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1786, genus of Mexican salamanders, from Spanish, from Nahuatl, literally "servant of water," from atl "water" + xolotl "slippery or wrinkled one, servant, slave" [cf. Frances Karttunen, "An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl"].
((Ambystoma, formerly Rhyacosiredon or Siredon, mexicanum), salamander of the family Ambystomatidae (order Caudata), notable for its permanent retention of larval features, such as external gills. It is found in lakes near Mexico City, where it is considered edible. The name axolotl is also applied to any full-grown larva of Ambystoma tigrinum (tiger salamander) that has not yet lost its external gills. A. mexicanum grows to about 25 cm (10 inches) long and is dark brown with black speckling. Both albino and white mutants, as well as other colour mutants, are common. The legs and feet are rather small, but the tail is long. A fin extends from the back of the head to the tip of the tail. A lower fin extends from between the hind legs to the tip of the tail