Dying White/Albino mutant axolotls

Natalie Kim Bjorklund umbjork1 at cc.UManitoba.CA
Mon Jan 8 17:53:56 EST 1996

I have a group of juvenile axolotls, all from the same spawning, that are 
about 7 months old. Within this spawning are wild type, albino, white, 
and what appear to be animals showing both the white and the albino 
phenotype. They are white but also lack pigmentation in the eye and any 
speckling you would normally find in the white mutant. 

Up until now all of these variations have been doing quite well. I kept 
all thirteen of the apparently dual homozygous white/albino mutants. 
Unfortunately they are now dying. It began about a month ago and the 
pattern has been the same for all of them. First their growth slows and 
they begin to become emaciated looking. They develop what appear to be 
bluish bruises of their limb, mainly at the toe area but also at the 
elbow or shoudler area. These patches grow and worsen and become open 
sores, or the limb parts below are lost altogether as if they fell off 
between one night and the next. Some sort of secondary fungal infection 
sets in and the animals die shortly afterward.

These animals are all housed in mixed groups with other animals of the 
same spawning and none of the other animals (wild type, albino, and 
white) in the same groups have shown any sign of this and are all 

I have only three of these white/albino mutants left. One is extremely 
ill. One looks healthy yet, and one is in the emaciated stage. We were 
hoping to use these white/albine mutants to image limb regeneration 
because they seem almost translucent but if they are all going to die on 
us, they aren't going to be of much use.

I would be interesting in hearing any comments on what might be going on 
and why. I would especially like to know if anyone has seen this before. 

Natalie K Bjorklund
(University of Manitoba's Axolotl Colony)

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