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Amphibians

By:
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Edited by:
Edward T. LaRoe, Gaye S. Farris, Catherine E. Puckett, Peter D. Doran, and Michael J. Mac

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Abstract

Amphibians are ecologically important in most freshwater and terrestrial habitats in the United States: they can be numerous, function as both predators and prey, and constitute great biomass. Amphibians have certain physiological (e.g., permeable skin) and ecological (e.g., complex life cycle) traits that could justify their use as bioindicators of environmental health. For example, local declines in adult amphibians may indicate losses of nearby wetlands. The aquatic breeding habits of many terrestrial species result in direct exposure of egg, larval, and adult stages to toxic pesticides, herbicides, acidification, and other human-induced stresses in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Reported declines of amphibian populations globally have drawn considerable attention (Bury et al. 1980; Bishop and Petit 1992; Richards et al. 1993; Blaustein 1994; Pechmann and Wilbur 1994).      

Approximately 230 species of amphibians, including about 140 salamanders and 90 anurans (frogs and toads) occur in the continental United States. Because of their functional importance in most ecosystems, declines of amphibians are of considerable conservation interest. If these declines are real, the number of listed or candidate species at federal, state, and local levels could increase significantly. Unfortunately, because much of the existing information on status and trends of amphibians is anecdotal, coordinated monitoring programs are greatly needed.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Title:
Amphibians
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Publisher:
National Biological Service
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Florida Integrated Science Center
Description:
3 p.
Larger Work Type:
Book
Larger Work Subtype:
Monograph
Larger Work Title:
Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
First page:
124
Last page:
126
Other Geospatial:
North America