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Recently, ecologists from Mexico’s National Autonomous University relaunched a fundraising campaign to bolster conservation efforts for axolotls.

Why in news?

  • The campaign called Adoptaxolotl, asks people for as little as 600 pesos (about $35) to virtually adopt one of the tiny “water monsters”.

About Axolotl: 

  • It is an aquatic salamander renowned for its ability to regenerate its spinal cord, heart and limbs.
  • These amphibians also readily make new neurons throughout their lives.
  • Axolotls, like humans, contain two copies of every gene – one inherited from the father and the other from the mother.
  • It is notable for its permanent retention of larval features, such as external gills.
  • The species is found only in Lake Xochimilco, within Mexico City.
  • The name axolotl is also applied to any full-grown larva of Ambystoma tigrinum (tiger salamander) that has not yet lost its external gills.
  • They feast on a menu of mollusks, worms, insect larvae, crustaceans, and some fish.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Critically endangered.
  • Threats: Habitat degradation, pollution, fishing, nonnative predators, the pet trade.

Q1) What is Salamander?

Salamander is any member of a group of about 740 species of amphibians that have tails and that constitute the order Caudata. The order comprises 10 families, among which are newts and salamanders proper (family Salamandridae) as well as hellbenders, mud puppies, and lungless salamanders. They most commonly occur in freshwater and damp woodlands, principally in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Source: We have to work urgently’: Mexican ecologists start campaign to save axolotl