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Posted Mon Nov 3 2008: from Associated Press:
Mexico City's 'water monster' nears extinction
MEXICO CITY-- Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster - and a Muppet - with its slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile. The axolotl, also known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish," was a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Against all odds, it survived until now amid Mexico City's urban sprawl in the polluted canals of Lake Xochimilco, now a Venice-style destination for revelers poled along by Mexican gondoliers, or trajineros, in brightly painted party boats. But scientists are racing to save the foot-long salamander from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat and deteriorating water quality. In what may be the final blow, nonnative fish introduced into the canals are eating its lunch - and its babies.
[Read more stories about: endangered list, toxic water]

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