WSMH FOX 66 on Facebook WSMH FOX 66 Twitter WSMH FOX 66 RSS Feed WSMH FOX 66 Mailing List
 

FOX 66 News at Ten

WSMH FOX 66 :: News - News at Ten - Mexico water monster may have disappeared
Mexico water monster may have disappeared



Story by MARK
STEVENSON  / AP







MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's salamander-like axolotl may have disappeared from
its only known natural habitat in Mexico City's few remaining lakes.



It's disturbing news for an admittedly ugly creature, which has a slimy tail,
plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile.



The axolotl is known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican
walking fish." Its 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 and urban
sprawl.



Biologist Armando Tovar Garza of Mexico's National Autonomous University said
Tuesday that the creature "is in serious risk of disappearing" from
the wild.



Describing an effort last year by researchers in skiffs to try to net axolotls
in the shallow, muddy waters of Xochimilco, Tovar Garza summed up the results
as "four months of sampling - zero axolotls."



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.



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 Xoxhimilco'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.



Tovar Garza said it is too early to declare the axolotl extinct in its natural
habitat. He said that in early February, researchers will begin a three-month
search in hopes of finding what may be the last free-roaming axolotl.



The searches "on almost all the canals have to be repeated, because now we
are in the cold season, with lower temperatures, and that is when we ought to
have more success with the axolotls, because it is when they breed," Tovar
Garza said.



Alarmed by the creature's falling numbers in recent years, researchers built
axolotl "shelters" in Xochimilco.



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 were
intended to help protect the axolotls from non-native carp and tilapia that
were introduced to the lake system years ago and compete with axolotls for
food.



 



Source: Associated Press



Mexico water monster may have disappeared

Thursday, January 30 2014, 10:57 AM EST

National News Headlines

Wisconsin team tries to defend national snow sculpting championship in Lake Geneva
A Wisconsin snow sculpting team that won the last two national championships is trying to defend its trophy in Lake Geneva.

Brandeis University president step down at end of school year, take job at Yale Law School
Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence will step down at the end of the current school year and take a job at Yale.

New York City pharmacist who tried to make ricin, weapons-grade toxins, sentenced to prison
A New York City pharmacist who admitted to trying to make weapons-grade ricin and other legal toxins has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison.

Attorney wants mistrial declared in Vanderbilt rape case, says juror did not disclose rape
An attorney for one of the ex-Vanderbilt University football players convicted of raping an unconscious fellow student says he will ask that a mistrial be declared after learning that a jury member was a rape victim.

Ohio reschedules executions for 7 death row inmates meaning no inmate put to death in 2015
The state has rescheduled executions for seven death row inmates as it tries to find new lethal drugs, meaning no inmate will be put to death in Ohio in 2015.

Ohio judge stays order to return seized tigers, other exotic animals to Ohio sanctuary owner
A judge's ruling ordering Ohio officials to return six tigers, a lion and other animals to their owner is on hold for now.

Chicago's retired Cardinal George says his doctors have run out of cancer treatment options
Retired Cardinal Francis George says his doctors have run out of options for his cancer treatment and he's exploring an approach to care that focuses on quality of life rather than a cure.

3rd man charged in alleged conspiracy to overthrow Gambian government
A third man has been charged in connection with last month's failed attempt to overthrow the government in the West African nation of Gambia.

Hong Kong businessman charged with damaging Montana house after getting drunk at wedding
A Hong Kong businessman is charged with breaking into a northwestern Montana home after getting drunk at a September wedding and causing extensive damage in a case a judge says "reads like a 'Hangover' movie." Court records say authorities responding to a report of a naked intruder found food strewn across the kitchen, urine-soaked formalwear in the living room, flooding from a damaged water line and Guneet Banga asleep in the bedroom.

6 teens accused of girl's sex assault at Denver-area party; she, some suspects are classmates
Six male teens have been accused of sexually assaulting a girl at a party in suburban Denver, police said Friday.

News at Ten Stories

Advertise with us!
IE6 Float Fix