This species is known only from one lake (Lago Zacapu) and its surrounding streams, in north-western Michoacan, Mexico, at 2,000 m asl. It has an extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of 19 km
Habitat and Ecology
This species is paedomorphic, and requires a clean, cool aquatic habitat. It is found only in Lago Zacapu and the spring-fed streams and canals associated with the lake. They do not metamorphose in nature, and individuals that have been artificially induced to metamorphose with thyroid hormone in the laboratory do not thrive. Their diet consists largely of snails and crawfish.
The species is uncommon and its population is probably declining.
The major threat to this species is the pollution of the lake due to surrounding agricultural and tourist activities, next to the lagoon and in conjunction with it is a new bathing area. The animals are also heavily harvested for food, and predatory fish have been introduced into the lake, which might well pose a major problem for the species.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Based on both allozymes and mtDNA, this is one of the more differentiated of the Mexican Ambystoma species; morphologically, it has evolved a superficially similar body plan to the distantly related A. dumerilii from Lago Pátzcuaro (H.B. Shaffer pers. comm.).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Ambystoma andersoni. In: IUCN 2014