The popularity of axolotls continiues to climb with each year that goes by but there has been a distinct spike in the popularity of firefly axolotls recently due to them going viral on social media recently.
With their unique looks it is not surprising that they instantly raised a large number of different questions about them with many people who keep axolotls wanting to add one to their collection.
Due to seeing so many people reaching out with questions about firefly axolotls recently, we have decided to collect as many of the questions that we see people asking each month and compile them into a single article.
Our hope is that our ultimate guide to firefly axolotls will be able to help as many of our readers as possible and answer any questions that you may have.
As we are covering so many different questions, we have decided to add our table of contents below. It should make it quick and easy for you to skip to specific sections of the article to get the answers to any particular question that you may have about keeping a firefly axolotl.
What Is A Firefly Axolotl?
A firefly axolotl is an axolotl that has the body color of one axolotl and the tail color of another giving them a very unique appearance.
The most common types of axolotl are made from wild type axolotls and albino or leucistic axolotls giving them a striking contrast in their colors that instantly catch the eye.
In theory, you would be able to mix any two colors of axolotl to create a firefly axolotl though so you could mix two of the rarer color types to create two extremely rare firefly axolotls.
Due to the skillset required to create firefly axolotls being extremely high with specialist equipment being required, they are without a doubt the rarest type of axolotl, especially as pets.
We just want to quickly say that a firefly axolotl will have its color split between the body and the tail of the axolotl. We have seen a number of people confusing mosaic or “chimera” axolotls with fireflys when they are infact different.
A firefly axolotl is man made and a mosaic axolol is natural but our ultimate guide to mosaic axolotls offers more information on them.
How Are Firefly Axolotls Made?
Firefly axolotls are made in a science laboratory as part of Lloyd Strohls research into the distribution of melanocytes in axolotls.
Firefly axolotls are made by fusing the tails to different axolotl embryos to the bodies of other embryos with the procedure being done before the embryo has developed its nervous system so there is no pain during the procedure.
Due to axolotls having the ability to naturally regenerate their body parts, they are also able to absorb the body parts of other axolotls at certiant stages of embryonic development.
This is why the tail from the embryo of a totally different axolotl is able to fuse to the body of another axolotl without issue.
When done correctly, the tail will merge to the body perfectly and create a firefly axolotl.
As the procedure is done prior to the nerves of the axolotls embryo forming, the nerves from the brain of the embryo will grow into the tail that was originally of a different axolotl giving the axolotl full control of the movement of the tail when swimming.
How Do I Get A Firefly Axolotl?
Although a small number of firefly axolotls have been sold to the general public as pets, the majority are kept by Lloyd Strohl for his research.
This is why it is so difficult for people to get firefly axolotls as pets due to the supply being so limited and the majority being kept for scientific research.
The have been unforndifrmed reports of people paying $2000 per firefly axolotl on social media but much of what is commonly seen on social media is incorrect.
If firefly axolotls are selling for around th $2000 price point then that will put them on point with the enigma axolotl that is currently the highest confirmed price point axolotl on the market.
If you have the budget available and really want to add a firefly axolotl to your collection then you are able to reach out to Lloyd Strohl via his Facebook group or to Jennifer Barton via her facebook group about purchasing one.
Just remember that firefly axolotls are predominantly produced for scientific research and are not create for profit so don’t be surprised if they have no firefly axolotls available for sale.
Can Firefly Axolotls Occur Naturally?
Firefly axolotls are not natural and require human intervention at a very specific time of the growth of a fertalized axolotl embryo to correctly create healthy firefly axolotls.
The procedure is highly skilled and requires specialist equipment and there is no chance of a firefly axolotly naturally occurring with the closest natural axolotl being the mosaic or “chimera” axolotl.
We know that there is technically no such thing as a chimera axolotl due to the cause of a chimera in reptiles being slightly different to the cause of the same look in amphibians so what people refer to as “chimera axolotls” are actually just mosaic with an even head to tail split.
The majority of the axolotl community still refer to these as chimeras though even though they are actually mosaics.
There is a very small chance of mosaic axolotls looking similar to fireflys but the odds are tiny and very unlikely.
The embryos of the axolotl would have to naturally fuse at the perfect time in the perfect way but due to the cause of the appearance of the axolotl being natural, it would still be a mosaic axolotl that looks like a firefly axolotl rather than an actual firefly axolotl.
Are Firefly Axolotls Rare?
Firefly axolotls are the rarest type of axolotl on the planet due to the skill level required to artificially create them. There are only two people creating firefly axolotls for their scientific research with specimens very rarely being sold to the general public to keep as pets.
Although mosaic and enigma axolotls are considered to be the rarest naturally occurring axolotls, there are even fewer firefly axolotls on the planet making he firefly the rarest axolotl currently available.
The Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) axolotl is also very rare but tends to be more common than firefly, enigma, and mosaic axolotls due to the procedure to add Green Fluorescent Protein to the axolotl being easier than to to create firefly axolotls.
Please keep in mind that you also have to factor in the local laws in your country.
For example, due to the laws against genetically modifying animals and plans in Europe, GFP Axolotls are considered illegal in many countries making them rarer than firefly axolotls in these counties due to there being no genetic modification in a firefly axolotl.
Will A Firefly Axolotl Have Firefly Axolotl Babies?
A firefly axolol will not produce firefly axolotl babies due to its DNA still being that of the dominant half of the axolotl. All firefly axolotls require human intervention in their creation and are not able to be produced via selective breeding.
With the popularity of axolotls sky rocketing right now, there are a large number of scams from unscrupulous axolotl breeders who will lie to try and pump the prices of their axolotls up.
Thankfully, most axolotl breeders are reputable breeders and due to the axolotl community being so tight, the unscrupulous breeders are often named and shamed quickly.
Always do your research prior to purchasing an axolotl and never buy a firefly axolotl unless you have actually seen it in the flesh.
To our knowledge, the only two people who are producing firefly axolotls at the time of writing are Lloyd Strohl and Jennifer Barton and they rarely sell their firefly axolols.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Firefly Axolotl?
A firefly axolotl has the same lifespan of a natural axolotl and can live up to 15 years when taken care of correctly.
This is due to the procedure to turn the embryo into a firefly axolotl being done so early in its development that the tail from the other embryo is accepted as its own tail and the nerves and blood vessels then grow into it.
When done correctly, a firefly axolotl will have total control over the movement of the tail that has been added to its embryo and for all intensive purposes, it is just as healthy as a regular axolotl.
The nerves and blood vessels do not develop in the tail of the axolotl embryo until the procedure has already been completed so to the axolotl, nothing has biologically changed on the inside of the tail.
Just like all other axolotls though, their water parameters, tank conditions, tank mates, and diet will all come into play with how long the axolotl will live. This means that just because firefly axolotls are able to live for as long as 15 years, it does not mean that they all will.
Are Firefly Axolotls Ethical?
There is always debait on if firefly axoltols are ethical or not with their being valid arguments on both sides.
The general consensus does seem to be that due to the procedure being done on the axolotl embryo before it has developed nerves so it feels no pain and the tail being accepted as if it was the original tail of the embryo then it is considered ethical.
As we touched on above, the nerves and blood vessels in the tail of the axolotl do not develop until after the tails have been switched when creating a firefly axolotl so as far as the axolotl is concerned, it is its own tail.
When a firefly axolotl swims you can see that they have full control of the tail and are able to move it at will as required when swimming.
Firefly axolotls are not in constant pain either as some people suggest on social media as the nerves grow into the tail as they would have with the natural tail for the embryo after the procedure has been completed.
This means that the nerves are complete with no breaks and a firefly axolotl will not know that it has the tail from another embryo.
That brings our ultimate guide to the firefly axolotl to an end. We hope that we have been able to answer some of the questions that you may have had about this axolotl variant that always seems to spark curiosity in people. We have tried to answer all of the frequently asked questions about keeping firefly axolotls in our article too so we hope that we have been able o answer all of the questions that you had.