“Ax-Oh-Lot-Ul,“ the pronunciation for one of Earth’s strangest and unique creature! Axolo-say what? Axolotl also known as the Mexican salamander, sometimes called the Water Dragon, have tiny black eyes and a wry grin with fancy headdress. It’s adorable and weird-looking at the same time. Let’s get to know the lil’ fella:
Domestic vs. Wild
One way to distinguish which is which would be our friend’s coloring. Axolotls with a greenish-brown to black complexion have been born and raised in the wild. Leucistic are what we call the axolotls who are bred and domesticated. The reason for the partial loss of pigmentation would be the mutant male axolotl which was brought to Paris in 1963. The scientists thought that the color suited the creature most, thus breeding the next generations to be leucistics.
The ancient Aztecs worshipped the axolotls having believed that they were manifestations of Xolotl, the god of the dead. Their legend tells us that the god hid from everybody, afraid to be killed or banished so he transformed into the creature we now call an axolotl. Its regenerative powers helped strengthen the legend since gods are known to be immortal beings.
Peter Pan’s lost boy?
The creature might as well be part of the creatures from Neverland seeing as our little friends never evolve into adulthood. They are eternally young appearance-wise. They only mature enough to be fit for reproduction and that’s about it. For a more realistic comparison, they’re like a giant tadpole that never became a frog.
X marks the spot!
Literally X because wild axolotls are only found in Xochimilco (“so-chee-mil-ko”) lake in Mexico. An extremely neglected water hole makes it more difficult to spot axolotls and even more difficult for the little guys to thrive. It is loaded with garbage and invasive fish species like the carp and tilapia. Talk about competition, right?
Very much like the Marvel superhero, this amphibian can regenerate. Axolotls take regeneration onto a whole other level. They can regenerate any part of their body such as spinal cord, jaws, and limbs perfectly. No scarring will be seen. It’s as if the part never got cut off. They regenerate the same limb over and over and each time, a flawless a result.
Damsels in Distress?
With the Lake Xochimilco polluted, invasive species like the carp and tilapia take up all the food leaving the axolotls with little to no food. The lakes also house beautiful floating gardens, a Mexican version of Venice. As a result, TOURISTS! Tourists don’t help either. They throw their garbage into the lake. On a recent study, only a few number of axolotls are living in the wild. Maybe their better of as pets since they’ll be fed and taken care of.
There is much to discover here on earth and these little guys are just one of them! Help us save their home so that the next generations can still see them not only in pictures but in real life as well.