FaunaFocus

Monthly Archives: November 2017

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Generally the top predator, axolotls will eat anything they can catch, including molluscs, fishes, and arthropods.

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Invasive species, such as tilapia and carp, negatively impact wild axolotls through competition, predation, and the spread of disease.

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Axolotls are an important research animal and are used in studies of the regulation of gene expression, embryology, neurobiology, and regeneration.

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The traditional consumption of the axolotl by local people, is threatening the survival of the species.

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Although there are many captive axolotl, the re-introduction of captive-bred axolotls is not recommended until threats, disease, and genetic risks can be mitigated.

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Male and female axolotls can be distinguished by the cloaca and the plumpness of the body.

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Despite its status in the wild, the axolotl is one of the most widely used and studied animals in laboratories and aquaria around the globe.

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Female axolotl lay up to 1,000 eggs every 3-6 months in freshwater plants, like many other amphibians.

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Nearly all modern laboratory axolotls can be traced back to 33 animals shipped from Xochimilco to Paris in 1864.

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The closest relative of the axolotl is the tiger salamander; viable offspring can even be produced between the two species.

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Axolotls can regenerate new limbs, tails, and even heart and brain cells, making them a research opportunity for long-term human health.

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Because known populations are few and far between, little is known about the ecology and natural history of axolotls.

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Axolotls are excellent lab specimens as they are easy to raise and inexpensive to feed, yet yield amazing research opportunities.

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Because they are neotenic, adult axolotls retain the feathery external gills and finned tails from their juvenile stages.

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Axolotls are one of 5 paedomorphic, neotenic aquatic salamanders, meaning they do not undergo metamorphosis and retain larval characteristics while living permanently in water.

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Even though there is a supply of captive-bred axolotls, wild ones are still being caught and sold illegally for human consumption, medicinal uses, and pets.

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The axolotl is critically endangered due to a small area of occupancy, fragmented distribution, and a continuing decline in habitat and number of mature individuals.

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While axolotl are usually black in color, other color phases, including white, have been produced in the laboratory.

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There is debate as to whether the axolotl should be classified as its own species or as a subspecies of the tiger salamander.

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The axolotl is endemic to an area in central Mexico less than 10km² on the southern edge of Mexico City.

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The nahuatl word “axolotl” describes an animal transformed from the Aztec god, Xolotl, brother to Quetzacoatl.

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Axolotls can live as long as 10-15 years, but expected laboratory longevity is only 5-6 years.

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It’s estimated that fewer than 100 axolotls remain in the wild, making the salamander one of Latin America’s most threatened amphibians.

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Axolotls generally breed between March and June and seem to “waltz” and “hula dance” during courtship.

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Desiccation, pollution, bacterial contamination, and disease, resulting from urbanization, pose serious threats to the axolotl.

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A species action plan focusing on conservation education, habitat restoration, and bioremediation has been drafted to help conservation actions for the axolotl.

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Axolotls can detect electrical fields.

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“Axolotl” is a specific species of aquatic salamander, although the name is mistakenly and erroneously used to refer to other species.

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Metamorphosis can be artificially induced in axolotls via thyroid hormone injections.

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No popular experimental animal is more misunderstood or more diversely treated taxonomically than the axolotl.

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Axolotl are preyed on by large fish, such as Asian carp and African tilapia.

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There are no negative effects of axolotls on humans.