Chaos River Road Alterna
Several years ago a breeding loan was arranged between a couple of Vivid River Road females and a wild alterna from the Big Hill. The resulting offspring were highly variable with aggressively busy and varied patterns, even by River Road standards. It was later determined that part of the genetic component from the wild Big Hill male, the component that drives variability, was prepotent. Eventually, offspring carrying the prepotent trait from various matings were bred together and in one such pairing the Chaos trait emerged. Trying to tease out and determine the dominant/recessive status of the genes that control specific color and pattern elements in this strain would be very difficult and perhaps a fool's errand. At this point, we are only willing to say that, based on firsthand observations, it appears that the genes responsible for the Chaos mutation are inheritable with visual phenotypes. With emphasis on the plural, "phenotypes," because there are many.
The Chaos Factor
So what does a Chaos River Road alterna look like? It's not an easy question to answer because the Chaos animals conform to no particular pattern or color type. They are visually recognizable by having pattern/color elements that are extraordinary, often in disarray, over-the-top, chaotic. Some of the pattern types we have seen in the Chaos Rivers include: severely asymmetrical patterns, smeared orange (not really saddles), asymmetrical speckling, solid black body, orange striping (one to ~10 scales wide,) no pattern, severely shotgunned orange saddles, high, black and white tiger striped sidewalls, intense, borderless orange diamonds mixed with speckling and so on.
Two earmarking features that seem to turn up in about 50% of the specimens are black head "caps" where the top of the head is black from the rostral to the parietals and irregular "birthmarks" of lithium gray that can reside anywhere on the body. The "black head" trait is common in alterna from the Devil's River drainage but not so common on the River Road. The lithium colored birthmark is easy to see on light phase specimens, not so easy to discern on darker specimens.
A small gallery of Chaos alterna is in the works and should appear on this page fall 2016. Until then, various Chaos motifs will appear on the "Available" page.