Pink Tongue Pied

In January 2020 the Reptile Community was made aware of a new morph of the eastern blue tongue that had been found by an owner in her backyard in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Not only was it a new morph but one that carried a pattern which was akin to a pied and more so a ‘back stripe’ or ‘white sided pied’ (a name found being used for the corn snake morph of similar patterning). Another unique feature was a pink tongue, a colour that is divergent from the normal bright blue tongue’s characteristic of the genus. (Blue tongue which gives the genus its common name).
The unique morph was donated to the Gosford Reptile Park where it is believed a litter was produced end of 2020 and introduced into the hobby. The Park have been instrumental in facilitating the distribution of two other unique wild caught morphs such as the hypermelanistic and albino morphs.
The genus derives its common name from the bright blue tongue found in wild type bluetongues. In this unique morph the tongue is bright pink, a colour found normally in only albino and to a lesser degree the white morphs.
Key features of pied:
– back stripe dark brown and pink sides.
– unique pink tongue for a non-albino.
– heterozygotes also carry pink tongue.
– believed to be dominant genetics.
– colour intensity temperature activated.
– pied style patterning in some areas of body.
Much work needs to be done to fully understand the dynamics of the genes’ and how they impact on other currently created morphs. Work is being carried out to see effects of other morph combinations.
This morph is documented as having been found in the Hunter Valley in a residential back yard. Temperatures for this region can go as low -4C in winter and as high as 35C in summer. The morph is an eastern and can tolerate and indeed need these low temperatures to flourish. As I’ve mentioned previously, the colours are heightened by the lower temperatures.
‘Zoos, aquaria, sanctuaries and animal parks must be established, maintained and monitored under relevant state or territory legislation. Animal welfare and ethics committees should be established to oversee the welfare of the animals being kept in such facilities to ensure openness and transparency. ‘
The public’s perception whether rightly or wrongly, is that these establishments are a safe and a desirable haven for rare finds and discoveries. Whilst this may be the outcome in many cases, ethics committees and government legislation must be in place to ensure compliance with state laws. Again, whilst this may be the case, the overall and most important consideration I believe, is for the animal’s conservation. Private breeders have in many cases had much better success at not only breeding, but also distributing these rare animals. How this is done is still the subject of much controversy as it’s also an avenue for businesses to circumvent many roadblocks in the licensing debacle. It is now evident that the ‘Pink tongue pied’ has been and is being bred for further distribution into the hobby. Whether this was unethical or unlawful is not being questioned here, my main concern being only that like the albino and the hypermelanistic, all three have been introduced into the hobby whilst the natural population are left untouched.