Axolotl (S/F)

The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a species of paedomorphic aquatic salamander in the family Ambystomatidae. It is native to subterranean lakes within the caves of central Mexico, beneath where Mexico City currently exists. Their habitat was largely destroyed by the Spanish conquest of Latin America during the sixteenth century, after which the city was built; the lakes were drained and the remaining water became polluted, while non-native fish were introduced and began to eat the amphibians’ eggs. The axolotl is now considered critically endangered and at severe risk of extinction in the wild; as of the early 2020s less than a thousand adults remained outside captivity. This animal’s name is frequently mispronounced as ax-o-lot-ul by English-speakers; its name comes from Classical Nahuatl and is pronounced ah-shoh-lote.