Axolotls (scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum) come in a wide variety of colors, also known as morphs. As a matter of fact, axolotls come in at least two dozen different “morphs”. These morphs range from common (such as the wild-type axolotl) to extremely rare (the enigma axolotl, for example).
As you may know, scarcity creates value! As a result, rare axolotl morphs are very sought after and fetch higher prices than common morphs. In certain cases, up to 20 times higher! While certain axolotl owners desire rare axolotls because of their beautiful and unique colors and patterns; other owners want to own the rarest axolotl so they can stand out from the crowd.
Regardless of what your motivations are to learn about the rarest axolotl colors, I have you covered! In the article below I’ll explain what a morph is in more detail, and also list out the top seven rarest axolotl morphs (with pictures). If that sounds interesting, take a look below!
Table of Contents
- What Is An Axolotl Morph?
- What Are The Rarest Axolotls in Real Life?
What Is An Axolotl Morph?
An axolotl morph is a particular combination of colors and patterns on the axolotl’s body. Breeders, vendors, and owners of axolotls use the term “morph” interchangeably with the word “color”. Essentially, morph means color and vice versa.
The term morph itself is a misnomer. Indeed, it comes from the word metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a physical transformation process that amphibians go through when they transition from the larval stage to the mature adult stage of their life cycle. Quite ironically, the vast majority of axolotls don’t metamorphose and therefore retain their juvenile features right through their adult lives.
Moreover, axolotls acquire their coloration at the time of conception. They inherit their “morphs” through the genetic material passed down to them in the chromosomes they inherit from their mother and father. Their color isn’t determined by metamorphosis at all!
So, with that point now clarified, let’s dive into the list of the seven rarest axolotl colors in the world.
What Are The Rarest Axolotls in Real Life?
Note to the reader: You may have noticed in the title above that I specified “in real life”. Indeed, many people searching for “rare axolotl morphs” on Google are in fact looking for information about axolotls in the video game Minecraft. I have a post dedicated to that topic. The article you’re reading now is focused on the rarest real-life axolotls.
1. Green Fluorescent Axolotl (GFP Axolotl) [Uncommon]
The first axolotl on our list of rarest axolotls in the world is the green fluorescent axolotl or GFP axolotl. These axolotls were genetically modified to produce a special protein that glows in the dark with a bright green hue when exposed to ultraviolet light (aka UV light or black light).
The gene responsible for the green fluorescent protein was initially isolated from bioluminescent jellyfish cells back in the 1960s. Since the 1990s, researchers have been inserting this gene into the genetic material of axolotls with the hope of enabling them to more easily observe the development of certain types of cells and their movement/migration throughout the body.
Whilst not found in the wild and rare to own as pets, GFP axolotls are more readily found in scientific settings such as research laboratories.
2. Piebald Axolotl [Rare]
The piebald axolotl is without a doubt one of the most unique axolotls on this list. It is white with red gills and dark eyes, which almost make it look like a leucistic axolotl. However, it also has large black spots and patches on its face, head, and along its back. On certain animals, these markings continue down the sides of the body and along the legs. This is pretty rare though.
3. Silver Dalmatian Axolotl / Lavender Axolotl [Rare]
The lavender axolotl, also known as the silver dalmatian axolotl, has a light purple body and grayish-red gills. It is covered in gray spots, which is reminiscent of the dalmatian dog breed, with which it shares its name.
4. Firefly Axolotl [Super Rare]
Firefly axolotls are a super rare type of axolotl. This axolotl has a similar color to a wild-type salamander but also has an albino and green fluorescent protein tail. Under a backlight, the tail of this axolotl will glow, just like a GFP axolotl.
The firefly axolotl got its name from the glowing insects called “fireflies” which are known for the fact that part of their body glows.
5. Mosaic Axolotl [Super Rare]
The mosaic axolotl is mottled with white, golden, and black flecks. Their gills may have red and purple stripes and their eyes can be multicolored.
In the world of genetics, mosaic refers to an individual that is composed of cells of two genetically different types. A mosaic axolotl morph is created when the eggs of both a melanistic axolotl and an albino fuse into one, resulting in an offspring that displays colors from each parent morph.
Mosaic axolotls are a very rare occurrence and can not be bred in captivity, which makes them very rare.
6. Chimera Axolotl [Super Rare]
Chimera axolotls are split right down the middle. Each half of the axolotl is a completely different color from the other.
The chimera axolotl is super rare. As this type of axolotl is hatched accidentally and not created using genetics, it is impossible to selectively breed them. They are what could be called a freak, an “accident” of nature.
For these reasons, there’s a debate over whether or not it should actually be classified as an axolotl morph at all.
7. Enigma Axolotl [Ultra Rare]
The enigma axolotl, is one of the most mysterious axolotls in existence. As you’ll have guessed, that’s what it owes its name to!
It is dark gray in color with a pale white belly and toes. It has golden eyes, and light red gills and is covered in shiny greenish and gold speckles.
In this article, we’ve learned what an axolotl morph actually is, and why the name is somewhat of a misnomer.
We also learned that despite the fact that there are well over two dozen documented axolotl colors, some are much rarer than others. This rarity makes them very desirable, and certain axolotl owners are ready to pay very high prices to obtain the rarest axolotls their money can buy.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might also want to check out the following:
- Axolotl Morph Category Page (all of our morph-related content)
- Axolotl Color Guide (16 Popular Morphs)
- Are Blue Axolotls Real? (The Answer Might Surprise You!)
- Are Purple Axolotls Real? (Mystery Solved)
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