Colorful, diverse, and important ecological indicators, amphibians require moist environments – though some live in the desert, underground! Amphibians include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. Toads, like the critically endangered Houston toad, tend to have drier skin and live more on land. Frogs, like the beautiful and brightly-colored poison dart frog, have smoother skin than toads and typically live in watery or damp habitats. Salamanders look a lot like lizards, though they are completely different: they have smooth skin (no scales). The name salamander comes from the Greek word for “fire lizard.” They can regenerate limbs that are lost – what a way to escape predators! Amphibian populations around the world have been declining at an alarming rate – this is an indicator both of their environment, which has changed due to habitat loss, pollution (including pesticides), and disease.
Endangered Species Spotlight