This species is endemic to Laguna Alchichica, a saline crater lake in eastern Puebla, eastern-central Mexico and found at 2,290 m asl. It is known from a single threat-defined location and has an extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of 16 km
Habitat and Ecology
It usually does not metamorphose, and most individuals live permanently in water. It breeds in the lake, and is most often found in very deep water, often more than 30 m below the surface. The population is suspected to be decreasing as a result of habitat loss.
It is a rare species, having formerly been quite common. In June 2005 the species was found to be numerous among the deeper edges of the Tufa outcrops at the lake's edge (T. Burkhardt pers. comm. 2006).
The most serious threat is water extraction and diversion. In 2004 this was recorded as having caused the water level to decrease over the previous two decades, leading to the lake becoming more saline. This is an ongoing problem for Laguna Alchichica with extracted water being used to irrigate agricultural land and provide drinking water to the expanding human population (P.A. Caballero pers. comm. August 2015); and continued transformation and pollution of the lake will result in the disappearance of this species. Attempts to introduce fish in the lake have failed because it is too saline.
Based on both allozymes and mtDNA, this is a very distinctive salamander (H.B. Shaffer pers. comm.). The Ambystoma salamanders occurring in other natural lakes around Alchichica are not closely related to this species.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Ambystoma taylori. In: IUCN 2014