Interesting Facts About Axolotl: Is It An Amphibian Or Reptile?

Axolotl is a type of amphibian that represents unmetamorphosed larvae of the Mexican salamander. It is endemic species for the lake Xochimilco, near the Mexico City. That means that it can be found only there and nowhere else.
Unlike other amphibians, axolotl spends its entire life in the water. Main threat to the survival of the axolotl is introduction of the new, aggressive fish species into the lake, draining and pollution of the water, pet trade and overfishing. Besides that, axolotl is served as delicacy in certain Mexican restaurants. This unique-looking animal is listed as critical endangered.
With big branch-like gills, lizard-like limbs, and a cute perma-smile, it’s hard not to fall in love with the axolotl. Don’t worry, we’ll help you pronounce it. Phonetically, it’s “Ax-oh-lot-ul.” Atl means “water” and xolotl means “dog,” after the Xolotl, the canine Aztec deity.
Here are 7 interesting facts about axolotl:
1. Is the axolotl an amphibian or reptile? The axolotl is a salamander and like other salamanders, it is an amphibian. This means that it is capable of living both on land and in water and that it has smooth skin and soft eggs. However, you will quickly discover that the axolotl is unlike other salamanders.
2. Axolotls do not undergo metamorphosis. Salamanders, like other amphibians and insects, are supposed to go through a process known as metamorphosis. What this means is that they change form, ending up looking completely different as adults from what they looked like when they were young or in their larval form. Just look at butterflies, for example, which started out as caterpillars, or the frogs which started out as tadpoles. What an incredible transformation, don’t you think?
Axolotls, however, do not go through this process naturally. They exhibit what is known as neoteny, which means they look young or retain their larval form for the rest of their lives. It’s almost like they’re babies for the rest of their lives.
3. Like most aquatic animals, axolotl breathes by using the gills. Besides gills, axolotl can breathe via skin, thanks to dense network of capillaries.
4. 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. Because of its incredible power of regeneration, axolotl is one of the most examined types of salamander in the world.
5. You can eat them. Yes! Weird as it may sound, axolotls are safe to be consumed by humans. Before they were considered an endangered species, axolotls were served whole with cornmeal in Mexico, also known as axolotl tamales. In fact, those who have eaten axolotls liken it to an eel in taste.
6. While captive axolotls are commonly found in aquariums and laboratories all over the world, wild axolotls are much more difficult to find. This is because the only place that they live is Lake Xochimilco (“so-chee-mil-ko”) in Mexico. Unfortunately, the lake is extremely neglected. The water is loaded with trash and filled to the brim with invasive fish, such as carp and tilapia that thrive in the dirty waters. In Lake Xochimilco, axolotls eat mollusks, crustaceans, and anything else that they can fit inside their mouths.
7. Even though they are critically endangered, many companies breed axolotls and sell them as pets to the public. However, axolotls need to be treated with very precise care. Owners of axolotls usually keep them in somewhat large aquariums (since they produce a lot of waste) and feed them large worms and frozen bloodworm cubes.

Leave a Reply, No Login Necessary.