Kumonryu are doitsu (scaleless) koi with a solid white (shiro) base and areas of black (sumi) pattern overlaying the shiro. Kumonryu (which translates to "nine crested dragon") are said to have been created from a crossing of Matsukawabakke and Shusui brood stock. They may be either completely scaleless, or may have a single line of large mirror scales running along the lateral and dorsal lines.
Kumonryu is one of the most fascinating and interesting koi varieties to own, primarily because their pattern will change completely many times throughout their lifespan. Any single Kumonryu can change to solid white, solid black, or any possible pattern in between, at any point in their life. No one is certain of what brings about the change in pattern, although changes in water temperature and pH seem to play a role.
Since the pattern of any single Kumonryu will change many times throughout it's life, it is important to select Kumonryu based primarily on factors other than pattern. As with all koi, body conformation should be one of the most important points. Also, beware of any deformities of the tail or pectoral fins, as these are common in this variety.
Additionally, pay attention to the depth and quality of the sumi. While the pattern itself will not remain constant, the quality of the sumi will.
Kumonryu with a Killer Whale-like pattern seem to be especially popular among koi hobbyists, although it is highly doubtful that any Kumonryu will keep the pattern throughout it's lifespan.
For more Kumonryu images, check out the Kumonryu Image Gallery and Butterfly Kumonryu Image Gallery.