This species is found in a small area around Tacicuaro, north-western Michoacan, to the west of Morelia City in Mexico. It occurs at about 2,000m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This is a metamorphosing species spending most of the time on land in a mosaic of natural grasslands and pine-oak forests. It requires ponds of moderate depth in which to breed, and is able to survive in somewhat modified landscapes, taking advantage of cattle ponds for larval development.
There is no information on current population status; there has been limited fieldwork carried out on this species since the early 1980s.
The desiccation, pollution, and conversion of former ponds, small reservoirs, and open habitats to grow crops, represent the main threats to this species, coupled with the urban expansion of Morelia and Uruapan. Introduced predatory fish are also a major concern, both in ponds and small streams.
It does not occur in any protected areas. The conservation and restoration of the natural habitats for this species is urgent, and new field surveys are required to assess the population status of this species. It might be possible to breed this species in captivity and reintroduce it in the wild. It is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico.
Based on mitochondrial DNA (Shaffer and McKnight 1996) and allozymes (Shaffer 1984a) this species is extremely closely related to several other populations from the Mesa Central, and species boundaries are in need of careful review.
Shaffer, H.B., Flores-Villela, O., Parra-Olea, G. & Wake, D. 2008. Ambystoma amblycephalum. In: IUCN 2014