Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma taylori
Species Authority: Brandon, Maruska & Rumph, 1982
Common Name(s):
English Taylor's Salamander
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 a very distinctive salamander (H.B. Shaffer pers. comm.). The Ambystoma salamanders occurring in other natural lakes around Alchichica are not closely related to this species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-01-07
Assessor(s): Brad Shaffer, Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake, Timothy Burkhardt
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
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 have been declines in the number of mature individuals and in the extent and quality of its habitat in Laguna Alchichica.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Critically Endangered (CR)
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Laguna Alchichica, a saline crater lake in eastern Puebla, eastern-central Mexico, at 2,290m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Lower elevation limit (metres): 2290
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2290
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a rare species, having formerly been quite common. However, it has been seen recently by divers deep in Laguna Alchichica. In addition, in June 2005 the species was found to be numerous amongst the deeper edges of the tufa outcrops at the lake's edge (T. Burkhardt pers. comm. 2006).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It usually does not metamorphose, and most individuals live permanently in water. It breeds in the lake, and is usually found in very deep water, often more than 30m below the surface.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The most serious threat is water extraction and diversion, leading to the lake becoming even more saline; the water level has dropped many metres over the last two decades. Continued transformation and pollution of the lake will result in the disappearance of this species. Attempts to introduce fish in the lake have failed because it is too saline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It does not occur in any protected area, and the protection of the Alchichica lake is an urgent priority. In addition, consideration should be given to establishing a captive-breeding programme. This species is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.14. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.4. Abstraction of surface water (unknown use)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.4. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.6. Excess energy -> 9.6.2. Thermal pollution
♦ timing: Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Brandon, R.A., Maruska, E.J. and Rumph, W.T. 1982. A new species of neotenic Ambystoma (Amphibia, Caudata) endemic to Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico. Bulletin Southern California Academy of Sciences: 112-125.

Camarillo-R, J.L. 1998. Observaciones preliminares sobre los anfibios y reptiles de los lagos crater de Puebla-Veracruz. Anales del Instituto de Biologia Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Serie Zoologia: 125-127.

Dyer, W.G. 1984. Hedruris siredonis from Ambystoma taylori endemic to Laguna Alchichica Puebla, Mexico. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science: 59-60.

Highton, R. 2000. Detecting cryptic species using allozyme data. In: Bruce, R.C., Jaeger, R.G. and Houck, L.D. (eds), The Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders, pp. 215-241. Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

Santinelli-Ramos, M.A. 1995. Ambystoma taylori (Taylor's salamander). Record size. Herpetological Review: 196.

Shaffer, H.B. 1984. Evolution in a paedomorphic lineage. I. An electrophoretic analysis of the Mexican ambystomatid salamanders. Evolution: 1194-1206.

Shaffer, H.B. 1984. Evolution in a paedomorphic lineage. II. Allometry and form in the Mexican ambystomatid salamanders. Evolution: 1207-1218.

Shaffer, H.B. and Lauder, G.V. 1985. Patterns of variation in aquatic ambystomatid salamanders: kinematics of the feeding mechanism. Evolution: 83-92.

Shaffer, H.B. and McKnight, M.L. 1996. The polytypic species revisited: genetic differentiation and molecular phylogenetics of the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) (Amphibia: Caudata) complex. Evolution: 417-433.

Citation: Brad Shaffer, Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake, Timothy Burkhardt. 2010. Ambystoma taylori. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T59070A11878517. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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