Axolotls’ popularity has skyrocketed in the last five years or so, with demand so high that the great majority of nations have made it illegal to sell them unless you are an officially certified breeder. Anyone found removing wild axolotls from their native environment faces jail time, with a handful of poachers already imprisoned for attempting to catch wild axolotls.
Despite the fact that we get a lot of inquiries about axolotls and how to care for them, we’re going to focus on the eight distinct axolotl colors in this post.
We frequently see individuals contacting out and inquiring about the hue of their axolotl, wondering if it symbolizes anything unique or if it is uncommon after hearing how much some of the rarer axolotls can sell for.
There are five primary color varieties that are quite frequent and simple to find (wild, white albino, golden albino, leucistic, and Melanoid). Then there are the four rarer variations, which are based on unique colors, patterns, or mutations but are still reasonably simple to get if you are prepared to pay around double the price of the major color kinds. Then there are the three highly uncommon natural axolotl hues, which may sell for thousands of dollars, followed by a one-of-a-kind man-made creation by embryonic graphing, with only around ten ever been generated, and finally the enigma axolotl, with only one ever being reported to date.
Because there are so many various varieties of axolotls, each with its own pigmentation that gives them their own distinct appearance, it’s not surprising that we see so many individuals reaching out and asking for help determining which sort of axolotl they have or desire. The three distinct chromatophores (Melanophores, Xanthophores, and Iridophores) in axolotls govern the color of their pigment cells, but the rarer the hue or pattern, the higher the price tag.
As we make our way through the list, we’ve put an estimated price tag for each variety of axolotl to assist provide a guideline on what you should be spending for each of the hues.
However, these are merely guidelines and are based on what respectable breeders often charge for each of the colors at the time of writing.
Things may change in the future, and we anticipate that the price of the rarer hues will rise over time as more people begin to collect them.
The Axolotl of the Wild Type
The most frequent pigment cell coloration of axolotls, the wild type, is first on our list.
This is the most common axolotl and made up the great majority of the population until selective breeding was used to try to increase the amount of different hues of pigment cells in the species. Because they are such a popular color, you can generally get them for between $10 and $30, with breeders frequently having lots of them in stock.
The axolotl variation is known as “the wild type” since it is without a doubt the most frequent axolotl found in the wild.
Depending on the lighting, this variety seems to have a very dark color for the majority of its body with shining golden flecks or speckled black patches.
The body of this axolotl is generally green, brown, or black, similar to the melanoid, however the melanoid lacks the blackish golden specks present in wild axolotls due to iridophores pigment cells.
The bulk of these axolotls will gradually darken as they age, making it more difficult to notice their spots and giving them the appearance of a melanoid.
Once old enough, the only guaranteed method to determine the difference between the two is to check for the melanoid’s lack of a bright golden ring in the eyes.
Axolotls with Leucistic Coloration
The leucistic axolotl, or Lucy for short, is the next most frequent color variety of axolotls and is also extremely easy to find from breeders if you want a mainly pink axolotl that many people confuse for white. They feature a light pink body and head, dark pink gills, and black eyes that make them stick out, which is a good thing because many people who are new to axolotls mistake Lucies for one of the albino axolotl variations, which they are not.
If the eyes are black, regardless of how white the body and head appear, you are looking at a leucistic axolotl, not an albino. Because Lucys are so prevalent, you can typically expect to pay between $10 and $30 for one, with some reaching as much as $50 depending on the situation.
The Golden Albino Axolotl
The golden albino axolotl is a variation of the white albino with a minor genetic mutation.
This axolotl has a little golden gloss to its body and head, typically with bright spots that are easier to notice with some lighter parts that appear to be pure white, as the name indicates.Because they are an albino variety, the golden albino has no black on them at all, and their eyes are normally red but might be translucent and seem white.
The White Albino Axolotl
Following that is the white albino axolotl, which is highly popular yet reasonably simple to find in comparison to the other two types on our list.This axolotl has an all-white body and head, and while it can have red eyes, it is far more usual for its eyes to be translucent, giving it a white appearance. As previously stated, if it has black eyes, it is a Lucy and not a white albino.
Although the majority of breeders will almost certainly always have this axolotl barian in store and ready to ship, they are more rare than the two above and generally price for $20 to $50 depending on shipping distance. Due to their albino coloring, albino axolotls have no black on them and are one of the first varieties people choose if they wish to start collecting the rarer axolotl hues.
The Melanoid Axolotl
Depending on its age, the golden albino axolotl may appear to be a typical white axolotl until its glossy pigments emerge and give it the distinctive gold appearance. A golden albino may generally be found for $20 to $50 depending on the breeder, although they are significantly tougher to obtain than their white relatives owing to being slightly rarer.
The melanoid axolotl is extremely similar to the wild axolotl we discussed before, and the only significant distinction between the two is that a younger wild will have specks throughout its body that diminish as it gets older.
The melanoid also lacks the golden rings around its eyes, which provide a quick and easy method to tell them different once a wild’s specks have gone.
The melanoid axolotl is sometimes misidentified as a wild kind, even by individuals who already possess axolotls, although they are generally completely black, with the chance of becoming pure pitch black.
A melanoid may cost anywhere from $20 to $50, with some total pitch black melanoid axolotls selling for up to $70 due to their scarcity.
Aside from the pitch-black variations, the majority of breeders should be able to provide you with this axolotl variety with fairly easy.
The Dirty Leucistic Axolotl
The filthy leucistic, often known as the dirty Lucy, is the next and last of the more frequent axolotls. These have the same hues and coloring as ordinary Lucies, with a pink body and black eyes, but the name “dirty” is added because they have black speckles around their head, giving them a more distinctive appearance.
This makes the variety uncommon, with breeders typically charging $40 to $70 for it, but in our opinion, a dirty Lucy is not worth the extra money till it is approximately eighteen months old or so, since the black spots might fade with maturity, converting it into a standard Lucy.
While some people mistake a dirty Lucy for a Piebald axolotl, they are really distinct pattern variants of a normal Lucy. The black markings on the filthy Lucy’s head are the only ones it possesses, but the Piebald axolotl has them all over its body and tail. This design is far more unusual than a standard filthy Lucy, and costs for a Piebald axolotl can vary substantially based on the pattern. However, like with the filthy Lucy, we would not advise our readers to buy a Piebald axolotl unless it is extremely old, as the distinctive markings will sometimes vanish with age, leaving you with a normal Lucy that was very costly.
The Copper Albino Axolotl
Moving on to our first fully-fledged unusual axolotl, we have the copper albino, which is another albino variety of the axolotl but, unlike its white or golden brethren, has a copper appearance to its body and head.
There are four more species variations within the copper albino axolotl variety.
Regular copper, light copper, het copper, and melanoid copper are the rarest, with the last being exceedingly difficult to get because most breeders preserve them for selective breeding to increase the melanoid copper variation population.
A normal copper axolotl will often cost between $80 and $100, with rarer specimens costing up to twice that much.
The copper albino, unlike its other albino relatives, is not a genuine albino since its shiny pigments might cause black eyes.
Fortunately, the copper skin is easily visible, making it easy to distinguish from a Lucy.
The Green Fluorescent Protein Axolotl
A luminous GFP axolotl under a blacklight.
Following that is the green fluorescent protein variety of axolotl, which is perhaps the most sought after axolotl in the uncommon category due to its ability to glow in the dark. GFP axolotls are the first man-made variation on our list and are not a naturally occurring variety. The GFPs were produced by combining green fluorescent proteins with more common axolotl variations in an effort to find therapies for diverse human diseases.
A GFP axolotl will glow lime green when placed under a black light or UV lamp, however we would not recommend that any of our readers leave the animal in this condition for long as they tend to become nervous under these lights. Although you may wind up with a GFP that appears to be a common variety, its glow in the dark powers raise the price to between $80 and $100 minimum depending on breeder, but if the basic variant is uncommon, the price can skyrocket.
The Mosaic Axolotl
With the mosaic variation of the species, we are now going into the first of our very rare axolotls. The mosaics are natural anomalies, with some suggesting that each axolotl born has a 1/7000 chance of being born with the mosaic coloring. This unusual phenomenon is due to two DNA cells merging into one, resulting in the axolotl displaying traits from both parents in one body, resulting in some stunning designs.
Because the mosaic variation of the axolotl cannot be precisely searched for owing to the odd event that generates it, they can range in price from $500 to $1000, but if the pattern is very spectacular, they can sell for more over $1000. These are extremely uncommon axolotls with exquisite color and pattern combinations that are rarely seen, making them one of the species’ really distinctive variants.
The Chimera Axolotl
The following axolotl is arguably the rarest that the overwhelming majority of individuals will ever get to add to their collection, but even then, they may be quite expensive, with the highest reported sale of a chimera axolotl being over $2000. Again, this variety of the species is dependent on fluke incidence in nature simply to be produced, let alone live, which is why collectors are prepared to pay such high prices for them.
The chimera variation of the species is created when two eggs combine in the embryo to become a genuinely unique axolotl. When the animal is born, it inherits half of the traits of one egg and half of the characteristics of the other, resulting in a half-while albino, half-jet black melanoid axolotl with a split straight down the center. This makes them genuinely unusual to look at, but there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of a chimera being born and a 1 in 100,000 chance of it surviving more than a few days, but those that do have a premium price tag that we predict to grow owing to its unique axolotl looks.
The FireFly Axolotl
Axolotl with a black body and a bright tail, known as a Firefly Axolotl.
The Firefly Axolotl was developed as a hobby by Lloyd Strohl II using embryonic graphing and has resulted in one of the most beautiful looking axolotl variations available. Although the precise colors vary based on the axolotl, they usually have one color for the head and body and another for the tail. Furthermore, they can have a jet black body with a white tail, with the tail also containing GFP to make it shine under UV or black light. Although we’ve heard individuals say they’ve made secret bids for them, none have ever been sold, and only around 10 of them have been made to date.
The Silver Dalmatian Axolotl
The silver dalmation axolotl morph is the species’ second rarest naturally occurring morph, and they are exceedingly difficult to get. As more collectors desire to add a silver dalmation axolotl to their collection, we have seen offers of $4000 being made on public forums to acquire them, with the real selling price generally not being confirmed. Unfortunately, because this very gorgeous axolotl variation is so uncommon and expensive, it appears that it will take many years before a breeder is able to start up a selective breeding program to try and make it more widespread. Although the axolotl’s primary body is silver, it is covered with dense black patches resembling a dalmation dog, hence the variant’s name.
Although some people have been known to publish photographs of axolotls that suit the description of a silver dalmation, many of them are just melanoid with a distinctive pattern that some people have mistaken for a silver dalmation. Some members of the axolotl community believe that the silver dalmations are just a very unusual pattern of the melanoid, but further research is needed to be certain.
The Enigma Axolotl
The Enigma is the final axolotl on our list, and very little is known about this variety of the species because there has only ever been one report of this morph. The engima axolotl is similar to a Piebald in that its head, body, and tail are all one color while another color runs along its body in a pattern, but instead of a pink body with black markings like a Piebald, the Engima has a black body with green markings making it truly unique and truly one of a kind.
Common questions about Axolotl
Let’s now dive straight into answering some questions about Axolotl that many people have.
What Is The Rarest Type Of Axolotl?
We went through the list of axolotls in order of most frequent to least common, thus the enigma is the rarest type of acolotl and is also a naturally occurring morph rather than a man-made morph. The silver dalmation is the second rarest naturally occurring morph, although they are so uncommon that most people will never even see one, let alone own one. Most axolotl collectors believe that the rarest axolotl they will ever see, let alone acquire, is either a mosaic or a chimera.
Is it true that axolotls glow in the dark?
No, axolotls do not glow in the dark. This question is frequently asked because of GFP axolotls, but they do not shine in the dark. This variety of axolotl will only glow when exposed to a black light or UV light, and even then, it can be distressing to the axolotl, therefore it should only be done for a few seconds at a time rather than being kept in a tank with a permanent UV light or blacklight on them to make them glow.
Is it possible for axolotls to be blue?
No, although certain melanoid axolotls appear slightly blue, they are actually a shade of grey, and even then, their skin darkens as they age, causing the blue appearance to diminish with time. This is why we did not include them on our list; most breeders would not sell this sort of axolotl since, to our knowledge, none of them have ever reached maturity with a little blue appearance and have all ended up with black skin.
Is it possible for Axolotls to be red?
No, this is another question we get frequently, but a healthy axolotl cannot be red. If your axolotl is red, it most likely has septicemia and you should get help from your local veterinarian as soon as possible. Your axolotl will almost certainly require antibiotics and will need to be quarantined away from any other animals in its tank until you receive further advise from your veterinarian.
What Exactly Is An RLG Axolotl?
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about what an RLG axolotl is, and it’s not a particular morph of the species, but rather a term used to indicate extremely long gills (RLG) in an axolotl. Some breeders have attempted to selectively breed this characteristic into the axolotls they sell, and the word is gradually becoming more common as time passes.
Do Axolotls Have Color Changes?
Yes, axolotls’ skin darkens as they age. Axolotls cannot alter their color in the way that a white albino may and then decides to become a jet black melanoid. We’ve heard this described incorrectly a few times online, which has caused a lot of confusion among the axolotl community, with many people believing that axolotls can just change their coloration whenever they choose.