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

Brother of woman killed in police shooting charged with threatening Cleveland officer on trial
The brother of an unarmed woman killed in a hail of police gunfire after a 2012 high-speed chase has been charged with disorderly conduct after reportedly making a death threat against the Cleveland officer standing trial for the shooting.

Stuck duck: Firefighters rescue large duck lodged in Louisiana fireplace
Firefighters in Louisiana have rescued a duck lodged in a fireplace.

Woman arrested at JFK, accused of hiding 4 pounds of cocaine in her girdle, underwear
Authorities quickly found out why an arriving passenger at John F.

Pope accepts resignation of US bishop who failed to report suspected abuser
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser, answering demands of victims to crackdown on bishops who covered up for pedophiles.

High school student who made marijuana brownies arrested after food sent students to hospital
A south Georgia high school student looking to celebrate an unofficial holiday with schoolmates has been arrested for marijuana brownies.

San Francisco could become largest city with a comprehensive wild animal performance ban
San Francisco is poised to ban performances using bears, lions, elephants and other wild animals and join dozens of other places that have similar prohibitions.

Lawyer of man who died after an encounter with Baltimore police suspects no cause for arrest
The lawyer for the family of Freddie Gray, a black man who died of injuries sustained during an arrest in Baltimore, says he believes the police had no reason to stop the man in the first place.

Utah woman gets maximum sentence in deaths of 6 newborns whose bodies were found in garage
Family members of a Utah woman sentenced to the maximum penalty Monday for killing six of her newborn babies said they were shocked at the grisly crimes from the woman they knew as a loving mother.

Apartment construction a booming business nationwide
When Jess Eymann moved to Denver fresh out of college she considered buying a condo but ultimately decided on renting an apartment instead. "There's just not a lot out there to buy, properties that I looked at weren't really what I was looking for," she said.

 


Muslim family says daughter left Alabama home to join ISIS
A spokesman for a Muslim couple in Alabama on Monday said their 20-year-old daughter fled a Birmingham suburb to join Islamic State militants in Syria after being recruited via the Internet.

News at Ten Stories

Advertise with us!
IE6 Float Fix