Amphibians of the northern Great Plains

By: , and 
Edited by: M.J. MacP.A. OplerC. E. Puckett Haecker, and P.D. Doran



No cry of alarm has been sounded over the fate of amphibian populations in the northern grasslands of North America, yet huge percentages of prairie wetland habitat have been lost, and the destruction continues. Scarcely 30% of the original mixedgrass prairie remains in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota (See Table 1 in this chapter). If amphibian populations haven’t declined, why haven’t they? Or, have we simply failed to notice?

Amphibians in the northern grasslands evolved in a boom-or-bust environment: species that were unable to survive droughts lasting for years died out long before humans were around to count them. Species we find today are expert at seizing the rare, wet moment to rebuild their populations in preparation for the next dry season. When numbers can change so rapidly, who can say if a species is rare or common? A lot depends on when you look.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Amphibians of the northern Great Plains
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 2 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Status and trends of the nation's biological resources
First page 450
Last page 451