Facts about Axolotl
Axolotl, also known as The Mexican walking fish, is a kind of amphibian that represents unmetamorphosed larvae of the Mexican salamander. It is endemic species for the lake Xochimilco, close to Mexico City. Axolotl can be found only there and nowhere else. Unlike different amphibians, axolotl spends its whole existence in the water. Axolotl is served as delicacy in some Mexican restaurants. Axolotl is classified as a critically endangered species.
They feed generally on smaller species of aquatic life mostly focusing on tiny fish, mollusks and arthropods.
Axolotl can reach the size of up to 12 inches in the length and the weight of up to 8 pounds. Gender identification can be performed only by expert, because males and females look similar.
Their diet can vary to include additional fresh water creatures such as terrestrial worms, salmon eggs and zooplankton.
Color of axolotl’s body can be black, mottled brown, albino (without any pigment) or white.
Axolotl is almost extinct due to invasive species being introduced into its habitat, as well as habitat loss.
Unique feature of the axolotl to retain larval characteristics in the adult stage is phenomenon called neoteny.
Axolotl can grow back lost limbs in only a few weeks.
Axolotl looks like a tadpole with limbs, dorsal fin and a pair of external gills. Axolotl does not have eyelids.
Axolotl can regenerate its lungs, heart, spinal cord and parts of its brain, if it suffers a head injury and heals without any scarring.
Like most aquatic animals, axolotl breathes by using the gills. Besides gills, axolotl can breathe via skin, thanks to dense network of capillaries.
Axolotl is over 1,000 times more resistant to cancer than mammals.
Gills are also used as excretory organ. Axolotl eliminates part of metabolic products through urine and other parts via gills.
Axolotl uses gravel in its body to regulate buoyancy.
Skeleton is made of cartilage just like in cartilaginous fish. Also, axolotl has the same type of muscles like this group of fish.
The Carp and Tilapia are the primary predators of Axolotl.
Axolotl is a carnivore (meat-eating animal). It likes to eat mollusks, crustaceans, small fish and insect larvae. Axolotl sometimes eats other axolotls when they are small in size.
The Axolotl anatomy has a very unique characteristic, known as neoteny meaning animals that keep their juvenile characteristics until adulthood without undergoing many phases of change.
Axolotl has unique capability to regenerate (re-create) different parts of its body in the case they are lost or damaged. Axolotl can regenerate missing limbs, kidney, heart and lungs.
The word Axolotl comes from the Ancient Aztecs who revered them, and translates to mean ‘water dog’.
Because of its incredible power of regeneration, axolotl is one of the most examined types of salamander in the world.
The adult male Axolotl has a large, wide head and eyes without eyelids.
Mating season of axolotls takes place during the spring. Mating season is determined by the length of the day and by the temperature of the water.
The females axolotl have a smaller cloaca along with a round, plump body.
Female releases 300 to 1100 eggs per mating season. Eggs are gelatinous and can be easily glued for the ground.
Male axolotl have a longer tail than the female and a swollen cloaca which is lined with papillae.
Newly born axolotl has external gills, tail and two projections on both sides of the head that are used for attaching to the substrate. As axolotl grows, gills are becoming larger and its limbs develop.
Spawning takes place in the late winter which is when water temperature and levels are more temperate.
Axolotl reaches sexual maturity at the age of 12 months.
Axolotl is also captured for medicinal purposes, and the international pet trade.
When axolotl is kept under right conditions and provided with adequate diet, it may survive up to 15 years in captivity. Axolotls in the wild live between 10 and 12 years.