Axolotl by Conor, Kenny and Marc

If Kenny, Marc and I could save one animal in the world it would be the Axolotl because of its funny look and nice colours. The Axolotl is one of the endangered animals. For many years scientists did not realise that the Axolotl was the same species as the Mexican Salamander, but at the same larval stage of development. At this stage, the Axolotl has pink feathery gills and lives in lakes near Mexico City. However the Axolotl can lay eggs while in its larval form. If the lake dries up, the Axolotl turns into its adult form, breathing air. The Axolotl is now so rare that it is listed as a threatened species.

Normally coloured brown with black spots or black all over. Albino and white are fairly common as well. The Axolotl’s body length is 18cm (7in) and it has a long, powerful tail. The Axolotl spends all its life water and it has feeble limbs. The Axolotl is an unusual species of Salamander which retains its larval features, such as gills, and remains aquatic throughout its life. Most Axolotl’s fail to undergo Metamorphosis but if its habitant dries up this species the Axolotl can metamorphise into an adult form. Instead of forming scare tissue when wounded, the Axolotl can regenerate tissue at the wound site and even re-grow missing limbs. Despite remaining in a larval form, the Axolotl does become sexually mature and reproduces at around 12 to 18 months old.

One of the traits they share with their land-dwelling cousin, the Tiger Salamander, is their longevity.The Axolotl has been known to live up to 15 years in the wild.  Throughout this time they will feed on a variety of aquatic animals such as worms, mollusks, insect larvae and other various crustaceans.  Unfortunately the population of the Axolotl is beginning to dwindle as large fish are introduced into their lakes knocking them off the top of the food chain.  As you can imagine there are problems living so close to a highly populated centre such as Mexico City.

Albino axolotl by Orizatriz (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Albino axolotl by Orizatriz (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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