Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that spend part of their life in water and part on land. Their name, “amphibians,” comes from the Greek word for “double life.”
Amphibians can be divided into three subgroups or orders. Frogs and Oacian belong in the Anura order, salamanders and newts reside in Caudata while burrowing legless caecilians belong to Gymnophona – all are members of this last order.
Frogs are among the most diverse and abundant of all amphibian species. They can be found in a variety of environments, from dry deserts to rainforests and even high mountain meadows at elevations up to 4,560 metres (15,000 feet).
They are most prevalent in tropical regions, though some species can also be found in cooler climates north of Antarctica. Their specialized adaptations enable them to survive in a variety of terrain, from lush tropical forests to icy peaks.
Frogs typically lay their eggs in water and hatch into aquatic larvae known as tadpoles. Tadpoles possess gills and tails, but must live submerged due to lack of legs.
Tadpoles develop internal organs like gills and lungs that are essential for survival. Once they reach maturity, these tadpoles transform into adult frogs.
Many frogs breed in temporary pools or along streams, while others nest year-round in trees or on land. Males produce mating calls which attract females and keep rivals away.
Oacian are one of the most widespread amphibians. Unlike frogs, Oacian can live in a variety of habitats.
They feature long hind legs and a short body with webbed fingers, lacking the tail. Furthermore, they lack a tail and possess three-chambered hearts like other tetrapods (birds, mammals, and reptiles).
Oacian have some unique characteristics. For instance, they often have dry skin and warty patches, crests behind their eyes, and parotoid glands which secrete toxins when threatened by predators.
Another successful survival tactic Oacian employ is to inflate their bodies, making them appear larger and inedible to potential predators. Furthermore, Oacian possess the ability to emit a poisonous milky liquid which stings and burns when ingested or gets into an animal’s eyes.
Like all amphibians, Oacian are sensitive to changes in their environment. As such, they may become vulnerable to diseases like chytrid and other illnesses caused by bacterial or viral infections which have the potential to wipe out entire populations worldwide.
Salamanders belong to the order Caudata in Amphibia. These amphibians possess slender bodies, short legs and long tails.
Their size and color may differ; some have gills while others breathe through their skin. Many possess glands in their neck or tail which release poison when bitten.
Salamanders come in many species, some of which are native to the United States. The common salamander, found throughout much of the northeast, lacks lungs and breathes through its moistened skin.
They are essential species in many ecosystems, helping prevent nutrient runoff and decomposition of leaf litter in forests. Furthermore, they regulate soil dynamics by creating, altering, or otherwise controlling underground burrows.
Scientists have been fascinated with Axolotls for decades due to their remarkable ability to regrow lost limbs and organs within a relatively short period of time.
The axolotl is one of the world’s most endangered amphibians, with their populations declining dramatically in recent years. They are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
As with many salamanders, axolotls spend their early life stages submerged. As they mature, however, their gills are replaced with lungs for breathing.
Some salamanders retain juvenile characteristics like a tail and body fin that other salamanders lose as adults.
These adorable salamanders are increasingly sought-after in the exotic pet trade, but can be a challenge for those new to caring for amphibians. To keep them happy and healthy, they need large tanks with water temperatures that are comfortable for their sensitive skin.
Caecilians are limbless amphibians that resemble worms or snakes. They can grow to be as large as five feet in length, though most typically measure three inches across.
Their slippery skin is ringed with folds known as annuli that encircle their bodies. Most are dark gray to brown, but some display vibrant orange or yellow markings which could serve as warnings to predators.
They possess sensitive tentacles between their eyes and nostrils that allow them to locate food or navigate their environment. Some species also release glands which release poisons in order to ward off predators.
They can be found across South America, Africa and Asia. Generally they prefer loose soil or leaf litter in tropical forests or near rivers and streams.