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Are all salamanders salamanders or are all salamanders axolotls?

Generally, there is confusion around the indiscriminate use of both terms (axolotl and salamander), probably the product of the ambivalent clash between colloquial speech and specialized language. It is common to think of Ambystoma mexicanum as the maximum representation of what an “axolotl” is and, on the contrary, to exclude Ambystoma velasci from this distinctive to identify it as a “salamander.” An attempt is made to dispel the conflict regarding the use of these terms. by drawing the line that separates everyday language from scientist.

To answer the couple of questions exposed in the topic, it is necessary to resort to Taxonomy, which is the branch of biological sciences that is responsible for the identification, naming, characterization and phylogenetic classification of all species of living beings, grouping them from the general to the particular within groups called taxa according to their common morphological, physiological, embryological, biochemical, genetic and spatial distribution characteristics.


Taxonomic classification of the Xochimilco Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Domain: Eukarya
Animalia Kingdom
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Anphibia
Order: Caudata / Urodela
Suborder: Salamandroidea
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus: Ambystoma
Species: Ambystoma mexicanum. (Shaw & Nodder 1798)

However, it is necessary to be clear in advance the difference of the names of colloquial use in contrast to the terms of scientific use, as mentioned above. While common names may vary regionally or temporally, scientific names tend not to change except for some re-adjustment in their taxonomic classification.

Colloquially, it is called „axolotl”, „axolotl”, „achoque”, etc … to the aquatic larval phase of amphibians of the Genus: Ambystoma or its neotenic species such as Ambystoma mexicanum, Ambystoma andersoni, Ambystoma dumerillii or Ambystoma taylori.

In contrast, the common name of „salamanders” is used to the adult terrestrial phase of several families belonging to the Order: Caudata / Urodela, which includes not only axolotls, but also a great diversity of newts and tlaconets. Therefore and to answer the question. Second question, not all salamanders are axolotls.Taxonomically speaking, regardless of whether Ambystoma sp. is in its larval state (aquatic) or in its adult state (terrestrial), it will not cease to be a Salamander since its species belongs to said suborder.


Convention of Biological Diversity, (2004). What is Taxonomy?

https://www.cbd.int/gti /taxonomy.shtml

Erika Servín Zamora, (2001). Manual of Maintenance in Captivity and Veterinary Medicine Applied to the Xochimilco Axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum at the Chapultepec Zoo. & Nbsp; UNAM.

Max Lambert, Molly Womack & amp; Rebecca Travin, & nbsp; (2020). Phylogeny, Taxonomy and Nomenclature. AmphibianWeb Team. https://amphibiaweb.org

Rogelio Aguilar Moreno and Rogelio Aguilar Aguilar, (2019). The mythical monster of the lake: The conservation of the Axolotl of Xochimilco. University Magazine Vol. 20 Num. 01.

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