axolotlˈæk səˌlɒt l
axolotl, mud puppy, Ambystoma mexicanum (noun)
larval salamander of mountain lakes of Mexico that usually lives without metamorphosing
An amphibian of the salamander tribe found in the elevated lakes of Mexico; the siredon.
The axolotl or Mexican salamander is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the tiger salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. It is also called ajolote [ɑːhɒˈlɔte]. The species originates from numerous lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City. Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs. Axolotls should not be confused with waterdogs, the larval stage of the closely related tiger salamanders, which are widespread in much of North America and occasionally become neotenic. Neither should they be confused with mudpuppies, fully aquatic salamanders which are not closely related to the axolotl but bear a superficial resemblance. As of 2010, wild axolotls are near extinction due to urbanization in Mexico City and polluted waters. Non-native fish, such as African tilapia and Asian carp, have also recently been introduced to the waters. These new fish have been eating the axolotls' young, as well as its primary source of food. The axolotl is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's annual Red List of threatened species.
The axolotl (; from Classical Nahuatl: āxōlōtl [aːˈʃoːloːtɬ] (listen)) (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a paedomorphic salamander closely related to the tiger salamander. It is unusual among amphibians in that it reaches adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis. Instead of taking to the land, adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species was originally found in several lakes underlying what is now Mexico City, such as Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco. These lakes were drained by Spanish settlers after the conquest of the Aztec Empire, leading to the destruction of much of the axolotl’s natural habitat. Axolotls should not be confused with the larval stage of the closely related tiger salamander (A. tigrinum), which are widespread in much of North America and occasionally become paedomorphic. Neither should they be confused with mudpuppies (Necturus spp.), fully aquatic salamanders from a different family that are not closely related to the axolotl but bear a superficial resemblance.As of 2020, the axolotl was near extinction due to urbanization in Mexico City and consequent water pollution, as well as the introduction of invasive species such as tilapia and perch. It is listed as critically endangered in the wild, with a decreasing population of around 50 to 1,000 adult individuals, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs, gills and parts of their eyes and brains. Axolotls were also sold as food in Mexican markets and were a staple in the Aztec diet.
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