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Guide to the Basic, Special, and Rare Axolotl Colors

Interested owners will discover that there are basic, special, and rare axolotl colors from which they can choose. Learn more about these shades here.

Amphibian pet enthusiasts usually feel amazed by the different and spectacular axolotl colors. They find this physical trait of the animal interesting due to its wide variety.

Axolotls are endangered species that come from Mexico. Owning one of them as a pet can be challenging nowadays because of this amphibian’s uncommonness.

But interested owners can find breeders and specialty pet stores that sell them today. Indeed, there are many axolotl colors with hues that are luminous and truly captivating, making amphibian pet aficionados love gazing at them under night and daytime light. 

With this reality, potential keepers may take long to decide which shade to select. We want to inform prospective axolotl owners that choosing a color mostly depends on their personal preference.

In this informative guide, we discussed the different axolotl colors. We tackled them in three categories – the basic, special, and rare – to help interested axolotl keepers decide the one they believe looks the best and is worthy of purchasing.

Axolotl color

5 Basic Axolotl Colors

In this educational article, we want to inform interested owners of the five basic axolotl colors. These shades are based on the amphibian’s skin pigment. 

(1) GOLDEN

The golden axolotl color is a kind of albinism. The amphibian looks gold rather than white. Additionally, the golden axolotl features a peachy or golden physique, with this color coming in patches. 

It has shiny speckles all over its body. We want to highlight the fact that the golden axolotl possesses clear eyes due to albinism. 

This amphibian pet cannot have dark or black eyes. Finally, the golden axolotl color features the amphibian with peach-colored gills.

(2) LEUCISTIC

The leucistic axolotl is also known as the pink axolotl. We want to emphasize the fact that this amphibian is the most unique and among the highly preferred amphibians kept as a pet due to its innate beauty.

The leucistic axolotl features a very light or pale pink body. It has a very dark black or brown pair of eyes, and this attribute sets this animal apart from the white albino axolotls.

We want to inform potential axolotl owners that the leucistic axolotl has very deep pink or dark red gills. It may develop freckles or specks on its physique, depending on the environment in which it is kept. 

(3) MELANOID

Another basic axolotl color is the melanoid shade. The amphibian with this hue has increased pigmentation on its skin.

This trait makes this animal possess a very dark brown or black color for its body. Additionally, we want to inform interested owners that the melanoid axolotl comes with a solid black hue.

This feature means this animal has black gills and eyes. Furthermore, the melanoid axolotl lacks any shiny or iridescent specks on its skin.

(4) WHITE ALBINO 

The white albino axolotl shade is a very comparable axolotl color to the leucistic hue. The amphibian with this color lacks pigmentation on its skin, making it white. 

Moreover, the white albino axolotl has a white physique without freckles or specks, which will never develop even with time. This animal features clear eyes with red centers due to the lack of pigmentation.

The white albino axolotl may get dark fingertips when it is on its way to sexual maturity. We want to highlight the fact that the sole real hue in this amphibian’s body is its deep red gills which owners can find very visible under the tank’s UV lamp.

(5) WILD

The wild axolotl color is a combination of several hues, including olive, black, gray, and green. We want to point out to interested owners that these shades are typically speckled around this amphibian’s body.

The wild baby axolotl typically has a dark color, and it nearly appears black. However, this animal lightens up in hue as it grows older.

Furthermore, the wild axolotl has iridescent or golden specks around its physique, making it shiny and nearly glittery. 

The center of its pair of eyes is black and features a shiny or golden ring around them. Finally, the wild axolotl normally has purplish or grayish gills. 

The golden, leucistic, melanoid, white albino, and wild axolotls feature the basic hues of these amphibians. 

First-time axolotl keepers will usually see these common shades during their initial encounter with these animals. We also want to inform potential owners that axolotl colors also feature special ones. 

Axolotl color

2 Special Axolotl Shades

After learning about the five basic axolotl colors, we want to inform interested keepers that they will benefit more variety-wise because these amphibians also come in special shades. 

These hues are less common than the basic ones. Axolotls with the special colors set them apart from the others, which include the following two hues:

(1) COPPER

The copper axolotl is common in Australia, Germany, and the United States. This amphibian is another kind of albino axolotl. 

The copper axolotl features a very pale copper-colored body covered in dark copper freckles. It has tinted red eyes, which look darker than most albinos. 

Prospective copper axolotl owners will also notice that this animal features dark copper-colored gills. We want to inform interested breeders that this amphibian lays white or light brown eggs. 

(2) GREEN FLUORESCENT PROTEIN

The green fluorescent protein or GFP axolotl features a mutation in the amphibian’s deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. 

This genetic makeup enables this animal to glow vibrantly bright green under a black or ultraviolet or UV light, giving it its label “Green Fluorescent Protein” axolotl.

Hybridizers initially introduced the GFP gene to the axolotl in a laboratory setting while utilizing it for cancer research. 

Then, they passed the gene down from generation to generation, making it possible for interested owners to obtain a specie with the GFP gene. 

We want to highlight to interested keepers who want an ornament-like pet at home that the green fluorescent protein axolotl looks fascinating in the tank, complementing hangout decor 2 and other aquarium accessories.

Besides the five basic and two special axolotl colors, we also want to share the three rare axolotl shades. The amphibians with these hues are uncommon, though we believe our readers will benefit from learning about them.

After all, these axolotl lovers will have some idea about their other choices if they are avid collectors who want a truly one-of-a-kind amphibian pet.

Axolotl color

3 Rare Axolotl Colors

The rare axolotl colors are hard to come by, and the amphibians with these physical traits are much more expensive than those with basic and special hues. 

These amphibians resulted from a mutation of the color genes, and they include the following:

(1) CHIMERA

The chimera axolotl color is the outcome of the inadvertent fusion of two eggs. This amphibian features one side from one egg and the other from the other egg. 

We want to point out to curious owners that selective breeding cannot duplicate the chimera axolotl color. It is because this shade materialized merely due to the accidental egg fusion.

The chimera axolotl features a color variation, split directly down the middle of the animal, making it look like two axolotls stitched together. 

Interested chimera axolotl keepers should know that this amphibian has a very low survival rate. Its two sides typically grow at different paces. Thus, we advise that they be aware of properly nourishing their chimera axolotl.

These potential owners should learn about the proper food and essential health supplements to supply their amphibian pet.

Our advice to these prospective axolotl keepers is similar to recommending them to learn about the multivitamin supplements or calcium powder with vitamin D they give their bearded dragons to keep these reptile pets healthy at all times.

(2) MOSAIC

The mosaic axolotl color features the amphibian with a speckled pattern across its physique. We want to highlight to interested keepers that the hues of this animal vary, depending on the mix of the axolotls. 

Additionally, the mosaic axolotl resulted from the mutation of cells during the embryo’s division. 

This animal exhibits the two-cell phenotype all over its body, with the color genes basically coding for different cells, mixing two basic colors of the axolotls together.

The blend of coloring across the mosaic axolotl’s physique can feature the axolotl coded for a melanoid type while some for an albino one.

(3) PIEBALD

The piebald hue is a well-known rare axolotl color. This coloring is a leucistic axolotl mutating to have pigment in places other than just the amphibian’s face.

We want to stress the fact that this animal’s pigmentation makes it look like it has a dirty face, though this animal looks great to have in a pristine aquarium disinfected with a reptile cleaner.  

Furthermore, the piebald axolotl features a dark pigmentation down its sides and back part.

We want to highlight the fact that potential owners of the chimera, mosaic, and piebald axolotls may find it challenging to avail these three amphibians with rare shades. Local brick-and-mortar or mainstream online pet stores usually do not sell these very uncommon animals.

Therefore, we recommend the two best choices to buy these axolotls. One is purchasing from breeders. 

But we want to highlight the fact that this option may not be for cost-cutting or frugal prospective owners as hybridizers usually charge more for the rare axolotl colors. 

Meanwhile, specialty pet stores that sell amphibians and reptiles are another best option. These commercial establishments usually have common and rare axolotls for sale. 

Genetics behind the Diverse Axolotl Shades

Curious owners may wonder about how the various axolotl colors came about. We want to inform them that the amphibian, native to the freshwater of Lake Xochimilco in Mexico, has four different pigmentation genes. 

Hybridizers control these genetic attributes through coding or mutation to develop diverse hues and color combinations. Amphibian pet enthusiasts typically find these resulting wide variety of striking axolotl colors exciting.  

The four different pigmentation genes involved in the various axolotl colors feature the following chromatophores or pigment cells:

1. IRIDOPHORES

Iridophores feature pigment cells containing iridescent purine crystals and light reflectors, emitting a shiny luster.

2. MELANOPHORES

Melanophores are pigment cells consisting of dark coloring matter, eumelanin, and black-brown pigment melanin.

3. XANTHOPHORES

Xanthophores are chromatophores containing yellowish pigments, carotenoids, and pteridines, which are yellow and reddish coloring matter. 

4. NON-UNIFORM DISTRIBUTED CHROMATOPHORES

These non-uniform distributed pigmented cells cause a variable melanophores distribution and are responsible for the leucistic axolotl color.

Axolotl breeders influence the iridophores, melanophores, xanthophores, and non-uniform distributed chromatophores to yield attractive axolotl colors. 

We want to inform our readers that these eye-catching hues are also involved in developing many diverse axolotl morphs. 

Understanding Axolotl’s Rarity as Household Pets

Axolotls are endangered species. The latest statistics we found is that approximately 1,000 of these colorful amphibians are left in the wild at the time of writing. 

As wild animals facing extinction, axolotls thrive on the freshwater of Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. We gathered that surveys conducted during the new millennium until 2013 indicated that axolotl populations are, indeed, depleting.

Mexico City’s continuous economic development has placed the wild axolotl populace under intense pressure. 

Additionally, the introduction of new non-native fish to the water bodies where the endangered amphibians live has contributed to the latter’s extinction.

The new fish include Asian carp and African tilapia, and we learned that these species have been consuming the baby axolotls and these amphibian’s main food source. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed axolotls on its yearly Red List of threatened species.

We agree that this reality is alarming, especially for axolotl enthusiasts. Axolotls are infrequently kept as domesticated home companions, unlike the usual dogs, cats, and bearded dragons. 

Since these amphibians are increasingly becoming rare, we gathered that more of these animals are held in captivity and hybridized nowadays. 

Interested buyers can purchase axolotls from specialty pet shops that sell these uncommon animals as pets. 

For those wondering about the cost, the price tag for the colorful species is usually in the neighborhood of US$25 to US$50 apiece at the time of writing, depending on the location of the pet store.

Axolotls are members of the Ambystoma tigrinum or tiger salamander species complex, along with all the other Mexican species of Ambystoma. 

Axolotl color

These amphibians thrive in their natural habitat of a high-altitude water body surrounded by a hazardous terrestrial environment. Moreover, axolotls are carnivorous.

They eat small prey like insects, mollusks, mealworms, other arthropods, and small fish. Axolotls find food by smelling and usually suck on their nutriments with vacuum force.

We recommend keeping axolotls as domesticated home companions. We agree that they are uncommon and can be challenging to find and keep as pets due to their upkeep requirement being different from that of the usual household pets. 

Nonetheless, the attractive axolotls provide prospective keepers a different and rewarding pet-keeping experience, besides being an ornamental household companion complementing their tank’s hangout decor. 

We suggest owners or potential ones research and learn more about these interesting animals’ care requirements and expert advice from various online discussions.

We believe that the awesome axolotl colors and these animals’ calming natures can wonderfully complement the tranquility and coziness of a home, making axolotls worth keeping as household pets.