The Mexican Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a freshwater amphibian in the salamander family. It is also known as the Mexican Walking Fish, but it is not a fish. Toads, frogs, newts, salamanders and axolotl are amphibians, living partly in water and partly on land. However, the axolotl never leaves the water.
The Mexican Axolotl remains in the amphibian tadpole form, with gills, and never becomes an ‘adult’ with lungs. This is called partial metamorphosis. It has a wide head, and their eyes do not have eye-lids. It has four feathery external gills on the side of its head. It has little, under-developed legs. It is olive-green, with a lighter underbelly. It does not have scales – it has moist, smooth skin like the skin of frogs.
It measures about 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length.
The Mexican Axolotl is native to Mexico. It prefers freshwater lakes. The Mexican Axolotl is aquatic and lives only in the lake – it does not live on land at all, like other amphibians.
It is carnivorous, eating snails, shrimp, worms, and fish. It also eats insects. It feeds by suction.
If one of its legs is damaged and comes off, it can re-grow another leg. This is called regeneration.
The female Mexican Axolotl lays 100-300 eggs, which hatch after 10-14 days.
[Location of photographs: Paris Jardin du Plantes Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM