Are you fascinated by the unique and colorful Firefly Axolotl? This fascinating amphibian is a product of the innovative technique of embryonic grafting, and has quickly become a popular variety of axolotl for enthusiasts and pet owners alike.

In this article, I will explore the creation and genetics of Firefly Axolotls, their unique color pattern, care guidelines, common health issues, and their legal status as pets. Read on to discover the beauty and wonder of this incredible amphibian.

What exactly is a Firefly Axolotl?

The Firefly Axolotl is a unique and fascinating type of axolotl with a bright green-yellow coloration on its dorsal region that contrasts with its white or pale pink underbelly. This coloration is the result of an innovative technique called embryonic grafting, which was used to create this new variety of axolotl.

In 2016, Lloyd Strohl II, a breeder of axolotls in the United States, produced the first Firefly Axolotl through embryonic grafting. By grafting a small piece of tissue from a pigment-producing melanoid axolotl embryo onto the dorsal region of a wild-type axolotl embryo, he created a new variety of axolotl with a unique color pattern.

Firefly Axolotl: Black body, white tail and a bright green-yellow coloration on its dorsal region

Since their creation, Firefly Axolotls have become increasingly popular among axolotl enthusiasts and have been selectively bred for as pets. I also want to mention here, that the Axolotl is an endangered Species because of habitat destruction, water pollution.

Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize ethical and responsible breeding practices and to support conservation efforts to protect axolotls in their natural habitats.

The Firefly Axolotl, also called “Lightning Bug Axolotl” is a truly remarkable animal that showcases the power of scientific innovation and the beauty of nature. Its distinct coloration and unique origin story make it a fascinating and sought-after variety of axolotl for those interested in these amazing amphibians.

How Firefly Axolotls are Created: The Fascinating Technique of Embryonic Grafting

Firefly Axolotls are created using a technique called embryonic grafting. This technique involves transplanting cells or tissues from one embryo to another – this will allow the “Recipient Embryo” to develop some of the characteristics of the donor embryo.

All the Axolotl Breeds , Colors & Morphs

To create Firefly Axolotls, a small piece of tissue from a pigment-producing melanoid axolotl embryo is transplanted onto the dorsal region of a wild-type axolotl embryo.

As the embryos grow and develop, the transplanted pigment-producing cells produce a bright green-yellow color on the dorsal region of the axolotl, resulting in the unique color pattern seen in Firefly Axolotls.

Embryonic grafting has been used for many years now in the field of “Developmental Biology” – to study various developmental processes in animals.

However, using this technique to create new color morphs in axolotls has raised some ethical concerns, particularly around the commercial breeding and selling of such animals.

Read also: Do Axolotls Live In The Ocean?

What is the Color Pattern of a Firefly Axolotl

The Firefly Axolotl has a distinctive bright green-yellow coloration on its dorsal region, which contrasts with its white or pale pink underbelly.

colorful firefly Axolotl

The green-yellow coloration is produced by the transplanted pigment-producing cells from the melanoid axolotl embryo used in the embryonic grafting process.

The resulting color pattern is not found in any other variety of axolotl, making Firefly Axolotls (Lightning Bug Axolotl) a sought-after and unique variety for those interested in these amazing amphibians.

Firefly Axolotls – Bioluminescence:

Firefly Axolotls are not Bioluminescent, meaning they do not produce their own light. Rather, their bright green-yellow coloration is produced by the transplanted pigment-producing cells from the melanoid axolotl embryo used in the embryonic grafting process.

Are Firefly Axolotls Very Rare?

Yes, Firefly Axolotls are relatively rare compared to other color morphs of axolotls. This is because the process of creating Firefly Axolotls through embryonic grafting is complex and requires specific knowledge and techniques.

Additionally, the creation of Firefly Axolotls through embryonic grafting involves using melanoid axolotl embryos, which are not as readily available as wild-type embryos. This can make it more difficult for breeders to produce large numbers of Firefly Axolotls for sale as pets.

As a result of their relative rarity and unique their unique coloration; Firefly Axolotls can be more expensive and harder to find than other varieties of the axolotls.

What is the Survival Rate of a Firefly Axolotl?

The survival rate of a Firefly Axolotl is similar to that of other varieties of axolotls. Axolotls (including Firefly Axolotls), are hardy animals that are relatively easy to care for.

black white striped Firefly Axolotl

But like all amphibians, they are susceptible to certain health issues and environmental stressors that can affect their survival.

The survival rate of Firefly Axolotls can be influenced by a number of factors:

  • Quality of care for Firefly Axolotls
  • Conditions of their Environment
  • Water Quality
  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Enemy Predators

With proper care and attention to their needs, Firefly Axolotls can live for several years in captivity.

Read also: Exploring Axolotl Genetics: The Fascinating Science Behind Eternal Larval Stage

Can You Buy Firefly Axolotls for Keeping them as Pets

Yes, Firefly Axolotls are available for purchase as Pets – but it will be more difficult for you to find Firefly Axolotls from a reputable breeder.

Firefly Axolotls are much more expensive than some other varieties of Axolotls. Because Firefly Axolotls are relatively rare and are a newer color morph, they are not as widely available as some other color varieties.

Firefly Axolotl in Aquarium

If you are interested in purchasing a Firefly Axolotl as a Pet, Please do a proper research on the breeder or seller to ensure that they are reputable and ethical in their breeding practices.

It’s also important to consider the care requirements of axolotls, including appropriate tank size, water quality, temperature, and feeding habits.

Keep in mind that Axolotls in general (including Firefly Axolotls), are considered as endangered species and are threatened in the wild due to habitat destruction and water pollution.

Firefly Axolotls – Price Range

The Price Range for buying a Firefly Axolotl can vary – depending on the breeder or seller, your geographic location, and the availability of Firefly Axolotls. As Firefly Axolotls are relatively rare and are a newer color morph, they may be more expensive than some other color varieties.

As an estimate for you, the price of a Firefly Axolotl can range from $200 to $500 or more! Keep in mind that the cost of purchasing a Firefly Axolotl is just one aspect of the overall expenses of keeping an axolotl as a pet – proper care and attention, including equipment, food, and veterinary care, can also be significant expenses over time.

Legal Notice: Owing Firefly Axolotls as Pets

Axolotls (also Firefly Axolotls) are legal to own as pets in most US states, but there are a few exceptions such as California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia where it is illegal keeping Axolotls.

Axolotls are under species protection due to their threatened status in native waters that are heavily polluted, and their populations have already disappeared from two lakes.

In New Mexico, it is legal to purchase an axolotl as a pet – but illegal to import one from other states. It’s important to check local exotic pet laws to verify if owning an axolotl as a pet is legal.

Keeping Your Firefly Axolotl Healthy: Common Health Issues and Care Guidelines

There are no specific health issues that are unique to Firefly Axolotls. As with all axolotls, Firefly Axolotls can be susceptible to a range of health issues if not provided with appropriate care.

Firefly Axolotl with white body and green tail

To keep your Firefly Axolotl healthy, it’s important to provide proper care and attention. Here you can find some common health issues and care guidelines:

  • Bacterial or fungal infections can be caused by poor water quality or an improper diet. Please keep the water in your axolotl’s aquarium always clean and well-maintained. An appropriate filtration system and regular water changes, will help prevent any infections. Additionally, providing a balanced and appropriate diet can help support their immune system.
  • Parasitic infestations can include external parasites like fish lice or internal parasites like nematodes. Regularly inspecting your axolotl for signs of parasites and providing appropriate treatment if needed can help prevent these health issues.
  • Digestive issues, such as bloating or constipation, can occur if your axolotl is fed an inappropriate diet or if water quality is not properly maintained. Providing a balanced and appropriate diet, and monitoring your axolotl’s behavior and appetite, can help prevent digestive issues.

It’s also important to provide your Firefly Axolotl with a suitable aquarium, proper filtration and water conditions, and regular veterinary care.

If you notice any signs of illness or abnormal behavior in your Firefly Axolotl, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. With proper care and attention, your Firefly Axolotl can be a fascinating and long-lived companion.


Firefly Axolotl is a remarkable and unique variety of axolotl that has captured the attention and admiration of many amphibian enthusiasts. Its distinctive color pattern and fascinating origin story are testaments to the power of scientific innovation and the beauty of nature.

As an endangered species, it is important to prioritize ethical and responsible breeding practices and support conservation efforts to protect axolotls in their natural habitats.

By providing proper care and attention, Firefly Axolotls can thrive as long-lived and fascinating pets.


  1. Strohl, L. A., & Strohl, L. S. (2017). Embryonic Grafting for Color Pattern Modification in the Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). Journal of visualized experiments: JoVE, (129), e56364.
  2. Endo, T., & Bryant, S. V. (1978). The role of the nerve in limb regeneration in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). The Journal of experimental zoology, 206(3), 453-461.
  3. Lozada, M. C., & Paulson, K. G. (2020). Understanding the mechanisms of regeneration and transplantation in axolotls. Wound repair and regeneration : official publication of the Wound Healing Society [and] the European Tissue Repair Society, 28(6), 748-759.


Marco Heitner

Hello, my Name is Marco. My family has had pets since I can remember. Today we have a large aquarium and, since recently, a four-month old Labrador. I am the owner of this website, and it is my great pleasure to provide helpful knowledge about pets. Our team is constantly working hard to publish well-researched reports here.


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