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8 June 2007

09 September 2008: Wow — over a hundred hits per hour on this post… was there some mention of Axolotls on U.S. television? By the way, this website puts out information on Mexican culture, politics, ecology, history 365 days a year, and so far has been ad free… but that can only happen if it receives regular donations. Even in Mexico we have to pay the electric bills…

National Geographic Society (not the English gits who threatened to sue me*)

Photo: National Geographic Society (not the English gits who threatened to sue me*)

Meet Ambystoma mexicanum, aka the Axolotl. Their only natural habitat is Lake Texcoco, which means they are nearly extinct in the wild. They still live in the canals around Xochimilco, and are still occasionally eaten, but are better known for their importance to scientific research these days.

Scientists like them because they have a huge embryo which is easy to work with, and they can regrow their limbs. They annoy the “intelligent design” folks. They are amphibians, but only rarely develop lungs, and tend to remain aquatic… the link between the two.

The condition is called neonaty… they just never grow up. They’re kids all their lives, but can have sex. No wonder he looks happy.

* Yup… though I liked the original photo better, but some “picture researcher” (probably means “intern”) has been sending silly e-mails about “receiving stolen goods,” (meaning the photo was on a lot of other sites too, but mine popped up first under “axolotl” under google image search) and U.K. copyright law.  Good luck in your future career, Giles.  The National Geographic Society has better things to do, I’m sure.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 June 2007 3:50 am

    I’d never heard of those funny little creatures until I read Axolotl by Julio Cortázar.

  2. 8 June 2007 12:11 pm

    the best of both words, which sort of sit oddly in the same sentence, actually(!).

    this animal will make a great character. you just inspired me…

  3. 24 July 2008 2:17 am

    Queria felicitarme por este blog! Yo también hablo sobre el Axolotl y mucho sobre Mexico en mi blog “Nella Vasca dei Terribili Piranha”.

  4. stoirmeil permalink
    17 September 2008 5:45 pm

    A takeoff on Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’, originally in Mad Magazine, some time in the late 50s or early 60s:

    I wandered lonely as a clod,
    Just picking up old rags and bottles,
    When onward on my way I plod,
    I saw a host of axolotls;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    A sight to make a man’s blood freeze.

    Some had handles, some were plain;
    They came in blue, red pink, and green.
    A few were orange in the main;
    The damndest sight I’ve ever seen.
    The females gave a sprightly glance;
    The male ones all wore knee-length pants.

    Now oft, when on the couch I lie,
    The doctor asks me what I see.
    They flash upon my inward eye
    And make me laugh in fiendish glee.
    I find my solace then in bottles,
    And I forget them axolotls.


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