Axolotl — Mexico's Amphibian with Unique Regenerating Abilities

Sidra Kazmi


Mexican axolotl scientifically known as Ambystoma mexicanum are soft-skinned amphibians. Belonging to the family Ambystomatidae, these adorable salamanders have gained popularity among scientists because of their extraordinary capability of regenerating their body parts such as legs, tails, arms, feet and even some parts of their brain and heart.

They are found in the freshwater of Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in the Valley of Mexico City. Their size ranges between 20 cm and 30 cm. Locally called "water monsters", they have lidless eyes, wide heads and have an appearance of a perpetual smile. Males are identified by their swollen cloacas lined with papillae, whereas females are identified with their wider bodies full of eggs. They are at the top of the food chain because of their carnivorous diet which includes fishes, mollusks, insects, worms, etc. According to the University of Liverpool's The Animal Ageing and Longevity Database, in captivity, the salamanders have a life span of 5 to 6 years, but some have a life span of up to 17 years more