The corneal ultrastructure of the pre- and post-metamorphic stages of the neotenic axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum is examined using light microscopy and both scanning and transmission electron microscopy to reveal whether there are any morphological changes associated with a switch in lifestyle. Although the complement of corneal layers remains the same, there are significant quantitative changes in corneal, epithelial and stromal thickness, epithelial and endothelial cell size and density, and the thickness of Bowman's layer and Desçemet's membrane. Microholes in the epithelium and vertical sutures within the stroma are predominant features in the pre-metamorphic stage but are rarely seen in the post-metamorphic stage. There are also significant quantitative centro-peripheral differences in the thickness of the whole cornea, primarily due to differences in the thickness of the stroma in both metamorphic stages. These changes may reflect the physiological demands on the cornea as it switches from a purely aquatic to an amphibious lifestyle, which includes venturing onto land.