Only a small area of Mexico near Mexico City is home to the axolotls, a species of salamander. Because it is lovely, fascinating, and simple to care for, this species has become a favorite household pet.
Axolotls are undeniably appealing. These little water amphibians have the most alluring gills, which give them an stunning appearance. They are one of the most gorgeous exotic pets.
Sadly, habitat destruction and pollution have made axolotls critically endangered in the wild. The good news is that since many people desire to keep them as pets, these minor creatures are often bred in captivity. a is the first letter of the English alphabet.
Several hues of Axolotl have emerged from this breeding, some of which are uncommon and highly desired by pet owners.
Many people believe all axolotls have white-pinkish bodies and assume they are the same species. Yet, this amphibian comes in a variety of hues and mutant sorts or morphs resulting from crossbreeding.
The axolotl has a wide range of colors and morphs, which is something that makes it unique. There isn’t a specific or set number of color variants for this amazing animal.
What is an axolotl?
According to mythology, the axolotl is Xolotl, a Aztec deity of fire and lightning who disguised himself as a salamander to escape being sacrificed. With the capacity to regrow lost limbs and remain “young” throughout their existences, these Mexican amphibians are formidable enough on their own.
Axolotls (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) never outgrow their larval, juvenile stage, unlike other salamanders that go through metamorphosis.
Feathery gills sprouting from the top of their heads, webbed feet, a dorsal fin that extends down their body, and a tail are among their youthful characteristics.
Adult axolotls have functioning lungs and may breathe via their skin, despite the fact that they preserve their gills. Their mouths are upturned in a permanent Mona Lisa smile, as if being forever-babies didn’t make them cute enough.
When it comes time to eat, those precious little grins may very quickly transform into vacuum cleaners. Crustaceans, mollusks, insect eggs, and small fish are among the prey that axolotls suck in.
The leucistic axolotl has more transparent see-through skin with red gill filaments and black or dark brown eyes, though at first glance this may be mistaken for the typical albino.
The albino variety is made from a reduction of just the pigment melanin, whereas the leucistic variety is made from a reduction of all pigments in the skin, which is a substantial difference physiologically.
The translucent skin color of the speckled leucistic morph is similar, but the head, back, and tail have dark green, brown, or black speckles.
As the pigment cells develop, the larvae develop from a normal leucistic form to a speckled form. In the axolotl pet trade, both leucistic and speckled are considered to be rather frequent morphs.
Golden Albino Axolotl
Among the most popular artificial axolotl colors is the golden albino. The skin is golden (together with white, pink, or yellow eyes and reflective patches covering the body), although it gradually darkens from white to yellow to orange-gold throughout its lifespan.
The golden albino larvae are nearly indistinguishable from an albino when they first hatch, but the golden color seems to shine brightly on them by the end of their lives. With the exception of one pigment that produces yellow and gold, this color morph is the consequence of nearly all pigments being suppressed.
Wild Type Axolotl
The color of wild type axolotls is black and olive with mottling. They have a light belly and speckles of gold from the iridophores. The species found in the wild have the same colors and patterns.
The original color in the pet trade is this one, which is also the most common. In 1863, the first wild type specimens were imported to Europe.
Wild axolotls range in color from nearly black to lighter yellow-green, depending on the individual. Purple gill filaments and golden irises characterize this morph. They can blend in with the murky lakebeds around Mexico City because of their coloration.
Another of the uncommon axolotl colors is mosaic morph, which you can’t usually purchase in stores and would probably be prohibitively costly if you did.
One egg is an albino/leucistic and the other is a dark or wild egg, and it is formed by combining them together.
The outcome is a randomly mottled salamander with black, white, and golden flecks, rather than the colors being split down the middle like the chimera. To add to the mosaic’s odd appearance, it may also have striped red or purple gills.
Copper-colored freckles and gray irises distinguish copper colored axolotls from other species. The gills are grayish-red, and the belly is paler. Caramel-colored copper axolotls exist, as do nearly pink copper axolotls.
This morph is popular in places where they are sold because of their attractive, speckled features and sandy colors. Copper axolotls first appeared in the United States. Australia and the United States are also included. In other nations, they are more difficult to locate.
Albinism is represented by the copper morph, which is less severe. Melanin and pteridines are reduced, but they are still present in low concentrations. Special variations like melanoid and axanthic copper may be created by breeding coppers with other morphs.
Black Melanoid Axolotl
This recessive mutation was discovered in a laboratory in 1961 and is now quite frequent. Albinos are diametrically opposed by black melanoids. Melanophores outnumbered iridophores in melanoid species.
They have black gills and may be green to totally black in color. The paler grey or purple belly of melanoids is common. The iris of certain animals appears black like that of a wild axolotl, but it is dull and golden.
Depending on the substrate, black melanoids may change their color tones. Your axolotl will change color with any substrate, so this color change is not permanent.
White Albino Axolotl
Among the most popular artificial color morphs is the white albino axolotl. The albino morph develops when the axolotl produces far less of the pigment known as melanin, which not only determines skin color but also protects the skin from UV damage.
Important pigments in the eye are also missing in the albino. As a consequence, brilliant light is thought to be very detrimental to this morph.
Humans have exploited the albino skin color and bred more of them in captivity, so it would probably struggle to survive in the wild. In order to be an albino, the offspring must inherit two copies of the recessive albino gene; just one copy won’t affect skin color in any way.
The albino goes through various changes as he or she ages. Although the body remains white, the gill stalks become increasingly red in color.
A kind of leucistic mutation is the speckled leucistic axolotl. Their heads, tails, and back are covered in dark green, brown, or black speckles. Their base color is white, and the quantity of speckling is not as high as it is in the piebald or mosaic morphs, which are typical leucistic morphs.
This axolotl develops speckling as it grows older and looks similar to a leucistic. Their pigment cells develop as they age, resulting in their skin tone and freckle pattern changing as well.
On the list, this is the most divisive morph. Because of the presence of a green fluorescent protein, the firefly morph is a dark-colored wild-type axolotl with an albino tail that will glow in the dark under a black light.
For the purpose of studying cancer resistance, a gene that produces this glowing protein was first transferred into the axolotl from a jellyfish.
The light-colored skin of the original axolotls covering the whole body was used in this study. When two embryos were combined, it was inserted into a dark-colored wild-type axolotl.
The debate is whether this technique is suitable for developing pets, and the firefly is an entirely man-made invention.
Silver Dalmatian Axolotl
This is a uncommon morph of lavender and silvery axolotls. It bears a resemblance to a Dalmation dog because of the unique specks on its body.
GFP or Axolotl Green Axolotl
Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) axolotls are those that seem to glo
w in the dark. The majority of these unusual and rare axolotls are produced in a laboratory. When an organism is exposed to UV or black light, the fluorescent green color brightens.
The white belly and toes, pale red gills, and golden eyes give the Enigma morph a dark gray color. It’s covered in green-tinged golden patches that shine from certain perspectives.
A breeder in the United States was the first to notice this one-of-a-kind axolotl. The iridophores on this specimen are quite high. It’s a wild type axolotl. The genetics and heritability of the morph are currently unknown, and only one enigma exists.
With grayish-red gills and black eyes, the lavender axolotl has a light, silvery purple hue. They are named after their silver Dalmatian look, which is covered in gray dots.
As they age, some lavender species turn gray or green, although most remain purple. Hybrid lavender melanoid plants with no markings are also created. This hue combination, on the other hand, is uncommon.
An aberration in development causes chimera axolotls to occur. The chimera is the consequence of two eggs (one wild type and one albino) merging together before hatching, with half white and half black skin tone down the body’s horizontal length.
They’re so uncommon and strange that retailers don’t always carry them. When the eggs don’t fuse properly, they don’t hatch.
The black melanoid morph has a distinct variation known as heavily-marked melanoids. Normal black melanoids have the same black and purplish-gray spots, but they also have light green and yellow patches.
This morph has only been observed a few times, and very little is known about it. Since no strategy exists to forecast whether two melanoid parents will generate highly-marked offspring, these color morphs are uncommon.
Among the rare axolotl morphs is the piebald morph. It’s a partial leucistic morph that results in dark green or black spots or patches on the white/translucent skin, which is covered in parts.
The face and back are mostly covered, with the occasional exception of the legs. The large number of spots on the body distinguishes it from the speckled leucistic morph.
The skin may darken over time, with piebald patches becoming totally covered in black and white dots. This pattern is caused by a specific gene, however it is uncommon to inherit it.
Green Fluorescent Protein
Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) axolotls are those that appear to glow in the dark. In the laboratory, these unusual and uncommon axolotls are most often produced. When the animal is exposed to UV or black light, the fluorescent green color shines brightly.
Axolotls reach sexual maturity at a year old in the wild, and their breeding season is February. They are solitary animals that breed once a year. Males practice a courtship “hula” dance, shaking their tail and lower body, in order to attract females using pheromones. She nudges him with her snout in retaliation.
The female collects spermatophores, or sperm packets, with her cloaca, a body chamber, and then fertilizes her eggs. The male afterwards deposits them on the lake bottom.
Female birds (though the typical is around 300) may lay up to a thousand eggs on plant matter or rocks, allowing them to escape predators. The larvae are off and swimming on their own after two weeks, with no parental care.
The reason why axolotls don’t develop as adults is thought to be because of their genetics. Axolotls didn’t have to sacrifice their aquatic qualities, such as a tadpole-like tail, in favor of terrestrial qualities like feet because their natural lakes never dried up, much as many other water bodies.