AXOLOTIL is a very affectionate little animal

Ambystoma mexicanum commonly called axolotl is a small amphibian native to Lake Xochimilco, in Mexico, that can measure 15 to 25 cm, although in rare cases it can exceed 30 cm. It has a large head and the eyes have no eyelids, the limbs are small and undeveloped and even the rudimentary teeth are very small. This little animal can breathe not only with its gills but also by swallowing air from the outer surface. Axolotls have 4 main different pigmentations: leucistic (pale pink with black eyes), albino (golden with golden eyes), assantic (gray with black eyes) and melanoid (all black); however, axolotls can also have color variations. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute created a bioluminescent axolotl by inserting a luminous protein into the body, which is used to better study their ability to regrow limbs, internal organs, and certain parts of the brain; this protein mixed with DNA creating a new species of axolotl that, because it is genetically modified, has not been released into the wild.

Ľaxolotl is a model organism that is a species studied to understand particular phenomena such as the ability to regenerate. 

It is then successfully bred in captivity, but in the wild it is on the verge of extinction. Over the years, the number of axolotl has decreased more and more, while the number of fish feeding on its eggs has increased in Lake Xochimilco. At one time these animals were caught and sold as a local delicacy, until they were considered endangered and their sale was banned. Axolotls can also be purchased as pets, as they are very docile and cute. Seeing is believing!

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Francesco D’Auria


II A – Furci Siculo

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