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

Air Force athletics official arrested in sex sting
Authorities say a top U.S. Air Force Academy official has resigned after being arrested in a prostitution sting.

159th Combat Aviation Brigade deactivated at Fort Campbell, 2,400 soldiers departing post
The Army says a 2,400-soldier combat aviation unit that recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan will be deactivated at Fort Campbell and its members sent elsewhere, as overseas wars wind down and the military continues to reorganize and downsize.

Sentencing delayed for man convicted in Florida of terrorism support; caught in online sting
Sentencing has been delayed for a man convicted in South Florida of supporting terrorists in an FBI sting in which an undercover operative posed as a financing middleman in Internet chats.

Va. assistant principal on leave after posting racial tweet that prompted student walk-out
A Virginia high school administrator is on leave after acknowledging that she retweeted an image that prompted a group of students to walk out of class in protest.

Former coal executive pleads not guilty in West Virginia mine explosion
Former coal company chief executive Don Blankenship has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in the deadliest U.S. coal mine accident in four decades.

Federal appeals court deflates Michigan prisoner's argument for using air mattress
A federal appeals court has deflated a Michigan prisoner's air mattress.

FSU gunman sent mystery mail to law school roommate before attack
The roommate of the law school student who shot three people on the campus of Florida State University before police killed him said he sent her a cryptic Facebook message a day before the rampage, telling her to expect something in the mail.

Man arrested after rape, severe burning of woman found in park near college campus in Kansas
A 26-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the rape and severe burning of a woman who was found in park near the Wichita State University campus in Kansas, police said Thursday.

1 dead, 2 critically injured in drug lab explosion that destroyed house in Southern California
Authorities say an illegal drug lab explosion has killed one person, critically injured two others and destroyed a tiny house in Southern California.

Recanted testimony likely to result in 3 Cleveland men convicted of 1975 murder to be cleared
The prosecutor's office in Cleveland has filed a motion dismissing aggravated murder cases against three men falsely accused of killing a businessman outside a corner store in 1975.

News at Ten Stories

Advertise with us!
IE6 Float Fix