These are not the best of times for amphibians. All around the world, populations of frogs, salamanders and newts are declining. At least 489 species (7.8% of all known amphibians) are nearing extinction.
Five years ago the Netherlands was home to a small but healthy population of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra terrestris). That is no longer the case.
In 2009 scientists reported that the population of one of the world’s most bizarre creatures has dropped by 90 percent over the previous four years.
Gathering in the gutter may provide a better way to attract females
These tiny, brightly colored amphibians pack a potent neurotoxin on their skin. That toxin protected them from predators, but it won’t save them from extinction.
In the previous article, we looked at parsley frogs or pelodytids - a small and conservative lineage within the anuran clade Pelobatoidea (also known as Anomocoela, and commonly as the spadefoot toads).
As you'll know if you've been following Tet Zoo for any length of time, I've been slowly working my way through the toads of the world for the past few years - yes, all of them, more or less.
The presence in Europe of plethodontids is unusual enough (albeit well known), but a major surprise in plethodontid research was the discovery of an Asian member of the group, the Korean crevice salamander Karsenia koreana Min et al., 2005. Plethodontid expert David Wake described its finding as “the most stunning discovery in the field of herpetology during my lifetime”...
Thanks to that recent Tet Zoo article about American spadefoot toads and their tadpoles, I've had visions in my mind of drying ephemeral pools in hot, arid environments, crammed with crowded, gasping tadpoles.
This is the 200th article at Tet Zoo ver 3 – thanks, pass the champagne, donation cheque etc. (hint hint). The plan is to produce a lengthy introspective-type article that includes links to all the content that’s appeared on Tet Zoo ver 3 so far.
You all enjoyed the many Platyhystrix images featured here the other day (interesting discussion still going on in the comments section on that article, check it out).
Researchers plead for action against an invasive amphibian that is already poisoning native species in Madagascar
A few weeks back - during the Tet Zoo frog event - I wrote about the peculiar African brevicipitid frogs, variously termed short-headed frogs or rain frogs.
I must have said that one of my aims here at Tet Zoo is to write about obscure amphibian species that rarely get covered elsewhere. The main thing stopping or slowing this plan concerns the availability of images – good, available pictures showing the species concerned are often not availability. Anyway, through the good graces of Jonathan Kolby, I here present an image of the extremely rare tropical American plethodontid salamander Nototriton brodiei of Guatemala and Honduras. The animal is known from less than ten specimens.
While on a family holiday recently I visited Dan yr Ogof, the famous National Show Cave for Wales. Besides being interesting for the expected geological and speleological reasons, Dan yr Ogof is set within landscaped gardens that, bizarrely, feature one of Europe's largest `dinosaur parks'.
As I reported in a feature story in Scientific American last December , some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink.
I know the newts of my country… but that’s not hard, there are only three (or four if you count the alien one). The Palmate newt Lissotriton helveticus is Britain’s smallest species (reaching 95 mm in total length), though it’s not the smallest of all European newts, being exceeded by the 80 mm Italian newt L.
Anurans - frogs and toads - haven't received enough coverage on Tet Zoo of late, so here's one of several efforts to redress the balance. For no particular reason, in this article I want to talk about pelobatoids, also known as anomocoelans: the anuran group that (as conventionally conceived) includes spadefoot toads (Pelobatidae) and parsley [...]
Here's a very brief article to a group of frogs. It's a slightly modified version of an article that initially appeared on Tet Zoo ver 2 during November 2007.
Back in October 2007 (at Tet Zoo ver 2) I wrote a very brief article on a poorly known, gigantic, deeply weird South American frog: the Helmeted water toad, Chilean giant frog or Gay's frog* Calyptocephalella gayi (long known - incorrectly it turns out - as Caudiverbera caudiverbera).