The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store Donate

Axolotl Facing Extinction

This is a Press Information page entitled Axolotl Facing Extinction within the Press / News Items section of Caudata.org --- From the Discover News website Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster -- ...


Reply

 

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 13th November 2008   #1 (permalink)
Rae
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 1
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Rae is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Axolotl Facing Extinction

From the Discover News website

Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster -- and a Muppet -- with its slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile. The axolotl, also known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish," was a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Against all odds, it survived until now amid Mexico City's urban sprawl in the polluted canals of Lake Xochimilco, now a Venice-style destination for revelers poled along by Mexican gondoliers, or trajineros, in brightly painted party boats.


But scientists are racing to save the foot-long salamander from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat and deteriorating water quality. In what may be the final blow, nonnative fish introduced into the canals are eating its lunch -- and its babies.


http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/1...r-extinct.html

What can be done to prevent this happening?
Rae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2008   #2 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Kaysie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 14,460
Gallery Images: 45
Comments: 62
Rep: Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

They've been trying to prevent this for hundreds of years. People have been filling in, draining, and building on the lakes since the Aztecs. It's not like this is a new development.

It's always 'doomsday and brimstone' when it comes to the sensationalism media. Axolotls do NOT face extinction. They may become extinct in the wild, but so have many animals. Axolotls, however, have the distinct pleasure of making great pets. So there's no risk of them becoming extinct in the technical sense.

I would much prefer to see them focus their effort on critical habitat protection of Lake Chalco (the other lake it survives in), rather than restoration of already crappy habitat in the city. I suspect restoration is never going to come to fruition. The needs of the people living there are going to come before any critters. And if the people are just too poor to afford indoor plumbing and contained sewage systems, then there's really nothing they CAN do but continue to pour their sewage into the canals.
Kaysie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2008   #3 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
slowfoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 563
Gallery Images: 23
Comments: 0
Rep: slowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

It's true that our pet and lab axolotls will never disappear, but wild A. mexicanum are genetically distinct from the domesticated version. It would be a shame if they became extinct in the wild because we would lose something unique. I agree that the problem isn't new, though.
slowfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2008   #4 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Kaysie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 14,460
Gallery Images: 45
Comments: 62
Rep: Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11Kaysie goes to 11
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowfoot View Post
It's true that our pet and lab axolotls will never disappear, but wild A. mexicanum are genetically distinct from the domesticated version.
How so?
Kaysie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2008   #5 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
slowfoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 563
Gallery Images: 23
Comments: 0
Rep: slowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgslowfoot is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

The genetics controlling paedomorphosis are very different at least - pretty much everything else hasn't been studied. Here are the papers addressing that:

Using lab strains: Voss, S.R. & H.B. Shaffer. 1997. Adaptive evolution via a major gene effect: Paedomorphosis in the Mexican axolotl. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, 94(25): 14185-14189.

Later study using wild caught: Voss, S.R. & J.J. Smith. 2005. Evolution of salamander life cycles: A major-effect quantitative trait locus contributes to discrete and continuous variation for metamorphic timing. Genetics, 170(1): 275-281.

There's been really strong selection on the domesticated axolotl, plus outcrossing to tigers and inbreeding within lines. And I know it's just a silly personal observation, but they look different to me. This is the lab that I used to work in
slowfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2008   #6 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
fishkeeper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Age: 24
Posts: 563
Gallery Images: 2
Comments: 4
Rep: fishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgfishkeeper is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Yeah, I recall that axolotls were crossed with tigers to get the leucistic trait into them.

hmmm....you worked with truly wild A. mexicanum? I've always thought those would be cool to see side by side the domestic animals.
fishkeeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th November 2008   #7 (permalink)
Caudata.org Donor
 
mantighoul's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 508
Gallery Images: 19
Comments: 2
Rep: mantighoul has given consistently good advice and informationmantighoul has given consistently good advice and informationmantighoul has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

They posted a video on national geographic on Nov. 3 on this subject.
The segment it called: "water monster" nearly extinct?


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...-video-ap.html

I am starting to see/hear a lot about axolotl around lately. :)
mantighoul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th November 2008   #8 (permalink)
Site Contributor
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 434
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11caleb goes to 11
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Not sure if it's been posted here before, but there's some more info on axolotl conservation projects here:
http://www.kent.ac.uk/anthropology/d...ct/project.htm
caleb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th November 2008   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 60
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Tim S has started on the right path
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Caleb, Thanks for the post. I checked out the website. There was a reference to hybridization between A. tigrinum and Axolotls being a concern. Does anyone know if their usage of tigrinum is equivalent to velasci?
Tim S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2008   #10 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Posts: 18
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 6
Rep: axiebreeder103 has started on the right path
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

There will always be plenty of axolotl in captivity, and axolotl as pets are becoming more and more common,
axiebreeder103 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th December 2008   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Posts: 109
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: grunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Have you read the rest of the topic?

The things in captivity are not the same as in the wild (and in my opinion should be given a different name as they are not true pure Axolotl). Furthermore that there are animals in captivity does not make the possible extinction of wild Axolotls less tragic
grunsven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th December 2008   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 60
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Tim S has started on the right path
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Quote:
Originally Posted by grunsven View Post
Have you read the rest of the topic?

The things in captivity are not the same as in the wild (and in my opinion should be given a different name as they are not true pure Axolotl). Furthermore that there are animals in captivity does not make the possible extinction of wild Axolotls less tragic
I agree. It is a bit like saying, "We don't ever have to worry about Gallus Gallus or Cyprinus auratus ever going extinct in the wild because there are so many chickens and Goldfish in captivity."

Perhaps the domestic stocks of Axolotls should be given a subspecific name like domestica or familiaris.
Tim S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th December 2008   #13 (permalink)
Member
 
Kal El's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 27
Posts: 426
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Kal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Quote:
Originally Posted by grunsven
The things in captivity are not the same as in the wild (and in my opinion should be given a different name as they are not true pure Axolotl).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
I agree. It is a bit like saying, "We don't ever have to worry about Gallus Gallus or Cyprinus auratus ever going extinct in the wild because there are so many chickens and Goldfish in captivity."

Perhaps the domestic stocks of Axolotls should be given a subspecific name like domestica or familiaris.
How are these not pure axolotls though?

From my understanding, and based on the article* I read (vide infra), many of the common strains present today are either:

- Descendents of the original Paris stock that was imported 1864, and were highly inbred, or;
- Descendants from a stock that was imported from Mexico.

* Malacinski, G.M. 1978, 'The mexican axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: Its biology and development genetics, and its autonomous cell-lethal genes', American Zoologist, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 195-206

Jay.
__________________
The worst time to have a heart attack would be during a game of charades.
Kal El is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th December 2008   #14 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 539
Gallery Images: 24
Comments: 1
Rep: pete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgpete is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

They are axolotls, but have gone though years of genetic selection to live in laboratory or residential settings. The notion that wild and lab/home axolotls have notably different genetics is not farfetched. This can be seen in lab mice and rats compared to their wild counter parts and several other laboratory animals.

In the lab, Drosophila (Fruit flies) somewhere acquired a unique genetic transposable element (P element), which prevents them from mating with wild stocks. However, it has been extremely valuable for genetic research and these flies, which may have died if they had to reproduce in wild are have been indirectly selected for propagation in the lab.

In addition, the well-studied single-celled fungi, budding yeast in the wild has a genetic pathway that allows them to stick together, which is beneficial when growing on rotting fruit. However through unintentional laboratory selection for cells that do not aggregate, this genetic pathway was lost in lab strains.

Most definitely the use of axolotls in labs will alter them genetically from wild strains. Gone are the pressures of predation, finding a mate, finding food.... Enter pressures like non-seasonal reproduction, different color variations, regenerative capacities, cohabitation. Furthermore the fact that in order to isolate mutations and maintain genetic lines you have to do several rounds of inbreeding to isolate and purify the genes to define a "wild-type" or "mutant" makes it even more likely that selective pressures have occurred in the animal. So to the statement "How are these not pure axolotls?" The problem may be that they're too pure.
pete is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th December 2008   #15 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Posts: 109
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: grunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

This is a major factor indeed, but there has also been crossbreeding between Tigers and Axolotls.

So captive Axolotls are inbred, (unintentionally) selected for life in captivity and have got Tiger genes. So they are definitly not the same as the wild animals.
grunsven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th December 2008   #16 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 60
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Tim S has started on the right path
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

There is an interesting article featuring A. mexicanum's habitat, past and present. It is the last article in an old issue of "The Axolotl Newsletter", Issue Number 26, Fall 1997. It can be read at: http://bigapple.uky.edu/~axolotl/pdf/26.pdf .

Considering the change in the habitat, can we even say that the Axolotls collected in 1863 even exists today. From what I have read elsewhere, it sounds like it shares it's shrinking habitat with the Mexican Tiger Salamander. Whatever physical barriers there may have been in the past for interbreeding of these two species may be gone.
Tim S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2008   #17 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Posts: 18
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 6
Rep: axiebreeder103 has started on the right path
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

True, the axolotl may be slightly different from the original wild species, but i hardly think they are different enough to say that they are not true axolotl. In addition you can never be sure where someones Axolotl hail from. I know a breeder in Mexico who caught a dozen in the late 80's from Mexico, and has been selling their offspring's babies ever since, so although it would absolutely be a tragedy if they went extinct in the wild, it would be technically be correct to say that the same species still exists in captivity, thanks to enthusiasts like us XD
-Danny
axiebreeder103 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2008   #18 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Posts: 2
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Spitfire is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

One thing the Axolotl has going for it is that it's bred at such a large scale in captivity. Same goes for alot of fish species like Neon Tetras and Celestial Pearl Danios which are virtually extinct in the wild but captive numbers far out do any populations that their wild habitats could ever sustain...

It's just too bad most other Salamanders don't get such exposure in captivity; which would definitely help garner public awareness. This whole banning species, leaving them to the perils they face in the wild would only insure extinction. If government organizations or zoos are conducting breeding programs it'd be nice to know, but salamanders aren't the "Poster" species such as Polar Bears, Harp Seal pups, or Pandas. It'd be nice if Salamanders at least got the same attention as frogs do. If Hobbyist are encouraged to keep and breed various salamander species now only would it create public attention and awareness, but this would insure that even if wild populations fail to survive these next few year; there will always be captive populations alive to ensure the species lives on.
Spitfire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2008   #19 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Posts: 109
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: grunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and informationgrunsven has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

Currently the thread of collecting salamanders is much higher that the advantage of a captive stock as ex situ conservation.
In my opinion ex situ conservation is very poor conservation at best.
grunsven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2008   #20 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 24
Posts: 16
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: MinustheJimmy is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Axolotl Facing Extinction

all this talk just makes me sad
MinustheJimmy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ambystoma, ambystoma mexicanum, articles, axolotl, axolotl extinction, coverage, extinction, facing, information, media, mexicanum, news, newt, press, salamander

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads

Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Extirpation (in CC ambhib glossary) fishkeeper Glossary - Completed Words 3 18th January 2010 13:42
GBR Press: Newts facing virus threat wes_von_papinešu Press / News Items 1 28th April 2008 03:54
Her leg is facing the wrong way. Help. Samantha Sick Axolotl? 12 6th October 2007 09:50
Whole batch facing starvation jeff Newt and Salamander Help 7 11th September 2006 03:13
VNM Press: Tam Dao newt may evade extinction wes Press / News Items 6 2nd September 2006 19:57


All times are GMT. The time now is 00:27.