottom line, the reason we haven't seen "snow" is because neither I nor Craig have bred our triple hets yet.
Todd has come closer, though no cigar yet.
Since I got Black and White morphs from three different females I am banking on making some Lucistic or real clean black on white. But like all things only God knows the future and we can dare to dream. Is there a Black Morph? Melanistic? Who knows there will be one somewhere.
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