SPECIES: Ambystoma granulosum
COMMON NAME: Granular Salamander
CITES: listed in Appendix II
IUCN RED LIST STATUS: CR or Critically Endangered
The Ambystomatid granulosa measure between 90 to 350mm from the snout to the end of the tail (Shaffer 1984). These mole salamanders are a medium to large in comparison with relative salamanders. According to (Shaffer 1984) granular salamanders are often boldly patterned, with well-developed costal grooves. They have a flattened body with a wide, flattened head, a large mouth and smooth skin with many glands (Shaffer 1984). The tail is slightly round or it can be laterally compressed (Shaffer 1984). Twelve costal grooves are clearly visible along either side of the body and they may also be traced across the abdomen of the species (Shaffer 1984). The limbs are relative to the body of the salamander, the fingers and toes are unwebbed and pointed (Shaffer 1984). The granular salamander is a greenish yellow to an olive brown in coloration and has an immense amount of small black spots across the dorsal surface of its body and tail (Shaffer 1984). It has a slightly paler yellowish to yellowish brown underside that is lacking any markings (Shaffer 1984). The skin of the dorsal surface is granular mainly along the tail (Shaffer 1984). Male A. Granulosa are often larger than females often due to their longer tails and slightly bulkier bodies (Shaffer 1984). Also during the breeding season males can be identified by a swollen cloacal zone (Shaffer 1984).
DISTRIBUTION and HABITAT: The A. granulosa is only found in a very small area in the north western territory of Toluca city in the central State of Mexico (Roelants, Gower, Wilkinson,Loader, Biju, Guillaume, Moiau, Bossuyt 2007). There are located in a small grassland at about 3000m above sea level. There grassland habitat is mainly terrestrial with some small natural ponds and a few artificial pools that are used in the rainy season for breeding (Roelants, Gower, Wilkinson,Loader, Biju, Guillaume, Moiau, Bossuyt 2007).
LIFE HISTORY: The granular salamander A. granulosa is a metamorphosing type of mole salamander. This means that all granular salamanders began as purely aquatic juvenile that metamorphose into a terrestrial adult that spends most of its time on land (Shaffer 1984). The granular salamander is rarely seen because it spends the majority of its life in burrows trying to retain water. However during their breeding season they are occasionally spotted as they migrate back to ponds to mate and store there eggs (Frost 2006). Once the salamander lays its eggs in the pond they are left to develop with no further participation by either parent (Shaffer 1984). The granular salamander matting season is usually in the spring months highly dependent upon the rainy pattern for ponds are necessary for this species to reproduce (Shaffer 1984).
The granular salamander is listed by the IUCN to be critically endangered. However there is no current information currently available on the granular salamander’s population status. It is thought to be in decline because there is continual decline in the quality and size of the salamanders current and only habitat (Frost 2006).