It's going to be hard to beat Dark and Stormy Daniels. That cria will be at the top of my list for a long, LONG time.
But ... This girl is pretty amazing, too, for more reasons than one.
First things first: Just look at her. I mean ... Look at her!
The next thing that makes her exciting is that she is a granddaughter of the great Sparky, our farm ambassador and Harlequin Appaloosa poster child. As a reminder, she looks like this:
That isn't all, though. Starr, the baby's mama, is this girl here.
I'd previously observed that this solid silver coloring very often appears to be associated with a Tuxedo Grey parent. However, I don't believe I ever quite went so far as to hypothesize, publicly, that it could be the result of a combination of the two genotypes. I had supposed that it was just another cool manifestation of the extremely variable Harlequin Appaloosa gene. Starr's sire is a Tuxedo Grey, but, because her dam is the Classic Harlequin Sparky, and she started life light fawn, I had no reason to believe that Tuxedo had anything to do with her coloration.
Last year, Starr gave birth to a male. He startled me, because he was clearly a TUXEDO Rose Grey -- and according to my records, she had only ever been bred to Riddler, our solid fawn blue-eyed rock star, who clearly is not a Tuxedo. However, I had a vague recollection of breeding her to Vivanno, who IS a Tuxedo Rose Grey, and loves to make Tuxedo Rose Grey, and, frankly, last year's cria REALLY didn't look like a Riddler baby. It looked just like a Vivanno. Riddler stamps a very specific headstyle, and that cria just didn't have it. I try to keep good records, but one never does know -- and we never would know, because the cria did not make it past a few days of age (I believe it was a very difficult birth). I filed the information in the back of my mind, and, in 2017, I kept much better records.
I also only bred Starr to one male, and that is this guy. This guy is also NOT a Tuxedo.
The third reason this cria is such a big deal is that she gives me information. I am now pretty darned sure that Starr carries, and expresses, both the Tuxedo Grey and Harlequin Appaloosa genes. This is a huge deal, because most alpacas that carry both genes only express the Tuxedo. I also hypothesize that it is the interplay of these genes that gives Starr her solid Platinum coloring. I think it possible that this baby might -- emphasis on might -- also carry both, and that this is why she is so uniform in color.
What do we do with this information? ... Not sure yet ... But I have some ideas. Regardless, it's exciting to have. Knowledge is always a big deal.