Friday, January 31, 2014

Axolotl extinct?

The axolotl, also known as the Mexican salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum) or Mexican walking fish is more colloquially known as Mexico's "water monster"– although it's hard to think of it as scary from images like the one above! The amphibian averages 9" (23 cm) in length, which easily fits in a zoo or research aquarium, but it is critically endangered in its only native habitat of the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals, which are suffering from pollution and urban sprawl. Scientists have created shelters of rocks and reeds to protect them from invasive species and pump in cleaner water, but they are disappearing at a rapid rate. Surveys by the Mexican Academy of Sciences found an average of 6,000 axolotls per square kilometer in 1998, 1,000 in 2003, and only 100 in 2008. Alarmed by the plummeting numbers, researchers plan to repeat the surveys during the axolotl's breeding season before they declare the animal extinct, but it may be only a matter of time. An attempt in 2013 by Mexico's National Autonomous University to net the creatures in the shallow, muddy waters of Xochimilco was described by biologist Armando Tovar Garza as "four months of sampling zero axolotls."

1 comment:

  1. my teacher dosent believe me that fish can walk 3thrd grade


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