Ambystoma amblycephalum 

Scope: Global

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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 de Cabeza Chata
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 1984) 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) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-09-11
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J.
Contributor(s): Shaffer, H.B., Wake, D., Parra-Olea, G., Flores-Villela, O. & Aguilar, X.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garcia Moreno, J., Hobin, L. & Arias Caballero, P.
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 18 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, all individuals are known from one threat-defined location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat around the city of Morelia.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in a small area around Tacicuaro in north-western Michoacan, to the west of Morelia City in Mexico, at 2,000 m asl. It occurs in one threat-defined location and its extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) is 18 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Michoacán)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:18
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):2000
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species' population is severely fragmented due to the desiccation of water bodies and the expansion of urban settlements. Recent field work by the Universidad Michoacana San Nicolás de Hidalgo has shown that the species can still be located within its known range (X. Aguilar pers. comm. Red List Assessment Workshop 2014). However, due to ongoing declines in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Population severely fragmented:Yes

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
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species was probably consumed for local subsistence when it was abundant, but it is unlikely to be consumed now.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The desiccation, pollution, and conversion of former ponds, small reservoirs, and open habitats to grow crops, reported as important threats in 2004, still represent the main threats to this species, coupled with the urban expansion of Morelia and Uruapan. Introduced predatory fish in ponds and small streams are also a major concern.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
It does not occur in any protected areas, however it is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico. 

Conservation Needed
The conservation and restoration of the natural habitats for this species is urgent and improved management of hydric resources is a priority, as is reducing the levels of water pollution and control of invasive/introduced fish. It might be possible to breed this species in captivity and reintroduce it in the wild. 

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2016. Ambystoma amblycephalum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T59050A53973313. . Downloaded on 23 October 2016.
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