Axolotl Colors: 17 Types of Axolotl Morphs (With Photos)

Axolotl colors or axolotl morphs

Axolotls are more than just interesting water creatures; they come in a variety of stunning colors. In this article, we’ll explore the 17 different colors or morphs these amphibians can have.

With clear images and easy-to-understand descriptions for each hue, you’ll get a full picture of their colorful world. Whether you’re already a fan or just curious, let’s dive into the vibrant world of axolotls together.

How Many Colors Do Axolotls Come In?

Axolotl up close

The axolotl, a fascinating aquatic creature, is known for its wide array of color variations or morphs. These morphs are primarily the result of genetic mutations, leading to an impressive diversity in their appearance.

The axolotl color spectrum includes 17 recognized morphs:

  • Wild Type
  • Leucistic (Lucy)
  • Golden Albino (Golden)
  • White Albino
  • Melanoid (Black)
  • Copper (Olive)
  • GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein)
  • Dirty Lucy (Speckled Leucistic)
  • Lavender (Silver Dalmatian)
  • Piebald
  • High Iridophore
  • Heavily Marked Melanoid
  • Firefly
  • Mosaic
  • Chimera
  • RFP (Red Fluorescent Protein)
  • Enigma

Among these, the most frequently encountered axolotl morphs in captivity are the wild type, leucistic, golden albino, and white albino. These common axolotl morphs are often the first choice for those new to axolotl care.

However, the axolotl’s color palette doesn’t stop there. Less common variations and combinations exist, contributing to the species’ rich array of possible colors. 

The 17 Types of Axolotl Morphs 

1. Wild Type

Wild type axolotl
Image credit: ampexlic / Instagram

The wild type axolotl is one of the most common types of axolotl. It mirrors the axolotls found in the wild, boasting a dark blend of green and black with golden speckles. 

This color scheme helps them blend into their murky natural habitats. These axolotls have dark eyes and can reach a length of up to 12 inches

They are sturdy and adaptable, making them a favorite among many axolotl enthusiasts.

Their diet is rich in protein, including worms and small fish. To keep them healthy, it’s important to maintain cool water temperatures and clean their tanks regularly. 

Despite being common, wild type axolotls are fascinating examples of the different axolotl colors that exist. It’s a testament to the axolotl’s adaptability and the diversity of axolotl color morphs.

2. Leucistic (Lucy)

Leucistic lucy axolotl
Image credit: kaworukummies / Instagram

The leucistic axolotl, also known as lucy, is a common axolotl color loved for its unique looks. The lucy axolotl’s skin is pale or white with a pinkish hue, making it a unique morph. 

This axolotl variation is often mistaken for albinos due to their light skin. Keep in mind, though, that, unlike white albinos, leucistic axolotls’ eyes are dark, a key distinguishing feature. 

These axolotls’ care needs are similar to other axolotls, including a protein-rich diet and cool water. Despite their delicate appearance, this axolotl color is robust and adaptable, making them a popular choice. 

Interestingly, these kinds of axolotls stay in their larval stage for their entire life. In other words, leucistic axolotls almost never undergo morphing.

Watch this fun video to see a leucistic axolotl in action:

3. Golden Albino (Golden)

Golden albino axolotl
Image credit: peanut_axolotl / Instagram

The golden albino axolotl is a standout morph, boasting a yellow-gold hue. This unique color results from a lack of melanin, the pigment responsible for the typical dark color in axolotls. 

Their eyes are clear, often radiating a red or pinkish glow. These golden albino axolotls are a common sight in captivity, beloved by hobbyists for their distinct color. 

Like all axolotls, they need protein-rich food and a clean, cool aquatic environment. Despite their striking looks, they’re as hardy as any other axolotl. 

Their golden color makes them a highlight in any aquarium. In fact, golden albino axolotls are one of the three types often seen among enthusiasts.

However, it’s important to remember that axolotls are critically endangered in the wild despite their popularity in the exotic pet industry.

4. White Albino 

White albino axolotl

The white albino axolotl is a special morph that’s a common choice for someone looking for a pet axolotl. 

These types stand out among the many axolotl colors due to their unique skin. They’re either pure white or pink, a result of lacking pigmentation. 

Keep in mind, though, that these particular morphs are often confused with leucistic axolotls.

One key difference from leucistic axolotls is their clear or reddish eyes. These axolotls are typically more sensitive to light because of their albinism. However, they share the same care needs as other types of axolotls.

They flourish in cool, clean water and require a diet rich in protein. Among the different types of axolotl colors, white albinos are a favorite to many. 

5. Melanoid (Black)

Melanoid black axolotl
Image credit: ambers.axolotls / Instagram

The melanoid axolotl, often called the black axolotl, is a distinct morph with a dark, almost black hue. These dark axolotls get their color from melanophores, cells that create dark pigmentation. 

Unlike other axolotl morphs, melanoid axolotls don’t have shiny gold speckles. Their eyes are as dark as their skin, creating a uniform look. Though not as common, they’re still a favorite in the pet trade. 

Their care needs are the same as other axolotls, needing cool water and a protein-rich diet. Their dark color makes a striking contrast in a bright aquarium with plants and lighter-colored ornaments. 

The melanoid morph is one of the darker color morphs of axolotls. 

6. Copper (Olive)

Copper olive axolotl
Image credit: axelhoood / Instagram

The copper axolotl is a standout among axolotl color types. Their bright, coppery hue is a result of a specific genetic mutation. These morphs are not as common as others, making them one of the rarer axolotl colors. 

The term “olive” is sometimes used to describe copper axolotls. This is likely due to the fact that some copper axolotls can exhibit a coloration that leans more towards a greenish-brown, similar to the color of an olive. 

These axolotl morphs are just as hardy and friendly as any other axolotl. Their care requirements are identical to other morphs. Unsurprisingly, the copper axolotl’s striking color makes them a favorite among enthusiasts. 

Despite their confusing name, they’re as likable as the other common types, such as the more colorful and wild type of axolotl. 

7. GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein)

GFP green fluorescent protein axolotl
Image credit: jarrsica / Instagram

The GFP axolotl stands out, not for its color, but for a unique genetic trait. This trait makes them glow in the dark, specifically a green color under UV light. 

This fascinating feature is inherited, meaning it can be passed to future generations. Importantly, this doesn’t affect the axolotl’s health or behavior, making them as robust as other axolotls.

Their glow-in-the-dark characteristic makes them one of the more exotic axolotl color variations. They are a testament to the adaptability of the species.

With my particular fondness for diverse marine species, I’ve had numerous interactions with GFP axolotls. In fact, I remember how enchanted I was after deciding to bring home a GFP and inspect how it glows in a dark room.

Observing this creature’s behavior and traits in my own aquarium has given me an invaluable first-hand understanding of its biology, health, and adaptability. 

In fact, it led me to study the green fluorescent protein further, and I found out that this protein existed for more than 160 million years in the Aequorea victoria jellyfish. However, it was not until 1994 that it was cloned.

8. Dirty Lucy (Speckled Leucistic)

Dirty lucy speckled leucistic axolotl

The dirty lucy, or speckled leucistic, is a distinctive type of axolotl. Their body is mostly white or pinkish, but they’re speckled with dark spots. These spots come from melanophores, giving them a “dirty” look. 

But don’t be fooled; dirty lucys are as healthy and lively as any other axolotl. They’re a favorite among hobbyists, thanks to their unique pattern. 

Speaking from personal experience, I can vouch for the health and vitality of dirty lucys, despite their odd name. In fact, the dirty lucy I owned, named Luna, outlived the other axolotls I’ve had in my home aquarium.

Of course, this comes with all the necessary care needed for an axolotl, including the right diet and ensuring the proper tank condition and water parameters.

These amphibians are not only engaging creatures to observe but also serve as a brilliant reminder of the dazzling diversity of life under the water.

Interestingly, the dirty lucy is among the newer morphs in this list. This coloration results from the combination or mutation of certain morphs. 

9. Lavender (Silver Dalmatian)

Lavender silver dalmatian axolotl
Image credit: aquatic.mama / Instagram

The lavender axolotl, also known as the silver dalmatian, is another beautiful morph. The unique feature of these axolotls lies in their coloration, as suggested by their name. 

Their skin is a captivating blend of purples, lavenders, and pinks, with a slight iridescent sheen, giving them an ethereal and enchanting appearance that sets them apart from other axolotl morphs.

As they age, their eyes can become gray or green. The presence of spots all over their body has given them the alternative name of silver dalmatians. Undoubtedly, these color morphs are a stunning addition to any collection. 

Despite their unique coloration, lavender axolotls have the same care needs as other morphs. Their striking appearance makes them a popular choice for axolotl enthusiasts. 

10. Piebald

Piebald axolotl
Image credit: axolutelyy / Instagram

The piebald axolotl is a rare and interesting morph. They are the result of a partial leucistic morph, with dark green or black spots or patches covering parts of the white or translucent skin. These patterns give them a distinctive look. 

Unlike leucistic axolotls, the pigmentation of piebalds can be found along their mid-body and sides. They also have darker and thicker black spots.

Piebald axolotls are quite rare, making them one of the more expensive morphs as well. Despite their unique appearance, they have the same care requirements as other axolotls. 

Meanwhile, if you wish to learn more about the pricing of the different axolotls, here is an article to help you prepare financially for owning one!

11. High Iridophore

High iridophore axolotl
Image credit: modaquatics / Instagram

The high iridophore axolotl is unique due to its high iridophore count. Iridophores are pigment cells that reflect light, giving these axolotls a shiny, iridescent appearance. 

These morphs can be of any base color but are often seen in lighter shades, such as yellow. The iridescence is most visible under direct light. 

High iridophore axolotls are not as common as other morphs. However, these kinds of axolotls still share the same care requirements as other axolotls. Their striking appearance makes them a favorite among enthusiasts.

12. Heavily Marked Melanoid

Heavily marked melanoid axolotl
Image credit: pb_jelly_axolotI / Instagram

A heavily marked melanoid axolotl is a unique type of axolotl. They’re a variation of black melanoid axolotls with dark skin and green to yellow splotches. 

Unlike other axolotls, where these cells are evenly distributed, in heavily marked melanoids, they are concentrated in certain areas, giving birth to their unique pattern. 

This makes each heavily marked melanoid axolotl truly one-of-a-kind, as no two will have the exact same pattern of splotches.

Despite being less common, they share the same care requirements as other axolotls. Their unique coloration makes them a standout in any collection of axolotls.

These morphs are a well-loved dark-color variation of the axolotl. In fact, they stack up in terms of demand with other new morphs.

13. Firefly

Firefly axolotl
Image credit: axolotl_emporium / Instagram

The firefly axolotl is a rare and captivating morph. Their bodies are dark, creating a striking contrast with their light-colored tails. This unique look is the result of a complex breeding process. 

Interestingly, the tail of these axolotls glow under UV light. This glow is due to the presence of a green fluorescent protein, making them another one of those glow-in-the-dark axolotls.

Despite their unique appearance, firefly axolotls’ care needs are the same as other axolotls. These morphs are a sought-after variety due to their rarity and distinctive look. 

It’s a testament to the diverse and fascinating world of axolotl morphs. Firefly axolotls are a shining example of the rare axolotl colors that can be achieved through breeding and modification.

Their unique glow adds an extra layer of intrigue to this already fascinating creature.

14. Mosaic

Mosaic axolotl
Image credit: axolotiworn / Instagram

The mosaic axolotl is a sight to behold, belonging to the group of rare axolotl colors. 

Their creation is a fascinating process involving the fusion of two different eggs — one albino or leucistic, and the other, a dark or wild axolotl type. 

This unique combination results in axolotls which are living pieces of art adorned with black, white, red, and golden flecks. 

Unlike the chimera morph, where colors are neatly split, the mosaic’s colors are randomly scattered, giving them a truly mottled appearance. 

Despite their rarity, you might be lucky to spot one, though they’re not commonly found in stores. 

15. Chimera

Chimera axolotl
Image credit: mother_of_axolotls / Instagram

The chimera axolotl is one of the rarest axolotl morphs in existence. Their unique look, a split of white and black down their body, is a result of two genetic cells merging in their embryonic stage. 

This process, akin to a type of embryonic graphing, isn’t something breeders can control. It happens randomly and infrequently, making each chimera axolotl a surprise. 

Despite their distinct appearance, they share the same care needs with other axolotls. Their rarity and striking look make them a treasure for axolotl enthusiasts. 

Interestingly, these axolotls are a combination of wild type and leucistic morph colors.

Meanwhile, unlike other axolotls, such as the glow-in-the-dark axolotl or the copper melanoid axolotl, their colors do not change under different light conditions. 

They remain a stark contrast of black and white, a testament to the fascinating genetic diversity of axolotls.

16. RFP (Red Fluorescent Protein)

RFP red fluorescent protein axolotl
Image credit: jewelsexotics / Instagram

The red fluorescent protein, or RFP, is a special axolotl morph. It’s not a color but a genetic change introduced into the axolotl in a lab. This change makes the axolotl glow orange-red under ultraviolet light. 

Interestingly, any axolotl, regardless of their color, can have this trait. It just so happens that the RFP axolotl is the most notable one aside from the GFP.

RFP axolotls are mainly for research now. They’re not widely available; hence, they are a pain to source even in renowned pet shops and axolotl sources.

Their existence shows the axolotl’s amazing diversity and adaptability, contributing to the different colors and patterns these creatures can have.

17. Enigma

Enigma axolotl
Image credit: ambystoma_den / Instagram

The enigma axolotl is a captivating type of axolotl that’s extremely rare. They’re known for their unique color-changing ability as they grow older. Initially, the enigma axolotl is dark, almost black. 

Over time, they transform into a light green, almost yellowish-green hue. The reason behind this color shift remains a mystery, hence their name, “enigma.” 

Despite their rareness and unique color transformation, they need the same care as any other axolotl. According to axolotl fanatics, this morph was first bred by a lone American breeder. 

Enigma axolotls add a touch of wonder to the already fascinating axolotl world. They’re an intriguing addition to the axolotl family. Their existence is a testament to the diversity and adaptability of axolotls.

Understanding Axolotl Morphs

Axolotl morphs, or variations, are a fascinating aspect of these unique creatures. The term “morph” refers to the different physical characteristics that an axolotl can exhibit, primarily influenced by their genetic makeup. 

These characteristics include color, pattern, and even the presence of certain proteins that can make them glow under specific light conditions. On the other hand, though, “morph” may also refer to a process known as “morphing.”

For starters, the axolotl’s natural form is aquatic, equipped with gills and slightly webbed toes. 

However, under certain conditions, axolotls can undergo a process where they transition from their aquatic form to a terrestrial one. 

This is not a natural occurrence in axolotls and usually happens due to environmental stress or hormonal changes. The changes it undergoes can be both physical and behavioral.

For instance, their dorsal fin may slowly reduce in size, and their tail, tail fin, and gills may shrink. 

Their eyes may begin to bulge out from their normal position, and eyelids may form — a feature that axolotls do not have unless they morph.

Morphing axolotls may spend more time on the surface of the water, poking their snout above the water. They may also spend more time out of the water, exploring their surroundings.

Unfortunately, metamorphosis can be fatal for some axolotls. The process can be incredibly stressful, and when combined with other stresses such as disease, excessive handling, or a lack of heat, can cause death.

When it comes to axolotl colors, though, morphing does not have any significant effect. This means morphing usually does not cause an axolotl to change its color or pattern.

In the context of this guide, axolotl morphs simply refer to axolotl colors and not the morphing process of these amphibians.

Frequently Asked Questions

Axolotl swimming in a tank

What Is the Rarest Color of Axolotl?

The enigma morph, a unique type of axolotl, is dark grayish-green and is widely recognized as the rarest of all axolotl colors. 

This fascinating creature begins its life with a solid black color that intriguingly transforms into a yellowish-green hue as it matures. 

The enigma’s ability to change color over time, coupled with the mystery surrounding its origin, makes it a highly sought-after variety among axolotl enthusiasts.

Are Black Axolotls Rare?

Black axolotls, also known as Melanoid axolotls, are not as rare as one might think. These axolotls are a common morph and are characterized by their uniformly dark, almost black color. 

Unlike the wild type axolotl, which is adorned with shiny gold speckles, the Melanoid axolotl lacks these speckles, resulting in a distinctive dark appearance that sets them apart.

Are Color-Changing Axolotls Real?

Yes, color-changing axolotls are indeed real and are known as enigma axolotls. These rare morphs start their life with a solid black color that gradually changes to a yellowish-green hue as they age. 

The exact reason for this color change is still a mystery, adding to the allure and intrigue of the enigma axolotl.

Are Blue Axolotls Real?

As of now, there are no known naturally occurring blue axolotls. Most axolotl colors are variations of black, white, gold, and green. 

However, axolotls have a wide range of color morphs, and it’s possible that new ones, including blue, may be discovered or bred in the future.

As we continue to learn more about these remarkable creatures, who knows what new colors and patterns we might discover in the future? Let us know your thoughts about these different axolotl colors by leaving a comment below!

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