Interesting facts about amphibians

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We found 22 interesting facts about amphibians

One of the first quadrupeds on Earth

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates, most of which begin their lives in the aquatic environment and only after reaching maturity, some of them come to land. Although there are three orders of these animals, 90% of them are tailless amphibians such as frogs and toads.

Amphibians are vertebrates.

Today's amphibians are divided into three orders: tailless, tailed and legless. To date, 7360 species of caecilians have been described: 764 caecilians and 215 caecilians.

The first amphibians appeared on Earth in the Devonian period, about 370 million years ago.

They evolved from muscle-finned fish whose modified fins were used to move along the underwater ocean floor.

Only two species of frogs and one salamander live in salt water, all the rest live in fresh water.

Even terrestrial amphibians have to live in humid environments, which is necessary to maintain moist skin.

The skin of amphibians is permeable to water and allows gas exchange.

It must be moist, which is why amphibians have special mucous glands on the scalp, body and tail. Some of them also have poison glands that serve to protect the animal.

Amphibians breathe with primitive lungs.

However, most of them can also breathe through their skin. During the larval stage, many salamanders and all tadpoles are equipped with gills, which they lose after metamorphosis. There are some exceptions, for example, axolotls retain gills into adulthood.

The vast majority of amphibians are predators.

Their diet consists mainly of organisms that move rather slowly and are small enough that they do not need to be crushed, such as beetles, caterpillars, earthworms and spiders. Some species actively hunt, others hide and ambush. Typically, amphibians catch prey with a sticky tongue, pull it into the mouth, and then swallow the victim whole, although they can also chew it in order to suffocate it.

Amphibians also include herbivores.

Some tropical tree frogs eat fruit. Also, tadpoles of frogs and toads are herbivorous organisms due to their small size; they feed mainly on algae, which are an important source of vitamin C.

Among amphibians there are also nutritional specialists.

The Mexican rhinoceros has a specially adapted tongue that allows it to catch ants and termites.

Some species of amphibians are cannibals.

This is not a very common phenomenon, but occurs in both adults and larvae. Young tadpoles of some species attack more mature ones during metamorphosis.

Although most live in humid environments, some amphibians have adapted to dry climates.

The Catholic hermit crab, which lives in Australia, spends most of its life buried in the ground and rises to the surface after heavy rains. In addition to adapting their lifestyle to arid conditions, amphibians living in arid ecosystems also have organs that connect the body cavities to the urinary tract. Thanks to this, they are able to store water in the urinary system and use these reserves when access to water is limited.

Most amphibians require a freshwater environment to reproduce.

Some species have developed mechanisms to lay eggs on the ground and keep them moist in this environment.

Depending on the order, fertilization occurs internal or external.

The vast majority of caudate amphibians undergo external fertilization and internal fertilization in caudate and legless amphibians.

Most amphibians make sounds, but frogs make the greatest range of sounds.

Tailed and worm-like amphibians limit themselves to squealing, grunting and hissing. Caecilians make the most sounds during the mating season. Depending on which family the amphibian belongs to, the type of sound it makes changes. Frogs and toads croak and tree frogs chatter.

The amphibian egg is usually surrounded by a transparent gelatinous membrane secreted by the fallopian tubes. It consists of proteins and sugars.

This coating is permeable to water and gases and swells as it absorbs water. The egg cell surrounded by it is initially rigidly attached, but in fertilized eggs the inner layer of the shell liquefies and allows the embryo to move freely.

Most amphibian eggs contain melanin.

This pigment increases their temperature by absorbing light and also protects them from ultraviolet radiation.

It is estimated that up to 20% of amphibian species have one or both parents caring for their young to some degree.

Generally speaking, the more eggs a female lays in a litter, the less likely it is that one parent will care for the offspring when they hatch.

The female salamander Desmognathus welteri cares for the eggs that she lays in the forest under stones and dead branches.

Once laid, it protects them from predators until the young hatch. Only then does each animal go its own way. This is not the only species that behaves this way; many forest salamanders exhibit similar behavior.

The poison of some amphibians is dangerous even to humans. The most dangerous is the yellow leafhopper.

This species inhabits the western coast of Colombia. The skin of this frog contains about 1 mg of batrachotoxin, which can kill 10 to 20 people. Native Indians used leafhopper toxin to poison arrows.

The largest living amphibian is the salamander Andrias sligoi.

This amphibian is endangered and probably no longer exists in the wild. The largest specimen, caught in the early 20s, was 180 cm long.

This is the smallest amphibian in the world. Pedophrine amauensis.

It originates from Papua New Guinea and was discovered in August 2009. The body length of this narrow-mouthed frog is only 7,7 mm. In addition to being the smallest amphibian, it is also the smallest vertebrate.

The science that studies amphibians is batrachology.

This is an element of herpetology that deals with the study of crawling animals, that is, amphibians and reptiles.

Many amphibians are currently endangered.

The main reasons for their decline worldwide are the destruction of their natural habitat, the ozone hole through which more UV radiation reaches the ground, damaging their skin and eggs, and chemicals affecting their hormonal balance.

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