"Smiley" faced Axolotl
Laura Carter tells us more about the baby boom at World Museum
, this time it's the "Monsters":
Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum
) are a Mexican amphibian, closely related to newts and salamanders with feathery external gills and smiley looking faces.
“Axolotl” come from the name of the Aztec god Xolotl and means ‘water monster’ or ‘water dog’. It’s fair to say they’re a little bizarre, but far from monstrous!
Axolotl on display
They are carnivorous and not fussy eaters. The adults eat small fish and invertebrates, and in the aquarium we have fed them on bloodworm, fish and earthworms. Our newly hatched babies are only a few millimetres long so they are feeding on Artemia, the almost microscopic larva of a species of brine shrimp.
What do you call a baby Axolotl?
An axolittle! Well technically it’s a larva, but “axolittle” is far more adorable and our baby Axolotls are the teeniest, tiniest babies!
They are officially listed as being critically endangered, but the latest survey of their last remaining habitat in Lake Xochimilco under Mexico City found no Axolotls and they are suspected to be extinct in the wild.
As they are able to regenerate limbs, they are popular for research into stem cells and are inspiring scientist to come up with new treatments for patients with heart defects, so they are quite commonly kept in captivity.
Our ‘axolittles’ are currently too small to display in the aquarium, but do come and visit their parents in our new display opposite our tropical tanks."
We don't think these little guys are monsters at all, we just can't look at them without smiling! Part three from Laura is coming soon, look out for the mantids in the Bug house.