Axolotl: The adorable amphibian that can regrow its body and stay looking young forever

Only two lakes in Mexico are home to the severely endangered Mexican salamander, whose decline is being accelerated by invading predators and pollution.

Why it's awesome: The axolotl is one of the most well-known amphibians in the world, despite its rarity. It served as inspiration for characters in the video games Pokemon and Animal Crossing, appeared in Minecraft, and even appeared as a Google Doodle.

It resembles an amphibian dog with its cheery face and ruffled gills. This cuteness is a direct result of not developing correctly. The majority of salamanders change from their entirely aquatic larval forms to their primarily terrestrial adult forms. One of the salamander species that doesn't is the axolotl. Instead, it keeps all of the characteristics of a larva, including its back fin and external gills, and it stays entirely aquatic. Neoteny or paedomorphosis is the term for this.

Scientists researching regenerative biology are very interested in it since it can regenerate practically any part of its body, including its limbs, eyes, and even certain sections of its brain.

The axolotl is so well-liked that it serves as Mexico's national amphibian and was featured on a 50 peso note that was published in 2021.

On the IUCN Red List, it is classified as critically endangered because there are only 50 to 1,000 of them left in the wild, and their population is declining. It is only found in a few lakes south of Mexico City, where pollution and the introduction of exotic predators are causing habitat degradation.

Raising awareness of the species goes some way toward aiding in its preservation, but other efforts have been made to enhance the water quality in its habitat and promote traditional farming, which provides habitat for the species.