Ark of taste
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Achoque or achojki (Ambystoma dumerilli) is an endemic amphibian found in Lake Patzcuaro and nearby lakes in in Michoacan, Mexico. It has a soft and moist skin when it reaches maturity, while retaining the characteristics of the larval phase. It possesses the ability to reproduce without going through metamorphosis, and the ability to retain its larval stage during its entire life, unlike other amphibians such as frogs and toads that complete their metamorphosis. The achoque has an elongated body with a dorsal fin along the body, which allows it to easily move. It is 20 to 30 cm long in its adult state. Its color is usually light green with brownish, coffee colored blotches. Its eyes are extremely protected with circular ring that is brown in color, which in turn has another fine and small ring that is gold in color. The black pupil is within the gold ring.  

Because the achoque has a high protein content, it would traditionally be used in the preparation of broths, roasts, and tamales with corn leaves. It also is considered to have a medicinal use, where it is used for the treatment of respiratory diseases and asthma. It is also used as an energy booster for children and lactating women. The skin is boiled for approximately 20 minutes with other medicinal herbs that are useful for the desired treatment. By the mid-2010s, however, the population of this species had declined sharply, with only one or two achoques caught per month. They are increasingly rarely found sold at the markets of the region around the lake habitats in Michoacan, Mexico. Their risk of exctinction can be direcly related to habitat lost and pollution, as well as neglect from inhabitants of the region. The achoque and its habitat must be preserved to encourage a comeback for the future of the species, if the local culinary use of this animal is to continue in the future.

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Michoacán de Ocampo

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