Axolotl Facts

Axolotl Facts
Axolotl is a type of amphibian that represents unmetamorphosed larvae of the Mexican salamander. It is endemic species for the lake Xochimilco, near the Mexico City. That means that it can be found only there and nowhere else. Unlike other amphibians, axolotl spends its entire life in the water. Main threat to the survival of the axolotl is introduction of the new, aggressive fish species into the lake, draining and pollution of the water, pet trade and overfishing. Besides that, axolotl is served as delicacy in certain Mexican restaurants. This unique-looking animal is listed as critical endangered.
Interesting Axolotl Facts:
Axolotl can reach the size of up to 12 inches in the length and the weight of up to 8 pounds. Gender identification can be performed only by expert, because males and females look similar.
Color of axolotl's body can be black, mottled brown, albino (without any pigment) or white.
Unique feature of the axolotl to retain larval characteristics in the adult stage is phenomenon called neoteny.
Axolotl looks like a tadpole with limbs, dorsal fin and a pair of external gills. Axolotl does not have eyelids.
Like most aquatic animals, axolotl breathes by using the gills. Besides gills, axolotl can breathe via skin, thanks to dense network of capillaries.
Gills are also used as excretory organ. Axolotl eliminates part of metabolic products through urine and other parts via gills.
Skeleton is made of cartilage just like in cartilaginous fish. Also, axolotl has the same type of muscles like this group of fish.
Axolotl is a carnivore (meat-eating animal). It likes to eat mollusks, crustaceans, small fish and insect larvae. Axolotl sometimes eats other axolotls when they are small in size.
Axolotl has unique capability to regenerate (re-create) different parts of its body in the case they are lost or damaged. Axolotl can regenerate missing limbs, kidney, heart and lungs.
Because of its incredible power of regeneration, axolotl is one of the most examined types of salamander in the world.
Mating season of axolotls takes place during the spring. Mating season is determined by the length of the day and by the temperature of the water.
Female releases 300 to 1100 eggs per mating season. Eggs are gelatinous and can be easily glued for the ground (or the tank, when axolotls reproduce in captivity)
Newly born axolotl has external gills, tail and two projections on both sides of the head that are used for attaching to the substrate. As axolotl grows, gills are becoming larger and its limbs develop.
Axolotl reaches sexual maturity at the age of 12 months.
When axolotl is kept under right conditions and provided with adequate diet, it may survive up to 15 years in captivity. Axolotls in the wild live between 10 and 12 years.

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