Amphibians are a class of animals that live some of their life in water and some of their life on the land. Their bodies start as eggs that are laid in the water and then as their time gets longer, they begin to grow legs, lungs and other body parts that let them live on the land.
Breathing in Water
When an amphibian is born, they hatch from an egg that is laid in a pond or in a pool of water. They come out of the egg with gills so that they can breath under the water and they also have fins so that they can swim. They begin their life out looking similar to a fish.
As an amphibian hatches from an egg, they look like a fish and are able to swim and have gills. As they grow, they go through what is called metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is when a body goes through different kinds of changes. The changes that an amphibian’s body makes is important to their survival. They start to grow lungs so that they can breathe out of the water. They also grow legs and then later, they might lose their legs and be a completely different looking type of animal.
Amphibians are cold-blooded. Cold-blooded means that the animals body does not regulate what temperature they are. They use things in their surrounding to get warmer or cooler. For example, if an amphibian is cold, they can lay in the sun and then their body temperature will increase.
An animal that is warm-blooded has their body temperature regulated automatically and they can cool down and heat up just where they are by sweating or shivering or by other things their body does.
Types of Amphibians
There are many different types of amphibians such as frogs, caecilians, salamanders and newts.
Frogs are part of the amphibian group. They can jump high because of their strong legs and they can swim well because they have webbed fingers and toes. A frog doesn’t have a tail and has large, bulging eyes and a long tongue so they can see their prey and catch it easily.
There are two species of frogs which is the American Bullfrog and the Poison Dart Frog. Toads are also considered to be a part of the frog species.
Lifecycle of the Frog
The lifecycle of the frog is similar to other amphibians. This is an example of an amphibian going through metamorphosis.
- A frog lays eggs in the water. The eggs hatch.
- Out comes a frog, also called a tadpole.
- The tadpole has a tail and gills and looks like a fish.
- Later, the tadpole grows two legs in the back, but still lives in the water.
- The tadpole later gains two more legs in the front and a very long tail.
- The tadpole becomes a baby frog or froglet and has a small tail and lungs.
- The baby frog becomes an adult frog with no tail, four legs and lungs to live on land.
A Caecilian is called a “wormlike” amphibian. They don’t have any legs or arms and they look like a worm or a snake. Some of these types of amphibians can grow even over 5 feet long and they have a skull and a nose that is pointed to help them to go through the dirt and mud. Their skull is very strong and supportive to help them burrow.
The reason people call them “wormlike” is because they have skin that looks like it is in segments just like an earthworm.
Caecilians live underground and they have a very bony skeleton and very sharp teeth. They also have tentacles on the top of their head. Some caecilians live in the water where they can swim because they have a tail and fins and most of them are found in the tropical areas of the world.
Salamanders and Newts
There are more than 650 different species of salamanders and newts. These amphibians have long tails and long, skinny bodies. They have four legs and are usually about the same size.
Like frogs, the salamanders and newts spend some of their time living in the water and some of their time living on the land. These amphibians have lungs that allow them to breath air but some amphibians keep their gills for life and spend most of their time in the water.
Salamanders like to live in areas that are cool and wet and some live in the tropical forests while others live in the Northern Hemisphere.
Salamanders have different colors so that they can protect themselves from predators. Their coloring helps them to be able to camouflage themselves so that they can hide in leaves, rocks, sticks and mud. Newts are different from salamanders because their skin is rough while the salamander has smooth skin.
Newts also are a little different because they have tails that are flat so that they can swim faster in the water, while a Salamander has a round tail that is long.
The Axolotls is a salamander that is very rare. They are found in lakes that are in Mexico. They are not very often seen because they spend all of their lives living in the water. They breath through their gills.
Facts about Amphibians:
- A froglet or a baby frog is only the size of a person’s fingernail.
- Some tadpoles are eaten by predators before they become adult frogs. This happens from things such as the baby dragonflies that live in the water.
- There are over 7000 species of amphibians around the world.
- Most amphibians are meat eaters and they will catch bugs to eat.
- Some amphibians hunt their food while others just wait for food to come to them.
- Most amphibians have a long tongue that allow the food to stick to their tongue.
- A frog’s tongue flips out towards its prey and then flaps back into the mouth.
What Did You Learn?
- What is the difference between cold-blooded and warm-blooded? Cold-blooded means that the animal has to use the surroundings to get warm or cool while warm-blooded means that their body temperature is automatically controlled by their body.
- What is an amphibian? An amphibian is an animal that spends part of its time in water and part of its time on land.
- What is special about an amphibian? Most amphibians have gills and fins to swim in the water and then they get lungs to breathe on land.
- What are the different types of amphibians? The different types of amphibians are frogs, salamanders, newts, and Caecilians.
- What do amphibians eat? Most amphibians are meat eaters and they eat bugs and small insects that they can catch for food.