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Transcript of Mexican Axolotls
Photograph by Stephen Dalton/Animals Animals—Earth Scene (National Geographic)
Mexican Axolotls ( Ambystoma mexicanum)
Mexican axolotls are found only in Mexico and is native to Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco.
They differ from other salamanders because they dwell permanently in the water. They like to stay at the bottom of the lake and canals.
Axolotls are native to only the water channels and lakes in Mexico City. They require deep-water lakes and water bodies (both natural and artificial canals) with a lot of aquatic vegetation. They live in wetlands and canals associated with Lake Xochimilco.
Axolotls are carnivores, they eat other animals such as worms, insects, small fish, and just about anything else that can fit inside their mouth and swallow whole, including other salamanders. They keep animals on the food chain lower than them from overpopulating.
- Has a unique ability to regenerate any body parts.
- A neotenic Ambystoma species, axolotls can metamorphosize itself from a larva into an adult.
- Larva tail and four limbs allows them to move quicker.
- Have distinctive fern-like gill structures, 3 on both sides of the head and allows them to breathe.
- They have tiny teeth which are used to grip food.
- Body color: axolotls range from albino or white (the leucistic variety) to black, through greys, tans and browns.
Secondary small carnivore.
Small fishes and salamanders
Carp and Tilapia
Birds and large fishes
Birds other mammals
- The common carp and tilapia were introduced more than 20 years into Lake Xochimilco for aquaculture.
- They have a negative impact on the axolotls' population via competition and predation.
Why are they threaten or endangered?
- Axolotls population are being threaten by land drainage and growth of Mexico City.
- Various efforts at flood control and sewage disposal in early 17th century lead to damaging Lake Xochimilco and Chalco (which disappeared).
- Major threats to the survival of the axolotl is desiccation, pollution and general degradation of the canal system and lakes in Xochimilco and Chalco, as a result of urbanization.
- Axolotls is considered a delicacy in Mexico and is being captured by local people for consumption.
- They are also being hunted for international pet trade.
- The digging of wells for the booming Mexico City population is drying up the valley where the lakes are located.
- Lake Xochimilco is deteriorating in size and water quality.
Persevering the Axolotls:
- This species is protected under the category Pr (Special Protection) by the Government of Mexico and is in the process of being amended to a higher risk category.
- The axolotl is currently on Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), restricting its international trade to protect this species from over-harvesting in the wild, where it has been listed since 1975.
- A Darwin project was recently completed focusing on the conservation of the axolotl, led by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. It is designed to assist Mexico in the development of a sustainable development programme to conserve the axolotl and other endemic fauna and flora of Xochimilco through the promotion of nature tourism.
- IUCN Technical Guidelines for the Management of Ex situ Populations, part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, recommend that all Critically Endangered species should have an ex situ population managed to guard against the extinction of the species.