The Ambystoma mexicanum , better known as Axolotl or “Meican Walking Fish”, is an amphibian and a member of the salamander family .Axolotl is an Aztec word meaning “water dog” . In the wild , the Axolotl can now only be found in Lake Xochimilco in Central Mexico. The species is at risk of extinction and it is illegal to fishAxolotl. Most specimens are now bred in a laboratory or in captivity. With an average height of 25-30 cm and a weight of around 300 grams, the Axolotl has a stocky body with two tufts of gills on either side of its head. It is a carnivore that feeds on worms, insects, crustaceans and, in the adult stage , small fish .
The Axolotl prefer fresh water areas which are rich in oxygen and provide natural hiding places to counter its extreme sensitivity to light. Its natural color is black or gray , but there is also a widespread species of albino Axolotl. A peculiar feature of the Axolotl is that it exhibits neoteny, meaning that it stays in its larval state for life . Unlike other amphibians, the Axolotl manage to reproduce without undergoing metamorphosis, and without ever leaving their aquatic environment. The Axolotl can, however, experience a metamorphosis. It can occur spontaneously when environmental conditions are very unfavorable for the development of aquatic life, or it can be induced in a laboratory with specific hormonal treatments for the purposes of scientific observation. The average lifespan of an Axolotl is 12 to 15 years, but can be reduced by a third if the metamorphosis occurs.
The Axolotl is also capable of regenerating whole parts of its body. While other animals share this characteristic , none of them manage to regenerate with the same level of accuracy and functionality. The Axoloti’s neoteny and its regenerative capacity have made the animal the subject of careful scientific study .
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