An evaluation of captive breeding and sustainable use of the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

  • Published source details McKay J.E. (2003) An evaluation of captive breeding and sustainable use of the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). MSc thesis. University of Kent.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Captive breeding salamanders (including newts)

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Captive breeding salamanders (including newts)

    A replicated study in 2003 of Mexican axolotls Ambystoma mexicanum in Xochimilco, Mexico (McKay 2003) found that survival was lower but growth and body condition greater in captive-bred animals reared in semi-natural compared to laboratory conditions. Survival was significantly lower from day 10 to 30 under low-maintenance, semi-natural conditions in canals than under high-maintenance laboratory conditions (8–42% vs 88–98%). Survival was independent of density. By day 30, axolotls reared in canals were significantly larger than those in the laboratory. Those raised at low densities were significantly larger than those at high densities (canal: 0.44 vs 0.39; lab: 0.17 vs 0.11 g). Body condition was significantly better under semi-natural conditions. Average maintenance costs/axolotl/year for seven captive-breeding facilities were US$14–340. One hundred and fifty larvae were divided between six aquaria (45 L; 17–19°C) and six cages in a canal (45 L; 19–24°C) at densities of either 5 or 20 larvae. Aquaria had artificial plants and were cleaned every 10 days. The canal had filter systems to prevent aquatic predators from entering. Larvae were measured every 10 days.


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