Axolotl, Endangered 'Water Monster,' Sighted In Mexico After Fears Of Disappearance

pete

New member
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
550
Reaction score
27
Points
0
Location
CA
Country
United States
Display Name
Pete
Axolotl, Endangered 'Water Monster,' Sighted In Mexico After Fears Of Disappearance

Axolotl, Endangered 'Water Monster,' Sighted In Mexico After Fears Of Disappearance

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's salamander-like axolotl apparently hasn't disappeared from its only known natural habitat in Mexico City's few remaining lakes.

Researchers say they have sighted, but not caught, two of the slippery little creatures during a second effort to find them.

A weekslong effort last year by researchers in skiffs trying to net axolotls in the shallow, muddy waters of Xochimilco lake found none, raising fears that they might only now survive in captivity.

But biologist Armando Tovar Garza of Mexico's National Autonomous University said Friday that members of the team carrying out the search had seen two axolotls during the first three weeks of a second survey expected to conclude in April.

"We weren't able to capture them ... because the behavior of the axolotl makes them very difficult to capture," Tovar Garza said. "We haven't had any captures, but we have had two sightings. That's important, because it tells us we still have a chance."

The axolotl, admittedly ugly with a slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile, is known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish." It's only natural habitat is the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals — the "floating gardens" of earth piled on reed mats that the Aztecs built to grow crops but are now suffering from pollution, urban sprawl and invasive species.

The creature is import in scientific research because of its ability to regenerate severed limbs.

Some axolotls still survive in aquariums, water tanks and research labs, but experts said those conditions aren't the best, because of interbreeding and other risks. Releasing captive-bred axolotls into the wild could spread a fungus infection that is fatal to them and could reduce their genetic diversity. Tovar Garza said some small mutations, possibly the result of interbreeding, have already been seen.

Alarmed by the creature's falling numbers in recent years, researchers built axolotl "shelters" in Xochimilco to help them breed in the cleanest part of their remaining habitat.

Sacks of rocks and reedy plants act as filters around a selected area, and cleaner water is pumped in, to create better conditions. The shelters also include permeable cages and other devices intended to help protect axolotls from non-native carp and tilapia that were introduced to the lake system years ago and compete with axolotls for food.

Growing up to a foot long (30 centimeters), axolotls use four stubby legs to drag themselves along the bottom or thick tails to swim in Xochimilco's murky channels while feeding on aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans. But the surrounding garden-islands have increasingly been converted to illicit shantytowns, with untreated sewage often running off into the water.

The Mexican Academy of Sciences said in a statement that a 1998 survey found an average of 6,000 axolotls per square kilometer, a figure that dropped to 1,000 in a 2003 study and 100 in a 2008 survey.
 

Sweetie

New member
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Messages
367
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Country
Australia
Omigod. From 6000 to 100 in a decade? So so sad. I doubt the hardy couple seen by this research team will manage to kick-start a resurgence.
 

Agonzalez

New member
Joined
Aug 30, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Commerce, Texas
Country
United States
I really hope that the researchers efforts will be successful in creating a sustainable population in their natural habitat.
 

secondriley

New member
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
North Carolina
Country
United States
Im glad a few were seen in their native habitats hopefully one day something will be done for these beautiful creatures.
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • Lonewolf:
    Ok I’m new so I have a pink Axolotl and it’s a baby like two three max inches and it eats from the top and it has now been floating a while now should I be worried ?? The other one is at the bottom of the tank and the tail isint hoocked or the gills aren’t curved flowerd they seem relaxed
    +1
    Unlike
  • Lonewolf:
    ?? I’m new owner to the type of fish
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    Lonewolf has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
    +2
    Unlike
  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    Anyone here from DMV?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated :)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    @patrickstar116, do you still have your fire salamanders?
    +1
    Unlike
  • patrickstar116:
    @Ganaa, I do you may message me if you wish
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    hi.....
    +1
    Unlike
  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
    +1
    Unlike
    AlexisJG: Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master... +1
    Top