Axolotl Breeds And Color Morphs. Do They Glow In The Dark?

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The axolotl might seem small and insignificant– with its small legs, tiny feet, and long flowing tail.

It grows to a maximum length of about 30 centimeters– and survives only 10 or 12 years in captivity.

The axolotl is unique because it remains a larva– a free-living innocent embryo– swimming through the water.


Because of this, the axolotl can regenerate– growing back its tail, limb, nervous system, eyes, heart, and brain! Miraculous, isn’t it?

In this article, I will give you an overview of the different breeds of axolotls and axolotl color morphs so you can expand your knowledge of the different types of axolotls. And if you have been wondering “Do they glow in the dark” keep reading as I will also explain the answer to that question.

Axolotl History

The axolotl is a magical being, a salamander that lived in Lake Xochimilco at the time of the Aztecs and before the horrors of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico.

The source of this name is Xolotl, the Aztec god of Fire and Lightning, who transformed himself into an axolotl to escape from his enemies. The axolotl itself is a master of camouflage!

Sadly, its natural habitat– Lake Texcoco— has been transformed into the canals that crisscross Mexico City, and the sewage systems are churning out toxic chemicals into the axolotl’s last remaining natural home.

Only a few hundred axolotls still live in the wild but tens of thousands have survived in laboratories and aquariums, most of them originating in a single group of 34 that French scientists captured in 1863. The axolotl has become an important lab model for everything from tissue repair to cell development and cancer.

So this is your big chance to save one or two of these magical beings from the horrors of modern science!

Just do it, get an aquarium, and give them a home and a life!

The axolotl’s journey from their native lakes to the labs of science has led to their different morphs and colors.

Axolotl Morphs and Colors

Here are 17 different morphs and colors that we found.

  1. Pale White or Pinkish Leucistic Morphs
  2. Albino Morphs
  3. Axanthic Morphs
  4. Melanoid Morphs
  5. Wild Axlotls
  6. Golden Albinos
  7. Piebalds
  8. Mosaic Axolotls
  9. Copper Axolotls
  10. Lavender Axolotls
  11. Black Melanoids
  12. Speckled Leucistic
  13. Chimera
  14. Heavily Marked
  15. Green Fluorescent Protein
  16. Firefly
  17. Enigma

Breeds or Color Morphs?

So are there different breeds of axolotls?

In general terms, breeds are groups of domestic animals that have similar appearances or behavior that separate them from other organisms of the same species. Breeds are formed through genetic isolation, adaptation to the environment, or selective breeding.

But in practice, it is the breeders themselves that decide if specific members of a species are also members of a subset or breed.

One other requirement is that individuals of the same breed pass these predictable traits to their offspring

The axolotl species does seem to be divided into breeds– there are more than 20 different colors of axolotl and these colors can be passed on to their offspring! 

Color Morphs!

Breeds of dogs and cats have more differences than just color. There is a big range of differences between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua or a Maine Coon and a Siamese cat– they have different sizes, shapes, behaviors, and personalities!

Since the only difference between one group of reptiles or amphibians and another is color and pattern– reptiles and amphibians such as the axolotl are divided into morphs rather than breeds.

Labrador dogs, for example, have two morphs– golden Labradors and black Labradors.

The axolotl species has more than 20 color morphs!


The axolotls lay between 150 and 450 eggs over the course of about two days. Golden albinos and white albinos lay white eggs, other color morphs lay black eggs.

Don’t disturb the female while she is laying. After she has laid the eggs move them out of the tank into a shallow tub. The eggs hatch best at a temperature of around 68°F.

The embryos start moving, spinning, twitching, and hatching after about 17 days.

Once the eggs start to hatch it is about three days before all of these beautiful eggs are hatched.

Types and Colors

The color of axolotls depends upon pigment cells– chromatophores.

There are three types of chromatophores– melanophores (that contain dark pigments), xanthophores (that include yellow and red pigments), and iridophores (that impart a crystal, shiny iridescence).

Each cell has 14 chromosomes, and each characteristic has a pair of chromosomes or alleles.

Axolotls that have one albino allele and one normal allele are not albino. The axolotl needs two copies of the albino allele in order to become albino.

The axolotls that have dark parents tend to be dark too. The axolotls that live in darker places are also darker– like we said– because axolotls are masters of camouflage!

Pale White or Pinkish Leucistic Morphs


Leucistic axolotls are the most popular morph– translucent white with chips of pure gold, red or pink gills, and dark soulful eyes.

Leucistic axolotls are very rare in the wild because predators would spot them and gobble them up– but their colors sing like angels in captivity!

Leucism is caused by a mutation that results in fewer melanocytes– dark pigments– being produced in the skin.

How would you like a baby pink axolotl– with her pale white body– and her sweet white gills?

She might have spots and freckles to camouflage her in the beginning– but as time goes by, her beauty begins to shine!

Albino Morphs

albino axolotls breed

The white albino axolotls are pure white with red gills and pink or white eyes– the young ones are almost transparent.

The golden albino can be born white– but turns golden over time. Iridophores can produce iridescent stripes and spots.

How would you like a pure white or golden axolotl to light up your life?

Axanthic Morphs

Axanthic Morphs axolotl breed

These don’t have xanthophores or yellow pigments– so they look cool!

Melanoid Morphs

Melanoid Morphs axolotl breed

Here the melanophores– the dark pigment cells– can turn the axolotl pitch black!

How would you like a cool, mysterious melanoid around?

Fourteen Important Types and Colors of Axolotls

So here to finish– or at least to stir up your imagination– are fourteen important types of the axolotl.  

The Wild Bunch!

14 important colors and types of axolotls

The wild untamed axolotls of Lake Xochimilco and of Xolotl, the Aztec god of Fire and Lightning are dark grayish-green or brown and have specks of gold spattered over their bodies.

This is the original color of the axolotls that were captured by the French scientists in 1863 and dragged off to the laboratories in Paris.

This combination of green, brown, and black helped them to camouflage themselves under the murky water– keeping them safe from predators– but not from man!   

The yellow-green axolotls have dark eyes and golden irises– how can you resist their gaze?

Golden Albinos

golden albino axolotl color and breed

Golden albino axolotls range from pure white to peach or gold.

The young ones are like white albinos– but as time goes by, and as they age, they turn golden like the sun!

The xanthophores give them their golden hue– the iridophores spatter them in gold leaf.


piebald axolotl color and breed

The piebald gene gives the piebald axolotls their black and white markings.

Piebalds are pale white leucistic morphs with a concentration of dark melanophores on their heads and backs. This is a result of the movement of cells during their development.

The dark symmetrical patches tend to be on their top half– seldom on their sides and legs.

But how cool is that in any case!

Mosaic Axolotls

mosaic axolotl breed and color

Mosaic axolotls are”mottled– they have black, white, and golden splashes of color.

These axolotls are the result of two eggs fusing into one. Instead of being split down the middle, each cell displays colors from either parent.

This is not a result of breeding– mosaic axolotls are a miracle of Nature!

Copper Axolotls

copper axolotl color and breed

Copper-colored axolotls have a light gray body with copper-colored or caramel freckles and gray irises. They have grayish-red gills and light bodies.

Copper-colored axolotls have cute, speckled faces and sandy colors that make them impossible to resist their charm.

There are even copper melanoid axolotls– black bodies, copper freckles– gorgeous but very, very rare!

Lavender Axolotls

lavender axolotl color and breed

The lavender axolotl has a purple hue, grayish-red gills, and black eyes. Their bodies have cute gray spots like Dalmation dogs!

Their soft purple shades and their dots attract collectors like moths to a flame!

Black Melanoids

Black Melanoids axolotl breed and color

This recessive mutation is the opposite of the albino morph axolotl.

Melanoid species have more melanophores and fewer iridophores.

Melanoid morphs range from dark green to black– their bellies are gray or purple.

You yourself can transform the appearance of these magical axolotls– white sand in the aquarium lights them up– dark sand turns them black as coal!

Speckled Leucistic Axolotls

Speckled Leucistic Axolotls breed and color

Speckled leucistic axolotls have”dark specks” on their white heads, tails, and back.

They begin life as pale as the leucistic axolotl but develop their speckled character as they age!

The Chimera

The Chimera axolotl breed and color

The Chimera is split right down the middle into left and right halves– half-wild axolotl—and half albino

How weird and amazing is that!

Two axolotl eggs are fused into one– a developmental accident.

These axolotls look like their heads have been split straight down the middle– two different morphs are staring straight back at you through the glass!

The Heavily Marked Ones

The Heavily Marked Ones axolotl breed and color

The heavily marked melanoid axolotls have the black bodies of the melanoidin– but have a unique variation of the black melanoid morph.

They have the same black and purplish-gray spots of normal black melanoids– but have light green or yellow patches too.

These heavy markings are a surprise to breeders too!

GFP Anyone?

Green Fluorescent Protein axolotls breed and color

Green Fluorescent Protein axolotls might look like other morphs– but this is only a trick of the light.

Once exposed to UV light, they turn bright fluorescent green!

The lighter the skin, the brighter the glow!

Sadly, the evil scientists at the Max Planck Institute did this to them in 2005.

Cancer researchers extracted this fluorescent gene from jellyfish and transplanted it into these magical beings.

How cruel is that?

How would these researchers like to turn bright fluorescent green?

Come to think of it– didn’t that happen to Banister, aka the Incredible Hulk?

The Firefly

The Firefly axolotl color and breed

Biologist Lloyd Strohl created firefly axolotls in his lab.

These wild-type axolotls have green fluorescent protein albino tails that glow under a black light.

How would Strohl like a taste of his own medicine?

The Enigma Code

The Enigma Code axolotl color and breed

The Enigma morph is dark gray with a white belly and toes, pale red gills, gold eyes, and gold patches all over.

She is a wild axolotl with a high number of iridophores– and only one has been invented or discovered to date.

The Enigma

The rarest axolotl of all– at least the rarest that has been discovered is the Enigma morph– her golden iridophores have made her unique and uniquely desirable!

enigma axolotl breed and color

Blue, Cyan [dark/greenish-blue], and Pink?

Blue or cyan axolotls? No way! Not in a blue or cyan moon!

There are only three types of chromatophores– melanophores (dark pigments), xanthophores (yellow and red pigments), and iridophores (iridescence).

No combination of these chromatophores could make blue or cyan.

The blue or cyan axolotls that are circulating the Internet have been lit, filtered, or photoshopped blue or cyan!

But like we said, the pink axolotls are common but so pretty that we are sure you just can’t say no to her!

She might have spots in the beginning but as time goes by her beauty– her pale pink skin and dark soulful eyes– will leave you for dead!

The Average Cost Of Your Axolotl

Wild or the white albino axolotl – $55

Leucistic morph – $60

Golden albino or the speckled Leucistic albino – $100

Laboratory-generated Green Fluorescent Protein Axolotl – $11

Heavily marked melanoid axolotl – $105

Lavender – $145

Piebald axolotl – $300

The cost of the Mosaic or the Enigma … watch this space!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article on the different axolotls has provided you with a good understanding and introduction to the different breeds and color morphs. Now that you know more about them and how they glow in the dark maybe you want to start exploring more and getting one of these unique creatures for your aquarium.

As you have read there are many varieties of axolotls and they all vary in cost. You won’t be able to find an axolotl at the big named pet stores, however, you can easily buy from reputable breeders online. Before you do purchase one make sure you understand how to take care of your new pet as well as what to put in their tanks.

You will find these helpful articles on this website. If you do get an axolotl have fun as they are very fascinating pets.

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Pet Aquariums

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