Ambystoma velasci 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma velasci
Species Authority: (Dugès, 1888)
Common Name(s):
English Plateau Tiger Salamander
Spanish Salamandra
Amblystoma velasci Dugès, 1888
Ambystoma lacustris Taylor & Smith, 1945
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomic status of this form remains confused. We follow Shaffer and McKnight (1996) and Irshick and Shaffer (1997) in recognizing Ambystoma tigrinum and A. velasci as distinct at the species level. Highton (2000) suggested that populations from the states of Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Mexico might represent distinct species. Webb (2004) treated lowland populations from the eastern part of the State of Durango as distinct from A. velasci, and provisionally referred them to Ambystoma subsalum which was synonymized with A. velasci by Brandon et al. (1981). The type locality of A. subsalum is much further to the southeast in the State of Puebla, so if A. subsalum is distinct from A. velasci, the distributions of the two forms relative to each other are not at all clear. We retain A. subsalum within A. velasci, pending resolution of this problem.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-10-01
Assessor(s): Brad Shaffer, Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake, Paulino Ponce-Campos
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs widely in Mexico from the Sierra Madre Occidental (close to the border with the USA [New Mexico]), south to Michoacan (close to Patzcuaro Lake), Toluca City, the State of Mexico, and Puebla, thence north through the Sierra Madre Oriental to the vicinity of Saltillo in Coahuila.
Countries occurrence:
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is little information on its abundance, probably owing to taxonomic confusions.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Its ecology is similar to that of Ambystoma tigrinum. It breeds in deep volcanic lakes, shallow vernal pools, artificial cattle ponds, and intermittent, fish-free stream pools. This is primarily a grassland species that occurs in sparse forest and semi-arid grasslands, above about 1,800m asl. It may breed as either as metamorphic or paedomorphic individuals.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Many populations of this widely distributed species are secure, but some are at serious risk. Increased urbanization, especially near Mexico City, in combination with other threats such as forest clearance, water extraction, pollution and the introduction of fishes, including trout, catfish and centrarchids (sunfishes and bass), carp (Cyprinus carpius) and mosquitofish (Gambusia), and frogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) for exploitation have caused a decline in some populations of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It probably occurs in a few protected areas. Increased efforts at habitat conservation are urgent. Populations from the volcanic lakes of western Puebla are morphologically distinct and might be recognizable as distinct species, although they are identical based on DNA (Shaffer and McKnight, 1996). Captive breeding for these populations might be needed to protect them from decimation by introduced predatory fishes. This species is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico.

Citation: Brad Shaffer, Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake, Paulino Ponce-Campos. 2010. Ambystoma velasci. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T59073A11879243. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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