One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Mexican salamander which in natural conditions retains its aquatic newt-like larval form throughout life but is able to breed.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The exemplar of salamander paedomorphosis is the Mexican axolotl.’
- ‘Endogenous retinoids have been detected in regenerating tissues from axolotls, frogs and chicks.’
- ‘Another family, the Ambystomatidae occurs in the New World from Canada to central Mexico and includes the tiger salamander and the axolotl.’
Late 18th century: from Nahuatl, from atl ‘water’ + xolotl ‘servant’.
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