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Smoxolotl
11th April 2014, 07:00
I was wondering if albino axies needed anymore care than a non albino axolotl? I've searched around in the forums past and present, and also online and haven't found much that really answered my question. I'm not looking for opinions and generalities. I have yet to have one with this genetic condition, and I'd really like to know if I need to take extra precautions etc. before I might get one. Thanks in advance for any replies.:happy:

Smoxolotl
11th April 2014, 07:12
I recently found this from an old post by Dark Maverick.. 1 - Albinos of any species will be more sensitive to light. This is because pigmentation itself has some UV protectant function. It buffers against UV light penetrating to reach deeper skin layers. In addition, photo sensitive tissues like the pink albino eyes are exceptionally vulnerable to UV damage if exposed to high levels or/and prolonged duration. If you look at the axie's eyes , you can sometimes see more other than a reflective ring, a circular reflective central region called the tapetum lucidum. This region actually manyfold increases light refraction within the eye for dim vision. This is more evident in albinos compared to wildtypes due to the absence of pigment. As such, light intensity within the albino axie's eyes are actually increased much more extremely and hence more prone to damage.


I wonder if/ hope that prospective albino axolotl owners are aware of their even greater sensitivity to light!

Azhael
11th April 2014, 08:00
Most people are either unaware or simply donīt care. The majority of albinos are kept in the same conditions of lighting as wild-types. And the wild-types themselves are frequently kept in conditions that are too bright. As a deep lake species they prefer very low levels of light and will thrive in perpetual shadow, but since they are usually kept as display animals, people use strong lights so that the animal can be seen.
To be fair, there isnīt a lot of evidence that this results in damage to the animal, although there is anecdotal evidence for blind or visually impaired axolotls and plenty of evidence for their preference for low light and stress reactions to strong lights.

auntiejude
11th April 2014, 08:34
My albino is slightly more sensitive to water quality than my other axies - she scratches at her gills when a water change is due and is a better indicator of water quality than a strip test.

But she is actually attracted to bright lights, and will come to the front of the tank to investigate the camera flash when I am trying to take pictures. Go figure....

I have my tanks in a north facing room, and none of my tanks are lit, so I can't comment on the effect of daylight.

Smoxolotl
11th April 2014, 17:52
I also have an eye condition, albeit not albinism, that increases my sensitivity to light. This can range from mildly annoying to crippling at times. I feel like I have a solid understanding about what these dark- loving creatures go through when their world is suddenly illuminated! The innocent GFP lotl suffers perhaps the cruelest fate. I came across this while looking up actinic blue lights. Its a very technical read but perhaps brighter minds here would decipher it:happy: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/137/1/589.full.pdf

Ariel
14th April 2014, 12:50
Ohmigosh. That was a very disturbingly graphic read. I am glad I don't have that job.

Chinadog
14th April 2014, 13:23
It's interesting to see a scientific paper referring to albino axolotls as Ambystoma mexicanum, I thought they were all the result of crossing an axolotl with an albino Tiger salamander years ago. Technically, doesn't this make them all hybrids?

Azhael
14th April 2014, 13:39
Yes, it does, but virtually noone acknowledges the fact. Most people donīt even know about the hybridisation event, and those who do still refer to these hybrids as axolotls. Itīs extremely generalized, and as you can see, it even extends to the scientific world. Laboratory "axolotls" are refered to as axolotls...and therefore A.mexicanum. In fact we donīt even have a name for the hybrids or the domestic populations...they are always refered to the same way as the original, wild species.

It is waaaaaaay to late to do anything about the introgression, the damage is done, it has spread unchecked and there is no way of knowing if an individual domestic axolotl carries any introgressed genes even if it doesnīt carry the albino gene. Itīs completely out of control. I do think, however, that it would be valuable to acknowledge the fact that domestic axolotls are of unknown genetics and that the introgression is real and any animal that carries the albino gene is definitely a hybrid (even if it turned out to be a 99.999% hybrid....). Having a separate name for domestic axolotls like we do for so many other domestic animals would be good.
The same mistake of identifying high percentage hybrids or domestic variants with the name of the original wild species is happening all over the place and it is a dangerous thing to do...

Chinadog
14th April 2014, 13:58
Sometimes there seems to be a consensus that it doesn't matter if wild axolotls become extinct because there are thousands used in labs and being kept as pets. What some people fail to understand is once the last pure Mexican axolotls are gone, that's it, there gone. Sure, we have thousands of salamanders that look like axolotls in captivity, but they can only ever be properly referred to as hybrids because they all still have that small amount of tiger salamander in their make up that can never be bread out.

Azhael
14th April 2014, 16:18
Plus they have a separate evolutionary history in captivity where some genes may have become fixed, others have certainly become hugely more common, etc, through artificial selection, endogamy, bottleneck effects, and so on...

It is possible that there are some bloodlines hidden somewhere that have not been crossed with the mainstream hybrid ones, but even so they will have derived on their own to some extent. However, those could be considered much closer to actual wild axolotls and may be the only exclusively axolotl descended representatives that are left once wild axolotls are gone. Everything else, which is the overwhelming, almost absolute totality of captive axolotls are domestics of either suspect and unknown genetics (at best) or definitely hybrid.

Petersgirl
14th April 2014, 17:19
I remember reading that all albinos are descendents of the Rue De Jardin Leucistic axolotls...which were themselves made by crossing axolotls with tigers.

Is that true? Because that's a very limited gene pool. Apparently it was one pair too.

There is also a breeding operation in Mexico which involves interbreeding wild axolotls (or what was left of them), but then, wouldn't this cause a bottleneck too? And I'm sure they've used axolotls bred with domestic pets too...which is worrying, because that means those mutant genes (which is, after all, what albinism is) are in these F2 and F3 populations.

It's a very complicated subject. But I agree albinos seem more sensitive to light and are more sensitive to water conditions.

bugdozer
15th April 2014, 23:55
Sometimes there seems to be a consensus that it doesn't matter if wild axolotls become extinct because there are thousands used in labs and being kept as pets. What some people fail to understand is once the last pure Mexican axolotls are gone, that's it, there gone. Sure, we have thousands of salamanders that look like axolotls in captivity, but they can only ever be properly referred to as hybrids because they all still have that small amount of tiger salamander in their make up that can never be bread out.

Because there's absolutely no chance that wild axolotls could EVER hybridise with tiger salamanders living in the same waterways, is there? :errr:

Boomsloth
18th April 2014, 12:31
Because there's absolutely no chance that wild axolotls could EVER hybridise with tiger salamanders living in the same waterways, is there? :errr:

The initial hybridizing of the albino tiger salamander with an axolotl was done by taking sperm and artificially implanting it into the female. Tigers and axolotls can't really breed naturally.

On a different note. In my tank I have wild types, one GFP wild type, one GFP leucistic, an albino, and one that only has one eye.
I use a simple full spectrum light on one end of the tank to help the duckweed cover grow, and provided tons of cover and hiding. When that light goes on the albino is the first to swim to the opposite end where its darker, the leucistic usually walks into a cave, and the one eyed wild type has no idea where the hell he is half the time.