Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Species: the Mexican Axolotl

The Mexican Axolotl has always been one of those strange creatures I've come to know and love. I even had a pet axolotl as a child. I wish I had a picture of him to share with you!

Unfortunately, the axolotl has been facing devastation from polluted waters and disease to being considered a delicacy in its homeland. Living exclusively in the Xochimilco lakes with a population of over 1500 per square mile, they have dwindled down to a staggering 25 per square mile and are now a critically endangered species.

Axolotls rarely undergo complete metamorphosis and keep their larval characteristics such as gills and dorsal fins. But these undeveloped axolotls will still live full lives anywhere from 10-15 years and grow up to a foot long. Because it is rare for them to fully develop, most of these salamanders spend their whole lives living underwater. However, some will eventually descend from the depths onto land and become full adult axolotls.

These fascinating creatures are the most studied salamanders in the world due to their regenerative abilities. This means that they can re-grow lost body parts like arms, legs, and tails. Scientists have even determined that they are able to regenerate heart and brain cells and studying the species has vastly contributed to the research of regenerative medicine.

Even Happy Aquarium supports the Axolotl!


  1. So I herd you liek Mudkipz...

  2. I knew you had an axolotl when you were a kid and so did I, oddly enough! But I was not aware of their regenerative capabilities and contribution to regenerative medicine...facinating! I love your blogs and I will continue to follow them! The radioactive boars was good too. Chernobl sure caused a butterfly effect! Thumbs up Ant!


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