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  • 29 November, 2023

  • 2 Min Read

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Ecologists from Mexico’s National Autonomous University recently relaunched a fundraising campaign to bolster conservation efforts for axolotls.

  • Axolotls are paedomorphic or neotenic aquatic salamanders.
    • Neoteny is a process in which there is a slowing down of the development of an organism.
    • The ability to retain juvenile or larval traits by an adult is called pedomorphosis.
  • They are amphibians (can live both in water and on land) with feathery gills and lungs.
  • It is also called as Water Monster.
  • Habitat - Only found in Lake Xochimilco, near Mexico City.

Lake Xochimilco is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Characteristics - Axolotls are made of cartilage instead of bone.
  • It is renowned for its ability to regenerate its spinal cord, heart and limbs and also readily make new neurons throughout their lives.
  • They are over 1,000 times more resistant to cancer than mammals.
  • Reason for its larval form - In axolotls, there is a surge in thyroxine release when the animal is in its early larval stage.
  • However, the enzyme that makes it active is not present in the larvae, which blocks the metamorphosis (the process by which the young form of insects, frogs, etc., develops into the adult form).
  • Conservation Status – IUCN – Critically Endangered
  • Threats - Encroaching water pollution, a deadly amphibian fungus and non-native rainbow trout.


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