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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to Laguna Alchichica, a saline crater lake in eastern Puebla, eastern-central Mexico, at 2,290m asl.
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Source: IUCN

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Physical Description

Type Information

Paratype; Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 134277
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1942
Locality: Lake Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
  • Paratype: Taylor, E. H. 1943. Copeia. 1943 (3): 152.; Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype; Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 116702
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1940
Locality: Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.; Paratype: Taylor, E. H. 1943. Copeia. 1943 (3): 152.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype; Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 116703
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1942
Locality: Lake Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.; Paratype: Taylor, E. H. 1943. Copeia. 1943 (3): 152.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype; Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 116704
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1942
Locality: Lake Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.; Paratype: Taylor, E. H. 1943. Copeia. 1943 (3): 152.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336896
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336895
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336894
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336893
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336892
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336891
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336890
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336889
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336888
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336887
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336886
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336885
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336884
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Ambystoma taylori
Catalog Number: USNM 336883
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1970
Locality: Laguna Alchichica, Puebla, Mexico
Elevation (m): 2345 to 2345
  • Paratype: Brandon, R. A., et al. 1981. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 80 (3): 116, figures 3A-B, 4, 5.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

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
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

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)

Contributor/s

Justification
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.

History
  • 2004
    Critically Endangered
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Population

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).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
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.
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Management

Conservation Actions

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.
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Wikipedia

Taylor's salamander

Taylor's salamander, Ambystoma taylori, is a neotenic salamander species found only in Laguna Alchichica, a high-altitude crater lake 24 miles southwest of Perote, Puebla, Mexico. It was described in 1982 by Brandon, Maruska, and Rumph, and named for Edward Harrison Taylor. However, the species had been known to science long before then. Taylor himself attempted to describe the species as Ambystoma subsalsum in 1943, but mistakenly used a Mexican or plateau tiger salamander as the holotype. This rendered the name invalid, and made it into a synonym for the tiger salamander. James Anderson extensively catalogued "A. subsalsum" in his 1960's field work, applying the name to actual population that now comprises A. taylori.

The salamander is moderately sized, with a typical length of 6-8 in. It is a neotenic species, which means it retains its caudal fin and external gills into adulthood, never undergoing complete metamorphosis. It is entirely aquatic, breeding and laying its eggs in the same lake where it lives. Taylor's salamanders are yellowish in color, with dark spots along their dorsal sides. They have relatively short, thick external gill stalks. Their heads are quite large, and their limbs are underdeveloped, as in most Ambystoma neotenes. They feed by buccal suction, and basically eat anything that fits into their mouths.

Habitat[edit]

The A. taylori habitat in Lake Alchichica is extremely salty, with a salinity reading of 2000-5000. It is also very alkaline, with a pH of 8.5-10. The lake's water has a temperature range of 18-21°C. The salamanders typically hide below the water line, under overhangs in the crater's edge.

Not much is known about its present status or numbers.

References[edit]

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