Ambystoma amblycephalum 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma amblycephalum
Species Authority: Taylor, 1940
Common Name(s):
English Blunthead Salamander, Blunt-headed Salamander
Spanish Ajolote
Ambystoma amblycephala Taylor, 1940
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: Based on mitochondrial DNA (Shaffer and McKnight 1996) and allozymes (Shaffer 1984a) this species is extremely closely related to several other populations from the Mesa Central, and species boundaries are in need of careful review.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Shaffer, H.B., Flores-Villela, O., Parra-Olea, G. & Wake, D.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A. & Young, B.E.
Listed as Critically Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 100 km2 and its Area Of Occupancy is less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the number of mature individuals and in the extent and quality of its habitat around the city of Morelia.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in a small area around Tacicuaro, north-western Michoacan, to the west of Morelia City in Mexico. It occurs at about 2,000m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no information on current population status; there has been limited fieldwork carried out on this species since the early 1980s.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a metamorphosing species spending most of the time on land in a mosaic of natural grasslands and pine-oak forests. It requires ponds of moderate depth in which to breed, and is able to survive in somewhat modified landscapes, taking advantage of cattle ponds for larval development.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The desiccation, pollution, and conversion of former ponds, small reservoirs, and open habitats to grow crops, represent the main threats to this species, coupled with the urban expansion of Morelia and Uruapan. Introduced predatory fish are also a major concern, both in ponds and small streams.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It does not occur in any protected areas. The conservation and restoration of the natural habitats for this species is urgent, and new field surveys are required to assess the population status of this species. It might be possible to breed this species in captivity and reintroduce it in the wild. It is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico.

Citation: Shaffer, H.B., Flores-Villela, O., Parra-Olea, G. & Wake, D. 2008. Ambystoma amblycephalum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T59050A11875503. . Downloaded on 25 June 2016.
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