Today I observed the first breeding activity of the season between a young pair of California kings. The male is a nice aberrant patterned black and white from Don Shores and the female is a blue-eyed blonde from Jim Sargent of Split Rock Reptiles.
The blue-eyed blonde mutation is one of the rarest morphs in California kings. It is a simple recessive genetic trait that originated from a single male that was captured in an area known as Elfin Forest in San Diego just before bulldozers leveled the entire area to build a new neighborhood. It was bred with a number of females to produce heterozygous offspring to introduce the trait to the hobby. This mutation is believed to be a form of hypomelanism (reduced black pigment) that lightens the brown coloration of the coastal phase California king snake to a rich tan color and brightens the yellow bands. The eye color also changes from a dark ruby color in hatchlings to a beautiful denim color as the snake matures, hence the name, blue-eyed blonde. Jim has some better pics of the blue-eyed blond here.
Very few breeders work with this morph so I'm excited at the prospect of producing some heterozygous offspring (which will not display the morph, but will carry the recessive gene necessary to reproduce it).