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In any event the first scientific description of the half-black pattern occur ed in O. Zoologiska Bidrag fran Uppsala According to the article, the strain began with a three-quarter black male with unusual markings. This must have been a guppy half-black and snakeskin hybrid. It was imported by Paul Hhnel and handed to a Mr. He worked with it for some time and then passed it on to the Mac Guppy Hatchery. Apparently 55 tanks were devoted to the project over 18 months. The Pattern The snakeskin pattern can be described as islands of black color cells melanophores in a sea of platinum iridophores.

Figure 6 shows a close-up of the region of skin on a snakeskin spanning the tail on the left and peduncle on the right.


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The darker areas are the islands of melanophores and the lighter areas are the iridophores. A microscope image illustrates this even better. What is dramatically revealed by the microscope image is that the melanophores exist as islands in a sea of melanophores. So in some sense, the snakeskin pattern in the guppy is half-way between a stripe and a spot pattern! In fact the pattern is due in a large part to the interaction of melanophores black color cells and xanthophores yellow color cells. This is a topic I discuss in depth in the Guppy Color Manual.

Snakeskin Variations Guppy color cells exist in layers, with melanophores at the bottom, iridiphores light reflecting color cells in the middle and the yellow and red pigment color cells xantho-erythrophores on the topmost layer. The pigment color cells can give the snakeskin an overall yellow, red, green, black or other color tone The color of the light reflected by iridophores can also affect the color.

Guppy Color Strains

You see a lot of blue color in the picture above of the snakeskin skin, which means the reflecting iridophores has given this strain a lot of blue color. The blue mixes with.

Again, see the Color Manual for a detailed description of guppy color. Because the color cells can be under the influence of so many different genes, snakeskin patterns can be quite variable. The hobby does not really have the language to describe all the possible permutations, both in terms of color or the fineness or coarseness of the pattern, indeed whether it is in a stripe or spot formation.

Mosaic, which is the crudest pattern, often exhibited as irregular vertical lines spreading out from the base of the caudal fin like sound waves. The lines are clearly separated. Leopard, where the pattern is large widely spaced spots. Grass where the pattern is small, dense spots, sometimes with a clear background glass. Figure 9. Lace Snakeskin Photo by Philip Shaddock.

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This particular strain also has a finely detailed pattern on the body. The snakeskin gene is dominant over the wild type. Female snakeskins crossed with male Moscows have snakeskin peduncles and snakeskin fins and are called Metal Heads. The half-black gene makes the peduncle area of snakeskins black and the fins become a dot pattern, creating a guppy Asians call the Dragon guppy.

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The Stoerzbach, Metallic Gold, magenta and possibly other autosomal metal genes cause the snakeskin pattern to be completely or almost completely suppressed, producing a blue or yellow metallic phenotype, often with spotted fins. An example is the Mikariff guppy. See the chapter on the Mikariff. The platinum gene and other Y-linked genes affecting iridophores cause a modified snakeskin pattern.

Lace patterns become cobra, often with zebrinus bars in the peduncle.

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Guppy Color Strains Philip Shaddock | Phenotypic Trait | Dominance (Genetics)

The half-tuxedo pattern splits the peduncle area horizontally into a upper half of black and a bottom half of platinum yellow. The basis for all these changes may be in how these genes affect the interaction of color cells. How color cells interact with each other on close contact is a major determinant of animal patterns. It will be shown that many of the genes that we commonly talk about as pattern genes affect the way color cells repulse, attract or suppress. It is a different way of thinking about guppy patterns, as the cumulative effect of a gene acting on individual color cells, rather than the imposition of order on a group of color cells.

It is a bottomup order, not a top-down order. Once you begin to think about color cells in this way, you have come a long way along the way to mastering the manipulation of these patterns. Think of the snakeskin pattern as a gene that somehow contains the blueprint of a pattern and you become hopelessly lost in your quest. This does not mean that genes cannot have domains of influence. There are separate genes for the snakeskin pattern in the body Ssb and the fins Sst. Because the snakeskin body and fin genes are so close together on the chromosome i.

So the proper way to indicate the genetics of snakeskins is this: XSsb Sst Y.


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  4. When the link is broken between the Ssb and Sst genes, such that they end up on separate chromosomes, you often get different types of snakeskin-like patterns on the body and the fins, like Figure Figure The guppy has a fine lace pattern on the body and a really coarse pattern on the fins. Indeed the Ssb and Sst genes can be separated entirely.

    You can have a snakeskin body and solid color fins, or vice versa. The Japanese Grass. I put the word snakeskin in quotation marks because the actual genes involved may not be adequately described by the single term snakeskin or filigran or cobra. Again, the most comprehensive reference here is the Color Manual which goes into a great detail about so-called snakeskin genetics. But I can summarize it here by saying that the idea that patterns in animals are due to single genes has long been shown by scientists to be oversimplified to the point of being incorrect.

    Guppy Designer – Guppy Color Facts

    In fact patterns are due to multiple genes participating in gene networks. Here is an example illustrating what I mean. Nobody in the hobby would consider the Magenta gene to be a snakeskin gene. Yet the presence of the Magenta mutated gene in a strain causes the snakeskin gene to behave very oddly. It produces a phenotype that varies in the expression of the pattern, like the Peacock guppy I produced by crossing a Magenta Moscow with an X-linked snakeskin. The F1 male of the cross is sown in Figure Is the Magenta gene a snakeskin gene?

    No, but it obviously affects the expression of the snakeskin gene.

    So the Magenta gene and the snakeskin gene must belong to the same network. This network affects the relationship between the color cells. And the Magenta gene messes up the relationship of color cells in the snakeskin guppy such that this beautiful Peacock phenotype is produced. The Moscow gene obviously belongs to the same network as well. So this brings us back to the discussion of the lace and coarse snakeskin genetics. Is there a lace gene? Is there a coarse gene? It gives the snakeskin a finely detailed pattern.

    XSsb Sst La Y. If we think in terms of gene networks rather than pattern genes then we can easily see that the so-called lace gene is gene that belongs to the same network of genes as the so-called snakeskin gene. This is a very subtle but necessary distinction.