The axolotl is a unique species endemic to Mexico, capable of regenerating almost every part of its body. Thanks to this unique ability, it has become one of the most studied species in the world. The Mexican axolotl is a type of salamander that uniquely spends its whole life in larval form. It is the only species that never undergoes metamorphosis. As they age, axolotls simply get bigger and bigger, like amphibious Peter Pans.

Unfortunately, the number of axolotls in the wild has dropped dramatically through the years, and they are now considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main threats they face include habitat loss, water contamination by industrial practices, and the presence of invasive species in their habitat.

The long-term survival of the axolotl in the wild has now become critical, and demands urgent action to restore the animal’s numbers and habitat. There are around 30 varieties of salamanders in the world, all of them distributed in North America, southern Canada, Alaska and Mexico. Sixteen of these varieties are native to Mexico (axolotls) and and they are distributed in different areas throughout the Mexican territory. According to the IUCN Red List, nine Mexican varieties of Axolotl, which correspond to 56 percent of the total, are in a category classified as critically endangered.

Reproduction

Mating season for wild axolotls is springtime, as it has the ideal length of day and water temperature. Males and females look similar, and require experts for identification. Females release 300 to 1,000 eggs each mating season. The courtship behaviour follows the general Ambystoma pattern

 

Read more about the Mexican axolotl in our September issue (No. 113 Issue 3/2018) of Scuba Diver magazine.

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