Creature Feature Friday: The Axolotl

Welcome to Creature Feature Friday!

Today we are talking about the Axolotl–also known as Ambystoma mexicanum or the Mexican Walking Fish–and it's a doozy. 

It started last week when I was working on a piece for my friend's birthday. She LOVES the axolotl (and Dia de los Muertos, which you'll see when I show you my fine art piece) and I'm fascinated. 

Some cool facts before I get to the sketch and art: 

  1. The axolotl is one of the few amphibians that reaches adulthood without going through any metamorphoses–it keeps its gills and larval form rather than growing lungs and becoming land-born (reference). 
  2. Axolotls are used today as a model organism because they're easy to breed in captivity, they have very easily manipulated embryos (scientists can see full development of the vertebrae), and they have a neural tube formation and closure very similar to humans (reference).
  3. Saving the best for last: axolotls are of incredible interest for scientists because they can regenerate limbs! In some cases they have even regrown less vital parts of their brains without issue and the ability to regenerate perfectly is NOT affected by age (reference). 

Some lab notebook-type drawings. I find their gills beautiful and tricky to capture. 

And then the art! 

 In the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, marigolds are a flower left at altars for the deceased and entrances to graveyards. The Dahlia is also significant for Mexican culture; in 1963 it was declared the national flower of Mexico.

In the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, marigolds are a flower left at altars for the deceased and entrances to graveyards. The Dahlia is also significant for Mexican culture; in 1963 it was declared the national flower of Mexico.

This beautiful piece also lets me tell you something exciting:

I NOW HAVE A SHOP!

You can buy art prints of my work as well as cool things like phone cases and leggings! 

Do you have a favorite creature you'd like to see me feature? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to add it to the list!