Axolotl: The Most Outstanding Animal That Refuse to Grow Up

The boy who refused to grow up, he probably did not realize that nature had beaten him to it. There are several creatures in the animal world that refuse to grow up. The most outstanding is the axolotl…In the wild, the axolotl is found only in Lake Xochimilco near Mexico City. It takes its name from the Aztec word meaning “water monster.”

Axolotl: The Most Outstanding Animal That Refuse to Grow Up

By Mr Ghaz, November 6, 2010

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Axolotl: The Most Outstanding Animal That Refuse to Grow Up

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When The Scottish playwright Sir James Barrie created the character of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, he probably did not realize that nature had beaten him to it. There are several creatures in the animal world that refuse to grow up. The most outstanding is the axolotl.

Aztec Monster

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The axolotl is an amphibian – one of a group of animals that spend their lives both on land and in water. In the wild, the axolotl is found only in Lake Xochimilco near Mexico City. It takes its name from the Aztec word meaning “water monster.”

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For years people were baffled by the axolotl. It looked like an immature or larval form of salamander, yet it was sexually mature and able to breed. Then, in 1865, French scientists made an amazing discovery: the axolotl was in fact an immature salamander. Several young specimens on laboratory tanks were spontaneously changing into adult salamanders; they began to lose their feathery gills and develop longer tails.

A Child at Heart

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The axolotl is one of a number of creatures, including some other salamanders and several species of newts that retain their juvenile form in later life – a characteristic known as neoteny. However, the axolotl advances one stage further than this: it develops sexual organs so that it can reproduce. Scientists have labeled this phenomenon paedogenesis.

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What is the reason for the Peter Pan behavior, and what makes the axolotl suddenly grow up? Laboratory experiments show that adulthood can be induced by adding iodine to the water in which the axolotl lacks a hormone called thyroxine, which is produced in the thyroid gland. Iodine helps to stimulate thyroxine production. Apparently, a physical jolt can have the same effect: some axolotls change into the adult form after a bumpy journey from one laboratory to another. At other times, the change can occur spontaneously, for no apparent reason.

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In their Mexican lake home, axolotls exist in both forms, but the immature ones greatly out-number their adult counterparts. It may be that something in the composition of the water of the lakes causes the Peter Pan syndrome.

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But there is another possible reason. Lake Xochimilco is surrounded by dry, bare land – a desolate habitat that provides little food for an adult salamander. By retaining its juvenile from, the axolotl can spend all its life within the safe confines of the water.

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23 Responses to “Axolotl: The Most Outstanding Animal That Refuse to Grow Up”
  1. AlmaG Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Wow! That was very interesting! a lot of wonderful facts. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks :)


  2. ken bultman Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Fascinating. I’m taking some more iodine.


  3. 8Shei8 Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    You mean iodine was the solution to most women problems lol
    Ken is so funny!


  4. Phill Senters Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Great story Mr G. Who would have thought it?


  5. xoxo Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Really good article. I’m taking iodine.


  6. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    You’re very good at naming your title! Cheers!


  7. deep blue Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Another interesting post, Mr. Ghaz. My two thumbs up for this.


  8. Poetic Enigma Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Very fascinating, such a great write…very informative! Thanks for sharing


  9. Faith Hodge Says...

    On December 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Good good post. I didn’t know! Interesting. love the photos also!!


  10. speckledlily Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Very interesting post!


  11. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 3:55 am

    That is a new one to me. A very interesting read.

    Christine


  12. Papa Sparks Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 6:21 am

    A fascinating read.


  13. Susan Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Excellent article. Wish we could do that!


  14. Nivu Whatani Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Nice


  15. Momof4 Says...

    On December 16, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Another great article, Mr Ghaz! Learning something new is a breeze just by reading your articles. I liked this and the pictures were awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.


  16. STEVE666 Says...

    On December 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Brilliant write, Mr Ghaz. If anyone could only formulate its secret, they would make a fortune!


  17. PETER Says...

    On December 18, 2009 at 5:06 am

    IT LOOKS LIKE ME !!!


  18. NSMasry Says...

    On December 18, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    A wonderful read! ..really excellent work! well done Mr Ghaz!!


  19. hollynoel001 Says...

    On December 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    great pictures and a great informative article thanks!!


  20. Christ Says...

    On December 19, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Good one! very interesting. Nice title. Thanks Mr Ghaz!


  21. John Says...

    On December 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Great article Ghaz! the photographs are wonderful! very well written piece. Thumbs up!


  22. Mansor Says...

    On December 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Very educational and well-researched article, another bookmarked. Well done my friend.


  23. Moses Ingram Says...

    On December 20, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing.


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