Ambystoma taylori 


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) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-09-09
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J.
Contributor(s): Wake, D., Parra-Olea, G., Shaffer, H.B., Arias Caballero, P., Burkhardt, T. & Aguilar, X.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Sharp, D., Hobin, L. & Arias Caballero, P.
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is 16 km2, all individuals are in a single threat-defined location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in Laguna Alchichica.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Critically Endangered (CR)
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 and found at 2,290 m asl. It is known from a single threat-defined location and has an extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of 16 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Puebla)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 15.81
Number of Locations: 1
Lower 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. In June 2005 the species was found to be numerous among 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 most often found in very deep water, often more than 30 m below the surface. The population is suspected to be decreasing as a result of habitat loss.
Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The most serious threat is water extraction and diversion. In 2004 this was recorded as having caused the water level to decrease over the previous two decades, leading to the lake becoming more saline. This is an ongoing problem for Laguna Alchichica with extracted water being used to irrigate agricultural land and provide drinking water to the expanding human population (P.A. Caballero pers. comm. August 2015); and 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: Conservation Actions
It does not occur in any protected area, and the protection of the Laguna Alchichica is an urgent priority. This species is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico.

Conservation Needed

In addition, consideration should be given to establishing a captive-breeding programme.

Research Needed
Population monitoring is necessary to monitor the impact of known, ongoing threats.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.14. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
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

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. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

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: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Ambystoma taylori. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59070A53974679. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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