Axolotl Regeneration - How Salamanders and Other Fish Regenerate Organs and Limbs Without Scarring
As a species, axolotls are currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List due to pollution and increasing human populations competing for freshwater habitats they depend on.
Conservationists are building "shelters" in Xochimilco to safeguard axolotls from human interference and harm.
A Day in the Life
According to Ron Cramer, axolotls are adorable animals that can be kept in aquariums. Their remarkable regeneration of organs and limbs without scarring has made them a prime research topic for scientists.
Carnivorous creatures, they feed on worms, mollusks, crustaceans and insects. They usually burrow into the mud or aquatic vegetation for sustenance.
Unfortunately, their clumsiness makes them easy prey for predators in the wild, such as birds and invasive species like tilapia or perch. Because these fish are considered critically endangered, conservationists are working hard to construct shelters within their native habitat in order to shield them from environmental hazards that threaten their existence.
They're also in danger of extinction in the wild due to urbanization and pollution. Thankfully, captive populations have been introduced to supplement wild populations. Unfortunately, wild axolotls may not survive habitat loss, water contamination or new predators. Therefore, keeping these creatures healthy and contented while kept captive is vital for their future wellbeing. By raising awareness and helping clean up their natural environment together, we can all work towards keeping these majestic creatures around for a long time to come.
The axolotl is an extraordinary amphibian that can only be found in Lake Xochimilco, a lake located south of Mexico City. These shy creatures prefer to remain hidden during the day to avoid predators.
In the wild, they typically eat small fish, worms and crustaceans. When kept in captivity, however, they can be fed a variety of live foods to supplement their diet.
Axolotls are a popular choice among those who wish to keep an aquatic amphibian as pets. They're hardy and easy to breed, making them the ideal pet choice.
These creatures possess four genetic variants that can alter their color. Mutations to these genes can produce a range of hues.
The most prevalent mutant skin variety is leucistic skin, featuring black eyes and pale pink skin. Other variations include melanoid, xanthic, and albino.
The axolotl's breeding cycle is unpredictable and can occur at any time of the year. Generally, they breed between December and June; however, if given the right conditions they can breed all year round.
Axolotls require the ability to reproduce in order for their species to thrive. Unfortunately, habitat degradation and pollution pose some of the greatest threats to their wellbeing.
Male axolotls must be mated with females in order to produce offspring, so it is essential that you house two of each gender together in a breeding tank (one male and one female).
Once the female is ready to mate, she will begin courting the male by standing in front of him and pressing his hindquarters. When he accepts her advances, small sperm cones will form around the bottom of the breeding tank.
Once the sperm cones have been laid, remove the male to allow the female to lay her eggs. On average, eggs take around 2 to 3 weeks to hatch depending on temperature and tank conditions.
Salamanders and other fish that live solely underwater (known as Urodele amphibians) possess an incredible regenerative capacity. When an axolotl loses a limb, it will typically regrow it at its original size and orientation within weeks.
Researchers have long been intrigued by this regenerative symphony. But exactly how it occurs remains mysterious.
Researchers are trying to decipher how axolotls regenerate by studying how their immune cells move inside regenerating limbs. These green-hued immune cells are essential in this process of regeneration.
When these cells are removed, regeneration is hindered and a blastema (a structure resembling a round cover) forms around the wound.
The blastema then grows into the new limb, giving it its perfect shape and proportions. This occurs naturally at the cellular level without external help - what's known as the trophic cascade: a series of events that allows an organism to regenerate tissue after injury.