Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The most notable feature of the life history of A. mexicanum is that the species exhibits an extreme form of neoteny: it remains in its aquatic larval form its entire life, meaning that when it reaches sexual maturity at the approximate age of one and a half years, it remains in other regards a larva. Paedomorphic features include the maintenance of gills into adulthood. While young, A. mexicanum feeds on algae, but as it grows older, it takes to eating aquatic insects. If a locality where it lives dries up, A. mexicanum metamorphoses into the Mexican salamander. As for reproduction, the male releases sperm packets, which are taken up by the female for internal fertilization. Incubation lasts 2-3 weeks. In the wild, A. mexicanum lives ten to twelve years. Its major predators are predatory birds such as herons (Utah's Hogle Zoo 2003).