THE WALKING FISH OF CENTRAL MEXICO’S WETLANDS – THE AXOLOTL

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The lakes and water channels of Mexico City provides a suitable home for one of the most interesting amphibians – The Axolotl. Also known as the Mexican Salamander, this particular type of amphibian is often referred to as a ‘Walking Fish’ because of its ability to walk underwater on the feet, which is located on its underbody. The Axolotl is a cross between the two species of a Salamander and a Catfish. Like every basic amphibian, the Axolotl has both gills and a set of lungs. They never usually come out of the water to catch their breath because they hold their breath and draw in oxygen with the help of their gills. Facts prove that the Axolotl can hold their breath underwater for almost a year. The Axolotl is a species that is closely related to the salamander.

Transformations and Adoption

Interestingly a fully matured adult Axolotl resembles a baby salamander. However, unlike adult salamanders, the Adult Axolotl cannot stray from the water habitat that they are supposed to live in. Instead, they stay underwater and walk around in the water except under one circumstance when a package was delivered to the front door of Zoologist, Auguste Duméril.

Inside the box was a unique species of Axolotl, which had strangely transformed to have the ability to walk and live out of the water, but the transformation would have an impact on their lifespan causing it to decrease. However, it was later found that this transformation can be artificially provoked if the Axolotl is injected with Iodine. These amphibians have become water pets to people all around the world, especially in Japan, where several citizens like to have their Axolotl in aquariums. The Pokémon Whopper and Mudkip were based on the appearance and personality of the Axolotl. Aside from having the ability to walk underwater, these amphibians have another interesting factor about themselves, the feature to grow their limbs. Unlike any other vertebrae, they can regenerate different types of cells and body parts such as gills, lungs, kidney, eyes, large portions of the liver, even heart muscles, parts of a spine or brain in the span of a few months. This is the sole reason why scientists have an obsession with studying this creature by conducting experiments and monitoring its behaviour 24/7.

The Species

A fully matured adult axolotl will vary in lengths from 16 – 45 cm however having an axolotl that reaches a size that is more significate than 30cm is very rare and uncommon. Axolotls have a lifespan of 15 years when on a strict diet of Worms, Mollusks, Crustaceans, insect larvae and various types of fish. The introduction of large fish has caused the axolotl species to suffer as they are constricted of space and movement. They are also very susceptible to the predatory species of bird; the Heron. The population is drastically decreasing as several citizens from the cities of Mexico demand the delicacy of having a plate of roasted Axolotl, which is slathered with flavour. This demand further decreases the endangered species. An Axolotl is also known for not being social with other living things, and they don’t benefit from having extra company.