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RE: Crazy Question about Rubber Boas

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Posted by: RichardFHoyer at Sun Jan 9 11:42:33 2005  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by RichardFHoyer ]  

One would surmise that on rare occasions, an albino specimen is produced in Charina bottae as is the case with many species. I have never heard of anyone finding such a mutant. An acquaintance that once bred the species mentioned someone in Ohio or thereabouts had a piebald specimen.

If you visit my son's web site, it shows the genetic variation in the normal dorsal coloration of the species. Coloration varies not only between geographical populations but within populations as well. Same thing applies to the variation in ventral coloration although, the within variation is usually less noticeable than the between population variations.

There are two or three distinct color morph variants to my knowledge. In Idaho, I once examined a reasonably large number of boas collected by others. All specimens exhibited the normal range of brown dorsal coloration. However, approximately half possessed the normal ventral yellow while the other half exhibited orange colored ventrals. There wasn't any gradation and the ratio of 1:1 suggests a simple genetic mode of inheritance.

In about 1970, in Corvallis, Oregon I found a juvenile that was a pretty shade of light purple dorsally and whitish ventrally with black eyes. The next year, from a normal appearing, gravid female that my oldest son had collected in the same region, she produced a litter of 5 with two being wildtype (normal coloration) and three exhibiting he same mutant coloration I had observed in the juvenile the year before. A year later I found a 19" subadult female with the same mutation. Over the years, I worked out the genetics. The mutation behaved as a single gene recessive which I named 'lilac' for the coloration of the neonate (newborn). With age, the dorsal lilac turns to gray. The eyes remain black and ventral surface remains white.

Due to carelessness on my part, I eventually lost that line. A similar, if not identical mutation has been observed in Utah as well and as of a year ago, the original specimen was still being maintained. I have urged my son to obtain a photo of that specimen in order to incorporate it in his rubber boa web site.

When I first examined and recorded data on a litter of 4 neonates produced from a pair that came from the Mt. St. Helena area of Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties in Calif., I noticed they possessed an odd type of dorsal brown and rich lemon yellow ventrals. This coloration was quite different from what I had observed in all other neonates examined in Oregon, Washington, Calif., and Utah. I made note of it but then forgot all about it until someone sent me three neonates from SE Somoma County with the same distinct coloration. Two addition neonates were acquired (since released where found) with the same coloration.

Then this past active season, I bred a pair of boas that were found in the East Bay area of Berkeley, Calif. The female produced 7 neonates all with the distinctive coloration observed in the above mentioned boas from the Mt. St. Helena area. In contrast, all other neonates I have observed are generally a form of flesh color or light orangish/brown dorsally blending into a very light pinkish flesh ventral color sometimes with a hint of yellow.

Last, in May 2003, I found a small subadult male in Shasta County, Calif. that was burnt orange or rust color dorsally and orange ventrally. On my way back to Oregon a week later, about 100 meters away I found a subadult female that possessed the normal brown dorsal surface and a hint of orange with the ventral yellow. On my way south to Calif. to release boas I had found in the spring, this past Sept. I stopped by the same spot and found an adult female with the same identical coloration as the first subadult male. Below on this forum my son posted a few photos of that specimens along side a female with the more normal coloration.

Richard F. Hoyer


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