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What are Lavender or Purple Axolotls?

This is a discussion on What are Lavender or Purple Axolotls? within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; What are Lavender or Purple Axolotls? I have received over a hundred inquiries about these unusual animals over the last ...

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Old 30th April 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default What are Lavender or Purple Axolotls?

What are Lavender or Purple Axolotls?

I have received over a hundred inquiries about these unusual animals over the last couple months so I thought it would be a good idea to set the record strait. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q. Are these Axolotls dyed?
A. No they are a genetically modified breed called NFP/GFP which was created in 2002 at the Weizman Institute in Israel to aid in the study regenerative and immune gene therapies. Building upon GFP (Green Fluorescing Protein) the Blue NFP gene (Nitro Fluorescing Protein) from plankton were successful introduced. This recessive genetic combination is on visible in about 20% of offspring and the combination of both NFP and GFP is visible in about 10%. Now in our 3rd generation (NGFP-AF03) of breeding adults this numbers are improving greatly and we hope to see this continue through selective breeding.

Q. Do you need a Black Light to see this trait?
A. The contrast from the genes is most visible under a fluoroscope or black light, but the differences in pigmentation are also very noticeable under full spectrum daylight as well. In addition some of them have been reported to give a bioluminescent glow if they are startled or agitated at night.

Q. Are these Axolotls dwarf?
A. These Axolotls are about 2/3 the size of standard breed Axolotls. With shorter legs and wider bodies. This is due to breeding a close cousin into the line called an Andersonís Axolotl. This compatible species comes from a lake system 100 miles from the lakes that originally held the Axolotl. but it is smaller the other added benefit is that they are from a lower altitude warmer body of water which means that the NGFP-A breed can also live comfortably at 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. Why would they do this?
A. Since they are raised for scientific study they smaller size makes housing many animals on rack systems much more cost effective. Likewise having originated in a Mediterranean climate, being abel to keep the labs at 74 instead of the traditional 68 degrees is also a huge savings. Oddly enough research scientist have gotten a lot of negative press about creating these genetically modified animals. Bringing them into European Union carries a $20,000 per animal fine. And many activist groups have waged campaigns against their use and breeding.

Q. How do I get one?
A. Most of what we breed that shows full NFP/GFP traits are sold for research. Occasionally we do have extras that we will sell as pets but the waiting list is always 10 or more people long. Over the last 10 years we have sold thousands of animals that carry these genes but did not show these traits into the pet trade so it is very likely you will see more of them available from hobbyists and breeders across the country.
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