Amphibians have been on the planet for approximately 300 million years. These are intriguing species that contribute to biodiversity balance and the ecosystem’s health, but sadly the number of Endangered Amphibians is increasing.
Amphibians are predators and prey; they consume pest insects, which aids in farming and helps prevent disease transmission.
There are around 8,000 species of Amphibians worldwide. Amphibians include newts, salamanders, caecilians, and frogs. However, over 120 species are believed to have vanished, and more are on the verge of extinction in the last several decades.
Since the 1950s, the populations of amphibians have dropped substantially worldwide, including in national parks and forests. This widespread decrease of amphibians results from human-induced factors from logging, urban development, and changes in their habitat. One in every three amphibians is now threatened with extinction.
If you’re curious about which amphibians are endangered, here is a list of 10 amphibians that are endangered.
Table of Contents
List of Endangered Amphibians
1. Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sierrae
It is a yellow-legged frog that was once one of the most common frog species in California and Nevada. Today, the Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog is threatened with extinction. From above, it seems to be yellowish or reddish-brown with black or brown patches or lichen-like markings.
They are highly aquatic and are constantly seen within a meter or two of the water’s edge.
It has vanished from over 90% of the lakes it formerly called home. The frog is primarily found in the Sierra Nevada’s lustrous mountains.
The Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog was listed as an endangered species due to a lethal fungus spread throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains.
This fungus is called chytrid, and it is an infectious sickness that affects up to 100 amphibians on a global scale. It has wiped out the frog population in recent years.
Pesticides derived from the Central Valley of California also contribute to the species’ decline. The chemicals carried by the wind collect in the high mountains and are finally drawn towards the lakes and streams where the frogs live, breed, and raise toads.
To add to the struggles of this frog species were the non-native trout, a freshwater fish. It has been put into the frog’s normally fishless alpine lakes.
These invasive fishes are opportunistic feeders of tadpoles and have the potential to wipe out entire frog populations.
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2. California Red-Legged Frog
Scientific Name: Rana draytonii
California red-legged frogs are among the most prominent native amphibians found in the western United States, primarily in California. Despite their substantial size, the fascinating frog species have been eliminated from more than 70% of their previous habitat and are now classified as endangered.
Its reddish-brown identifies it to salmon pink hues. Additionally, they have dark tiger stripes on their legs and a robust garlicky stench when closed to the frog or handled. Although huge females are capable of collecting and eating prey. The frogs’ main diet consists of invertebrates as big as mice and smaller frogs.
During mating, males use a low, burbling and laughing sound to entice females to mate and meandering streams. The California red-legged frog can lay approximately 2,000 eggs.
Causes of decline California red-legged frogs wreaked havoc on their habitats. Invasive predators, including mosquitofish, bullfrogs, as well as crayfish, are increasing in number. Contamination of their freshwater environments was one of the factors that contributed to this frog species’ difficulty to live and raise toads.
Contamination of their freshwater environments was one of the factors that contributed to this frog species’ difficulty to live and raise toads.
California’s community and government are working to protect these frogs and other native amphibians by safeguarding wetlands.
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3. Chiricahua Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana chiricauhensis
Chiricahua leopard frogs are a fascinating species with generally green skin, black, leopard-like patterning, and golden eyes. It is often found in places in the northern part of Mexico and the southwestern United States. Sadly, it is now part of the endangered amphibians.
In the 1990s, a chytrid fungus was found to be responsible for a considerable number of dead frog species. It is also the reason for the high fatality rate of frogs in 8 different locations around Arizona.
It is the same fungus that endangered the Yellow-Legged Frog of the Sierra Nevada and other amphibians. Apart from the chytrid fungus, people have also contributed to the demise of this intriguing frog species.
For years, about 100 million amphibians have been transported across continents to be used as food, pet, and used as bait. Other amphibians are also shipped for laboratory industries.
These animals were shipped without a bit of disease testing or quarantine. Sick frogs infect natural populations, particularly Chiricahua leopard frogs.
Genetic evidence reveals that the Chiricahua leopard frog species also include the Ramsey Canyon frog, a group of frogs native to southern Arizona notable for their underwater calling ability.
Another genetically separate population of Chiricahua frogs lives in central Arizona. They have nearly vanished from their native area.
They are now being produced in captivity by conservation centers and groups dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of Chiricahua leopard frogs.
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4. Dusky Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sevosa
Dusky gopher frogs are giant gray frog’s native to the southeastern United States. Historically, it ranged across a large portion of eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southwest Alabama.
The frog species has been extirpated from nearly all of its habitats and is now found only in breeding ponds and protected areas in southern Mississippi. Due to the fall in its population, this frog is classified as an endangered species.
It got its name “gopher frog” relates to these frogs’ reliance on gopher tortoises’ burrowing, which they spend the majority of their existence aside when looking for prey or sustenance.
One of the reasons that such unique frog species are on the verge of extinction is because the tortoises that dig burrows are also on the brink of extinction.
Because of this, Dusky gopher frogs have difficulty locating these burrows, which they consider to be their home.
In addition, the fishes prey on their eggs and tadpoles, making it difficult to raise and increase their numbers.
Humans also endanger gopher frogs by draining most ponds where these frogs lay eggs, changing the water in the pond, and introducing fish into the pond.
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Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum
The axolotl is a wonderfully fascinating salamander and amphibian, but unfortunately, it is currently considered one of the world’s endangered amphibians.
It possesses a unique characteristic in that it retains its larval characteristics throughout the adult years, including retaining its tadpole-like dorsal fin.
Most of the time, it is black in hue with greenish mottling, with some individuals having silvery flashes on their skin. Axolotls have a big heads with fluffy gills that wave gently in the water, which gives them their distinctive appearance.
This species is further distinguished by its external gills, which extend from the back of its broadhead.
Xochimilco Lake Complex in Mexico City is the only place where you can find this species. Axolotls are distinct from most salamanders in that they spend their whole lives submerged in water. In addition to living for up to 15 years, they are a carnivore that feeds primarily on crustaceans, larvae, mollusks, and other worms.
The primary dangers to this species ‘ lake habitat are the primary dangers to this species ‘ survival are the introduction of enormous fish into this species’ lake habitat and the draining and polluting of most of their habitat’s water system.
In addition, predatory birds such as herons where they face challenges from the environment. Axolotl populations are also declining in Mexico, where some are regarded delicacies, and as a result, they have been designated as critically endangered species.
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6. Chinese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias davidianus
This amphibian has been designated the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) amphibian in most need of protection and conservation. This particular salamander species is highly expert at camouflaging itself against the rocky river bottoms it lives. Its color is a mottled grayish or greenish with brown highlights.
It also has a long, thick physique with four short legs, a pointy head with small eyes hidden behind its nose.
China’s giant salamander, which is critically endangered, is the world’s largest living amphibian, growing to proportions of more than 1.8 meters.
According to the fossil record, it belonged to a small and ancient group of salamanders that separated from their closest living relatives at the time where there were still dinosaurs more than 170 million years ago and lived in China.
In addition to overharvesting for human food, one of the reasons why this species is at risk of extinction is habitat loss. Salamander farming has been pushed in China, and it is now a significant source of income in various regions of the country.
It is also believed that salamanders are being removed from the wild and grown for consumption as a premium piece of food. This over-harvesting is having a devastating effect on natural populations.
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7. Arroyo Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo californicus
The arroyo toad, which ranges in hue from greenish-grey to olive or tan, is a sturdy small frog with a flattened face resembling a pug. The Arroyo Toad is a magnificent frog, but its population is dwindling.
Due to the toad’s highly specialized ecological requirements are only found in southern California and Mexico’s Baja California.
Unfortunately, the arroyo toad is on the verge of extinction due to invasive plants and animals, loss of habitat, habitat contamination, and running dry streams due to climate change.
To breed effectively, the arroyo toad needs rivers with low flow or stream during the springtime mating season, but the challenges posed by human-raised toads make this more difficult.
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8. Oregon Spotted Frog
Scientific Name: Rana pretiosa
Oregon spotted frog is a very aquatic species that have evolved to live in warm water, and it is currently listed as a vulnerable species under the Endangered Species Act.
It is the Pacific Northwest’s most aquatic native frog, with habitats that include lakes, ponds, marshes, and riverine sloughs. This species is found in Canada, southwestern British Columbia, and Oregon’s Klamath Valley.
The black spots dotted and covered from the head to the back, sides, and the species legs give it its name.
Oregon spotted frogs are similarly vulnerable to changes in the aquatic environment due to their activities and habits of depositing their eggs in the shallow water.
Because changing aquatic habitats frequently favors warm-water predators, these predators often the frog’s eggs and hinder the growth of this species population. This is an explanation for the fall in the population of this frog species.
Apart from the influence of humans, invasive plants such as a yellow flag and reed canarygrass affect the population and survival of these frogs.
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9. Flatwoods Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma cingulatum
Flatwoods Salamanders and their two subspecies, Frosted and Reticulated Flatwoods Salamanders, were now classified as endangered amphibians. Its base hue is black or dark gray, with white or silver reticulations.
From the top of their snout to the tip of their tail, they may have spots or stripes.
The salamander population is declining due to the loss and deterioration of ponds and habitats in which it lives and breeds.
Climate change, where increasing sea levels and the threat of drought threatens to annihilate these amphibians. Logging and invasive plants can pose a threat to the Flatwoods Salamander’s population expansion.
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10. Amargosa Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo nelsoni
The intriguing amphibian Amargosa toad is primarily located in Oasis Valley in or around Beatty, Nevada. This species lives and reproduces along a 10-mile length of the Amargosa River and surrounding springs.
In this highly dry region with an average annual rainfall of four to six inches, the toad’s existence is highly dependent on ponds fed by springs. This frog species can be identified by its light coloration and a mid-dorsal stripe running along its backbone.
The Amargosa toad population is dwindling and is on the verge of extinction due to human-induced conditions.
Water diversion and use, as well as habitat loss, are severe threats to the toad. Non-native predators such as bullfrogs and crayfish also contribute to this amphibian’s decline in population size.