Generally the top predator, axolotls will eat anything they can catch, including molluscs, fishes, and arthropods.
Invasive species, such as tilapia and carp, negatively impact wild axolotls through competition, predation, and the spread of disease.
Axolotls are an important research animal and are used in studies of the regulation of gene expression, embryology, neurobiology, and regeneration.
The traditional consumption of the axolotl by local people, is threatening the survival of the species.
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.
Male and female axolotls can be distinguished by the cloaca and the plumpness of the body.
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.
Female axolotl lay up to 1,000 eggs every 3-6 months in freshwater plants, like many other amphibians.
Nearly all modern laboratory axolotls can be traced back to 33 animals shipped from Xochimilco to Paris in 1864.
The closest relative of the axolotl is the tiger salamander; viable offspring can even be produced between the two species.
Axolotls can regenerate new limbs, tails, and even heart and brain cells, making them a research opportunity for long-term human health.
Because known populations are few and far between, little is known about the ecology and natural history of axolotls.
Axolotls are excellent lab specimens as they are easy to raise and inexpensive to feed, yet yield amazing research opportunities.
Because they are neotenic, adult axolotls retain the feathery external gills and finned tails from their juvenile stages.
Axolotls are one of 5 paedomorphic, neotenic aquatic salamanders, meaning they do not undergo metamorphosis and retain larval characteristics while living permanently in water.
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.
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.
While axolotl are usually black in color, other color phases, including white, have been produced in the laboratory.
There is debate as to whether the axolotl should be classified as its own species or as a subspecies of the tiger salamander.
The axolotl is endemic to an area in central Mexico less than 10km² on the southern edge of Mexico City.
The nahuatl word “axolotl” describes an animal transformed from the Aztec god, Xolotl, brother to Quetzacoatl.
Axolotls can live as long as 10-15 years, but expected laboratory longevity is only 5-6 years.
It’s estimated that fewer than 100 axolotls remain in the wild, making the salamander one of Latin America’s most threatened amphibians.
Axolotls generally breed between March and June and seem to “waltz” and “hula dance” during courtship.
Desiccation, pollution, bacterial contamination, and disease, resulting from urbanization, pose serious threats to the axolotl.
A species action plan focusing on conservation education, habitat restoration, and bioremediation has been drafted to help conservation actions for the axolotl.
Axolotls can detect electrical fields.
“Axolotl” is a specific species of aquatic salamander, although the name is mistakenly and erroneously used to refer to other species.
Metamorphosis can be artificially induced in axolotls via thyroid hormone injections.
No popular experimental animal is more misunderstood or more diversely treated taxonomically than the axolotl.
Axolotl are preyed on by large fish, such as Asian carp and African tilapia.
There are no negative effects of axolotls on humans.
Axolotls are solitary and may be active at any time of the day.