The leucistic is probably the most famous of all axolotl morphs.
(Also known as "lucy" for short.)
Today I'm going to share my knowledge about this variety - enjoy! :)
The history of the Lucy axolotl is quite interesting.
"Six adult axolotls (including a leucistic specimen) were shipped from Mexico City to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris in 1863." (Source)
Basically, this one leucistic specimen was a mutant male that was then bred to create the leucistic line.
In other words?
All leucistics are products of the first mutant gene recognized in the axolotl.
I have also found records dating back to 1882 mentioning the "albino" form...
"The axolotl in its normal state is black; the albino is a variety which I have obtained among the spawnings of the former, and which has become permanently fertile like the black form." (Notes on the Habitats and the Rearing of the Axolotl, Amblystoma Mexicanum, translated from French and retrieved here)
... What they are talking about is actually not albino, as we know it today.
The true albino actually came much later in 1962 by hybridizing the axolotl with an albino Tiger salamander from Minnesota (source).
As far as pronunciation goes...
You say it "Loo-sis-tick".
Or for the shortened version, "Loo-see."
Identification & Typing
Leucistic axolotls have light skin (usually pink, but can be tinged yellow or white depending on the genetic background).
Their gills range from deep cherry red to pale pink.
But there are also bluegills and blackgills, which have much darker gills.
"Dirty lucy" lotls have dark pigmentation/freckling on their faces and sometimes on their sides and back.
Freckles may develop with age as well on normal lucy axies.
Within the leucistic category there are actually several sub-types.
The eyes of one of these guys can tell you a bit more about specifically what kind they are.
A test that can help to determine the eye type is to shine a flashlight on their eyes (be careful not to startle them).
- Silver eye rings (regular lucy)
- Solid black eyes (mel lucy)
- Red eye rings (copper lucy)
Skin types can give further clues...
- Regular lucys have a yellow tinge to the skin.
- Axanthic lucys are basically the same but lack yellow pigment in their skin.
- GFP lucys generally have a yellow tinge and glow fluorescent green under black light
- RFP lucys look normal but glow red under black light
- Mel lucys have solid black eyes with no shiny ring, but still have yellow pigment (unless they are axanthic as well)
As you can see, there are even combinations on the above, such as mel axanthics.
Leucistics don't require any special care than other varieties of lotls - their needs are the same.
The good news is they are very easy to take care of.
Clean, cool water, a good source of food and a place to hide are the main things they need from you.
(Don't panic if you see their normally red or pink gills occasionally look white - this is usually from inactivity.)
You can check out our complete guide to axolotl care here.
On average, these guys reach 8 inches in length.
Some can grow to be more, some less, depending on genetics and diet.
They can grow up to as much as 12 inches in some cases, or stay as little as 6.
Mini or dwarf lucy axolotls never reach full adult length and those affected by dwarfism often show changes in their proportions.
Due to their (typically) pink and white appearance, finding names for your new lotl is very fun!
And good news:
We've got tons of great lucy names at this post here.
You can check it out for some great ideas.
Eggs & Babies
The embryos in the eggs of leucistic axolotls are surprisingly not white.
They are a charcoal gray that then lightens after some time when the animal has hatched.
They go through a period where they have quite a bit of dark on their faces and bodies which then disappears with age (unless it is a dirty lucy).
Leucistic axolotls can lay around 1,000 eggs at a time!
Buying a Leucistic Axolotl
Finding a leucistic axolotl for sale near you may or may not be possible.
These guys are not always common at your mom and pop pet store, and are pretty much impossible to find at big box stores.
As far as cost goes?
Price generally depends on the size and quality of the axolotl you are buying, as well as if the animal shows or carries any rarer traits (het).
Online from reputable breeders, you can usually expect to pay anywhere between $45-110 for the animal alone, not including the cost of shipping.
When purchasing your lucy online, here are a few tips:
- Be sure to be at home the day the animal is scheduled to arrive
- Don't let the box sit in the mailbox in hot weather
- Allow the animal to slowly acclimate to the new tank temperature and conditions
- Loss of appetite for the first couple of days is usually normal from the stress of shipping
- Feed easily digestible foods for the first few days, such as bloodworms or other live foods
The leucistic axolotl is a morph known and loved by many for a plethora of reasons.
Who knew there were so many amazing things to know about this variety?
I hope you enjoyed today's post and maybe even learned something new.
Thank you for reading!