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The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a salamander native to Lake Xochimilco, Mexico. It belongs to the group of salamanders known as mole salamanders. Other members of this group include one of the axolotl's closest relatives, the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). A more distant relative is the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).

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The wild-type axolotl is dark colored with greenish mottling. Sometimes there are silvery patches on the skin. The eyes have yellow, iridescent irises. Adult axolotls can reach 30 cm (about 12 inches) or more in length from nose to tail-tip, and they can weigh as much as 300 grams. They are known for their blunt snouts and large mouths.

Axolotls are neotenic. They keep their feathery external gills and tail fin their entire lives and maintain their aquatic lifestyle.

The first laboratory axolotls were living specimens brought to Paris in the 1860s and given to the Jardin des Plantes. Many of the axolotls raised in laboratories today, including most of those in the Axolotl Colony, are descendants of those animals.

Sal-Site provides information to support research and educational efforts that use salamanders, and in particular the Mexican axolotl.
It also highlights some of the amazing characteristics of salamanders that endear them to scientists and naturalists around the world.

 

About Salamanders ...

The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a salamander native to Lake Xochimilco, Mexico. It belongs to the group of salamanders known as mole salamanders. Other members of this group include one of the axolotl's closest relatives, the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). A more distant relative is the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).

The wild-type axolotl is dark colored with greenish mottling. Sometimes there are silvery patches on the skin. The eyes have yellow, iridescent irises. Adult axolotls can reach 30 cm (about 12 inches) or more in length from nose to tail-tip, and they can weigh as much as 300 grams. They are known for their blunt snouts and large mouths.

Axolotls are neotenic. They keep their feathery external gills and tail fin their entire lives and maintain their aquatic lifestyle.

The first laboratory axolotls were living specimens brought to Paris in the 1860s and given to the Jardin des Plantes. Many of the axolotls raised in laboratories today, including most of those in the Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center, are descendants of those animals.

 

Support

Sal-Site (R24-OD010435) and the Ambystoma Genetic nig
Stock Center (P40-OD019794) are funded by the Office
of the Director at the National Institutes of Health.

 

Sal-Sit(R24-OD010435) and the Ambystoma Genetic nig
Stock Center (P40-OD019794) are funded by the Office 
of the Director at
 the National Institutes of Health.

                                           

Fun Facts

How long do axolotls and other salamanders live?

Salamanders have life spans varying by species. They live from 3 to 55 years. The axolotl’s life span is on the shorter side of this range.