Saturday, August 29, 2009

Axolotls - Mexico's endangered salamander

I ran across an article the other day about axolotls, an exotic species of salamanders I didn't know much about. They are now nearly extinct in their native habitat, the Xochimilco Valley of central Mexico. Only about 700-1200 are estimated to survive. The reduction in population is due to a number of factors, including the continuing expansion of Mexico City, which has reduced both the available habitat and quality of water needed by axolotls. The introduction of exotic species, such as tilapia, which compete with axolotls for resources, and eat their larvae, also has been a factor.

They are interesting for many reasons, including their often exotic coloring, their ability to regenerate limbs, and perhaps most of all because they are neotenic, which means they ordinarily remain in a larval stage throughout their lives, and remain strictly aquatic.

Here are several varieties of axolotls.These photos are from:

The "wild type"

The "white axolotl"

This has black eyes and it not a true albino.

An albino axolotl:

A great axolotl site:

An article on the danger of axolotl extinction:

Axolotls as pets:

Lots of axolotls here:

and some videos:

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