The young generally undergo metamorphosis from larva with gills to an adult air-breathing form with lungs. Amphibians use their skin as a secondary respiratory surface and some small terrestrial salamanders and frogs lack lungs and rely entirely on their skin. They are superficially similar to reptiles like lizards but, along with mammals and birds, reptiles are amniotes and do not require water bodies in which to breed. With their complex reproductive needs and permeable skins, amphibians are often ecological indicators; in recent decades there has been a dramatic decline in amphibian populations for many species around the globe.
The earliest amphibians evolved in the Devonian period from sarcopterygian fish with lungs and bony-limbed fins, features that were helpful in adapting to dry land. They diversified and became dominant during the Carboniferous and Permian periods, but were later displaced by reptiles and other vertebrates. The origin of modern amphibians belonging to Lissamphibia, which first appeared during the Early Triassic, around 250 million years ago, has long been contentious. However the emerging consensus is that they likely originated from temnospondyls, the most diverse group of prehistoric amphibians, during the Permian period. (Full article...)
This suborder is the most advanced and apomorphic of the three anuran suborders alive today, hence its name, which literally means "new frogs" (from the hellenic words neo, meaning "new" and batrachia, meaning "frogs"). It is also by far the largest of the three; its more than 5,000 different species make up over 96% of all living anurans.
Ambystomatidae is a family of salamanders belonging to the order Caudata in the class Amphibia. It contains two genera, Ambystoma (the mole salamanders) and Dicamptodon (the Pacific giant salamanders). Ambystoma contains 32 species and are distributed widely across North America, while Dicamptodon contains four species restricted to the Pacific Northwest. These salamanders are mostly terrestrial and eat invertebrates, although some species are known to eat smaller salamanders. They can be found throughout the US and some areas of Canada in damp forests or plains. This family contains some of the largest terrestrial salamanders in the world, the tiger salamander and the coastal giant salamander. Some species are toxic and can secrete poison from their bodies as protection against predators or infraspecific competition. Neoteny has been observed in several species in Ambystomatidae, and some of them like the axolotl live all of their lives under water in their larval stage. (Full article...)
An adult frog has a stout body, protruding eyes, anteriorly-attached tongue, limbs folded underneath, and no tail (the tail of tailed frogs is an extension of the male cloaca). Frogs have glandular skin, with secretions ranging from distasteful to toxic. Their skin varies in colour from well-camouflaged dappled brown, grey and green to vivid patterns of bright red or yellow and black to show toxicity and ward off predators. Adult frogs live in fresh water and on dry land; some species are adapted for living underground or in trees.
Frogs typically lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae called tadpoles that have tails and internal gills. They have highly specialized rasping mouth parts suitable for herbivorous, omnivorous or planktivorous diets. The life cycle is completed when they metamorphose into adults. A few species deposit eggs on land or bypass the tadpole stage. Adult frogs generally have a carnivorous diet consisting of small invertebrates, but omnivorous species exist and a few feed on plant matter. Frog skin has a rich microbiome which is important to their health. Frogs are extremely efficient at converting what they eat into body mass. They are an important food source for predators and part of the food web dynamics of many of the world's ecosystems. The skin is semi-permeable, making them susceptible to dehydration, so they either live in moist places or have special adaptations to deal with dry habitats. Frogs produce a wide range of vocalizations, particularly in their breeding season, and exhibit many different kinds of complex behaviors to attract mates, to fend off predators and to generally survive. (Full article...)
The marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) is a species of true frog and the largest frog native to Europe; females of this sexually dimorphic species may be up to 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long. The marsh frog feeds mainly on insects, but it also eats smaller amphibians, fish, and rodents.
Wallace's flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) is a moss frog found in tropical southeastern Asia. It is named after the British naturalist Alfred R. Wallace, who collected the first known specimen of the species. It lives almost exclusively in trees, and when threatened, or in search of prey, will leap from a branch and splay its four webbed feet; the membranes between its toes and the loose skin flaps on its sides catch the air as it falls, helping it to glide. This individual was photographed in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand.
Native to Australia, White's Tree Frog grows up to 10 centimetres in length and is a popular household pet. In captivity, they have an average lifespan of 16 years. Its skin secretions contain caerins, a group of peptides with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Other peptides have been found to destroy HIV without harming healthy T-cells.
The Eastern American Toad (Bufo americanus americanus) is a common subspecies of toad found throughout the eastern United States and Canada. It typically grows to 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in), with varying skin color and pattern depending on its environment. Its skin secretes bufotoxin, which is mildly poisonous to humans.
The common frog (Rana temporaria) is found throughout much of Europe. Adults have a body length of 6 to 9 cm (2.4 to 3.5 in) and vary in colour, with the ability to lighten and darken their skin to match their surroundings. They will feed on any invertebrate of a suitable size and, apart from the breeding season, live solitary lives.
The Blue Mountains Tree Frog (Litoria citropa) is a moderate-sized species of tree frog, up to about 60 mm (2.4 in) in length. It is native to coastal and highland areas of eastern Australia, especially in the Blue Mountains, hence its name.
The edible frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) is a fertile hybrid of the pool and marsh frogs which is commonly found in Europe. The species is commonly used in food, including the French delicacy frog legs.
A frog is an amphibian characterized by long hind legs, a short body, webbed digits, protruding eyes and the absence of a tail. Frogs are most noticeable through their call, which can be widely heard during the mating season. It is estimated that up to 20% of amphibian species may care for their young in one way or another, and there is a great diversity of parental behaviours. For example, frogs in the Gastrotheca genus (upper left) carry their eggs in a pouch, and females of the Eleutherodactylus lineatus species (center left) carry their young on their back.
A female limosa harlequin frog (Atelopus limosus) in Panama. This endangered species of toad in the family Bufonidae inhabits stream banks in tropical moist lowland forests and rivers of the Chagres watershed. It is found in two colour forms, one in lowlands and one in uplands.
A specimen from the "hybrid zone" of the Leaf Green Tree Frog (Litoria phyllochroa) and the Southern Leaf Green Tree Frog (L. nudidigitus), showing physical characteristics of both species. These small stream-dwelling frogs (averaging only 40mm in length), are native to eastern Australia and occur together south of Sydney. The two species are differentiated only by distribution, call and slight differences in flank markings.
The fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is a European salamander species with a long lifespan. These nocturnal animals generally eat various insects, spiders, earthworms and slugs, but they also occasionally eat newts and young frogs.
Raorchestes parvulus is a small bush frog native to tropical southeastern Asia. Although the reproductive strategy of this species has not been studied, members of the family typically make a foam nest while mating in vegetation overhanging a stream. They create the foam by beating their legs, and the eggs are deposited into the nest and covered with seminal fluid before the foam hardens into a protective casing. When the eggs hatch, the young push their way out of the nest and fall into the water below.
Chikilidae is a family of Indian caecilians, the 10th and most recent (2012) family of caecilians (legless amphibians) to be identified, although the type species, Chikila fulleri (formerly Herpele fulleri) was first described in 1904. The discovery that this was a separate lineage resulted from genetic analyses of specimens collected during about 250 soil-digging expeditions over five years that covered every Northeast Indian state. A team of biologists led by University of DelhiherpetologistSathyabhama Das Biju described the family as representing as many as seven species apparently endemic to the region. In September 2012, some of these species were also found in Lawachara National Park in the Sylhet region of northeastern Bangladesh. The family's lineage is believed to have originated in Africa, where their closest living relatives are found.
Chikilids grow to about 4 in (10 cm) in length. They have very limited eyesight and skulls adapted for burrowing. Their eggs hatch into adult caecilians, with no larval stage in between. The mothers stay wrapped around their developing eggs for two to three months, apparently not eating at all during this period.