Amphibian Facts

When talking about frogs, toads or salamanders, you will probably have some questions. These are some basic facts about amphibians--frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians.
If you have further questions, check out the 'Frog'-quently Asked Questions or Expert Q&A

Did you know amphibians include...
frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians. The word means double life--many species spend part of their life in aquatic (water) and terrestrial (land) environments. Because their skin lacks a shell, scales or outer drier covering, most amphibians live in wet or damp situations to prevent dehydration.

Did you know metamorphosis is when...
various animals undergo major changes in their body appearance and structure as they grow. They undergo meta (change) in their morpho (form). For instance, frogs lay eggs which grow into tadpoles, which undergo a dramatic change into froglets and finally grow to be an adult frog. The key thing in metamorphosis is a rapid, drastic change in form, for example from the tadpole to the frog. Butterflies are another example of animals that undergo metamorphosis, from a caterpillar to a flying butterfly.

Did you know a bio-indicator is...
a living (bio means life) creature that is indicating or telling you something about the area that it lives in. It can be something positive (good) or negative (bad). For example, having lots of frogs in an area tells you and scientists that the environment is healthy and complete for the frogs. If for some reason frogs are suddenly missing from an area or their population is declining (shrinking), then this is telling you that their environment is changing. Sometimes bio-indicators can be used to show us that the quality of the air we breathe or water we drink may not be of a high quality.

Did you know frogs are good bio-indicators because...
1. they spend part of their life cycle on land and some in water
2. have a permeable skin (which allows substances to move relatively freely into its body) and
3. absorb and concentrate (make stronger) toxins (poisonous substances) in their fatty tissues

Did you know amphibians have been around for...
an estimated 350 million years. The earliest known frog appeared about 190 million years ago, during what is known as the late Jurassic period.

Did you know...

  • the earliest known frog appeared during the late Jurassic period, about 190 million years ago
  • some frogs have claws, like the African clawed toad
  • there are toads that obtain over half the water they need through a baggy patch on their pelvis that they press against moist surfaces
  • the Mascarene frog holds the record for leaping..17.5 feet in a single jump
  • a hibernating frog needs so little oxygen that it breathes through its skin- this process is called cutaneous gas exchange
  • during extensive periods of heat or drought, frogs can enter a period of dormancy similar to hibernation called estivation

Check out our 'Frog'-quently Asked Questions section for more information. For some other strange and interesting information on amphibians, check out this web site.

Choose from these other areas:

MN Frogs and Toads
Global Amphibian Declines
Malformed Amphibians
MN Frog Watch
Surveying Populations
Malformed Amphibian Photos
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