Concern for venerable Xochimilco denizen


In “Axolotl,” Argentine writer Julio Cortázar portrays the creature that inspired the short story’s title as an ageless being from a mysterious universe. “The axolotls were like witnesses of something, and at times like horrible judges. I felt ignoble in front of them; there was such a terrifying purity in those transparent eyes. They were larvas, but larva means disguise and also phantom. Behind those Aztec faces, without expression but of an implacable cruelty, what semblance was awaiting its hour?” A small, slimy amphibian capable of inspiring such prose might not seem the prototypical poster-animal for a conservation project. Yet the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) has in fact become the focus of an international effort to restore its only remaining natural habitat, in the... [Log in to read more]

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