One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Mexican salamander that in natural conditions retains its aquatic larval form throughout life but is able to breed.
Ambystoma mexicanum, family Ambystomatidae
- ‘The exemplar of salamander paedomorphosis is the Mexican axolotl.’
- ‘Another family, the Ambystomatidae occurs in the New World from Canada to central Mexico and includes the tiger salamander and the axolotl.’
- ‘Urodele amphibians such as newts and axolotls show a remarkable capacity for regenerating body structures such as tails, limbs, jaws, and the lens of the eye.’
- ‘Endogenous retinoids have been detected in regenerating tissues from axolotls, frogs and chicks.’
- ‘A number of salamanders, such as the North American ‘mudpuppy’ and the Mexican axolotl, develop legs but retain their larval gills and stay in the water throughout their lifetimes.’
Late 18th century: from Nahuatl, from atl ‘water’ + xolotl ‘servant’.
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