Lake Pátzcuaro, the third largest lake in Mexico, lies a little more than 200 miles west of Mexico City. As an endorheic basin, the lake does not drain into the sea—and it’s the sole home for a rare, unique species of salamander.
Locally known as “achoques,” the Lake Pátzcuaro salamander (Ambystoma dumerilii) is an amphibian that lives its entire life in freshwater. With gills that flare out when submersed, the salamander looks similar to the axolotl, a relative. It’s critically endangered, with rough estimates saying there are fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild.
“This could be extinct in the next 20 or 30 years,” Omar Domínguez, a conservation biologist at Morelia’s Michoacán University, writes