RE: NANFA--Off Topic: Ambystoma tigrinum

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Thu, 5 Jul 2001 18:11:14 -0500

Thanks, everyone, for comments, observations, etc.

Re cost - Last year I ordered some through my local LFS; they retailed for
approx $6. I wondered whether the higher cost we recently saw had something
to do with them being "trendy" now.

Re collecting techniques - Ray is correct that Ambystoma larvae may not be
quickly (and cost-effectively) harvested in swampy habitats and that they
can be easily seined in others such as farm ponds. They can also be easily
collected in playas. And I have found that they are extremely susceptible
to certain trapping techniques. My concerns about collecting is that
fragile populations could be impacted even by small-scale, but intensive,
collecting activities. Conversely, local populations could be threatened by
releases of non-native forms.

Re marketing techniques - Dena and I were wondering whether the Ambystoma
kiosk at the mall was an isolated case or part of a growing
regional/national trend to market salamanders to the general public (a
substantially larger market than herp hobbyists). It does not take long for
pet trends to become established. Consider how quickly the market for
terrestrial hermit crabs took off in the late 70s. In view of the pervasive
long-term declines in amphibian populations, even a short-lived fad for
long-lived, environmentally sensitive animals like tiger salamanders could
have significant impacts.

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