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

Axolotls generally breed in the wild from March to June.

The courtship behavior of the axolotl follows the general Ambystoma pattern; it first involves each animal nudging the other’s cloacal region, eventually leading to a “waltz,” with both animals moving in a circle. Next, the male moves away while undulating the posterior part of his body and tail, (resembling a “hula dance,”) and the female follows. The male will deposit a spermatophore, (a cone-shaped jelly mass with a sperm cap,) by vigorously shaking his tail for about half a minute, and will then move forward one body length. The female then moves over the spermatophore, also shaking her tail, and picks up the spermatophore with her cloaca.

Axolotls communicate mainly via visual cues and chemical cues during mating. At other times of the year there is little to no intraspecific communication.

Sources: (Eisthen, 1989; Majchrzak, 2004)
Image: John Clare



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