Axolotl: The adorable amphibian that can regrow its body and stay looking young forever
The Mexican salamander is located in a couple of lakes and is considered critically endangered, with invasive predators and pollution contributing to the decline of this species.
The name Mexican salamander ( Ambystoma mexicanum) is also known as an Axolotl.
Where it is located: Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco close to Mexico City
What it consumes is an assortment of small invertebrates with tiny fish
What makes it so unique: Despite its rarity, the adorable axolotl’s appearance has made it one the most well-known amphibians in the world and awe-inspiring characters from Pokemon as well as Animal Crossing and appearing on Minecraft and even being featured in an official Google Doodle.
It’s like a dog’s version of an amphibian with a smiley face and frilly gills. This adorableness is due to being unable to grow correctly. Most salamanders undergo metamorphosis from their aquatic larval forms to their primarily terrestrial adult counterparts. But, the axolotl is among the species of salamander that don’t. Instead, it keeps all the features of a larva, such as external gills and a fin on its back. It remains aquatic but can reproduce. This is called href=”https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/pedomorphosis#:~:text=The%20prolongation%20of%20larval%20life,tissues%2C%20it%20is%20called%20neoteny. “>paedomorphosis or the term neoteny.
All adore the axolotl because it is considered the national amphibian of Mexico and was featured on a bill worth 50 pesos issued in 2021.
But with only 500 to 1,000 individuals still in nature and a declining population, it’s considered to be critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is confined to a few lakes in the southern part of Mexico City; it faces habitat destruction due to the introduction of invasive and polluted predators.
The increased visibility of the species can go a long way towards helping to preserve the species. Still, a lot of work has been done to improve the quality of water in the areas where it is found and encourage traditional farming practices that help create habitats for the species.