Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma andersoni
Species Authority: Krebs & Brandon, 1984
Common Name(s):
English Anderson's Salamander
Spanish Achoque (Local Mexican Name), Ajolote
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 both allozymes and mtDNA, this is one of the more differentiated of the Mexican Ambystoma species; morphologically, it has evolved a superficially similar body plan to the distantly related A. dumerilii from Lago Pátzcuaro (H.B. Shaffer pers. comm.).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) 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, all individuals are in a single sub-population, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of the lake habitat around the city of Zacapu.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from one lake (Lago Zacapu) and its surrounding streams, in north-western Michoacan, Mexico, at 2,000m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Although it is not rare, it is probably declining.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is paedomorphic, and requires a clean, cool aquatic habitat. It is found only in Lago Zacapu and the spring-fed streams and canals associated with the lake. They do not metamorphose in nature, and individuals that have been artificially induced to metamorphose with thyroid hormone in the laboratory do not thrive. Their diet consists largely of snails and crawfish.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is the pollution of the lake, although the animals are also heavily harvested for food, and predatory fish have been introduced into the lake, which might well pose a major problem for the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It does not occur in any protected area. However, this is a species that could recover its numbers if the lake can be kept clean and restored. Conservation and restoration of its habitat is therefore urgent. This species can be bred in laboratory conditions, and so captive animals could be a source of new individuals to repopulate the natural habitats. Studies are needed to evaluate the sustainability of the harvest as well as the impacts of introduced predatory fishes. This species 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 andersoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T59051A11875646. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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