the axolotl


This journalistic note was broadcast on the news program En Punto, with Denise Maerker: On Wednesday of last week, a group of mayors from Mexico City released 200 axolotls into one of the channels of the Xochimilco Ecological Park.

The axolotl is a vertebrate amphibian, its skin has a color that goes from white to black —those in the aforementioned report were black—; it has a wide head compared to its thin body that reaches between 23 and 30 centimeters in length; their eyes are round, they do not have eyelids; It has short legs, gills and its tail is shaped like a fin that it uses to swim.

The axolotl —from the Nahuatl Xolotl in reference to the god of play, death and resurrection—, only lives in some regions of the United States and in the Valley of Mexico, specifically, in the lake and canals of Xochimilco, where the mayors and Mayors of Iztacalco, Gustavo A. Madero, Iztapalapa, Milpa Alta, Tláhuac and Xochimilco, in a fun morning, released the 200 specimens of this species which they took from their breeding farms.

Before the release, knowing that the animals are amphibians, they put them to romp in the grass. With a little imagination, they could have made a selection that represented each of the six participating municipalities so that they would run towards the goal, that is, to the canal; the selection could be made individually, an axolotl per mayor, if the distance was short, or a team of four or five in the case of a relay race. In either of the two modalities, the winning individual or team would win a trophy to show off in the winning municipality, which would cause the joy of its inhabitants. (It occurs to me that the name of the award could be “The Tin Axolotl”, sounds good).

Between long live Xochimilco and the axolotl! With party hubbub, a female voice baptized the event as “El Ajolotón”, given the supposed benefit that this action would cause to the endemic species of the batrachians order.

But in the opinion of the scientist José Antonio Ocampo, head of the Biological and Aquacultural Research Center of Cuemanco (CIBAC) and researcher at the Autonomous Metropolitan University, Campus Xochimilco, it was a mistake to expose the axolotls to the sun’s rays for so long because their very sensitive skin was dried out; This, in addition to causing stress, could generate infection problems due to bacteria or fungi. Also, the scientist affirmed, having them on a dry surface was something harmful for them because, outside the water, they do not resist the weight of their bodies, their lungs are not useful in those conditions. Although amphibians, their natural habitat is water and they need an acclimatization process before changing their environment.

For these reasons, together with the poor quality of the water in Xochimilco, whose channels are invaded by a large amount of clandestine drainage, the scientific forecast is that probably none of the 200 axolotls have survived.

Something that caught the attention of this editor during the investigation carried out on the animal also called “aquatic salamander”, is its way of reproducing. The sexual maturity of the axolotl is between 12 and 18 months of age. The male begins the courtship of reproduction by pushing his tail towards the female’s orifice, both undertake a movement in the form of circles. Then the male deposits his spermatophores on the rocks. The female collects them with her orifice and in a period of 24 hours she fertilizes the eggs, which, in an approximate number of 400, she deposits on stones and plants where they hatch in a period of 10 to 14 days. Note how the female never complains of a headache.

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Manuel Wormwood

Writer and television screenwriter

The Privilege of Opinion

Mexican television writer. He is known for having written the scripts for programs such as Ensalada de Locos, La carabina de Ambrosio, La Güereja and something else, El privilege de manda, among others.



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