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Amphibians - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Amphibians. Animals with a double life. Primary Characteristic. Amphibians have a completely aquatic larvae which transforms into an air breathing, semi-terrestrial adult. Three orders of Amphibians. Caudata: salamanders & newts Anura: frogs and toads Apoda: caecilians.

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Animals with a double life

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Primary Characteristic

Amphibians have a completely aquatic larvae which transforms into an air breathing, semi-terrestrial adult.

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Three orders of Amphibians

  • Caudata: salamanders & newts

  • Anura: frogs and toads

  • Apoda: caecilians

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Characteristics of Amphibians

  • Undergo metamorphosis (change)

  • Thin, moist skin

  • Four legs

  • No claws on toes

  • Three chambered heart

  • Rely on water for reproduction

  • Ectothermic

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Thin, Moist Skin

  • Many amphibians breathe some through their skin

  • Some salamanders ONLY breathe through their skin

  • Reptiles have dry, scaly skin

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Four legs with no claws on toes

Reptiles have claws and sometimes no legs

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Three-chambered Heart

  • The amphibian heart is inefficient

  • Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood gets mixed together in the 3rd chamber

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Why amphibians breathe through their skin

  • Because the heart mixes blood, they must take in extra oxygen through their skin

  • The skin must remain moist for gas exchange

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Water needed for reproduction

  • Fertilization usually external

  • Water needed as medium for transporting sperm

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Body temp changes with the temp of environment

Regulates body temp through behavior

Become dormant in extreme heat or cold


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Metamorphosis: Frogs

  • Frog eggs hatch into tadpoles with:

    • Fins

    • Gills

    • two-chambered heart

  • Tadpoles grow into adults with:

    • Legs

    • Lungs

    • three-chambered heart

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Metamorphosis: Salamanders

  • Larvae have:

    • Gills

    • tail fin

  • Adults:

    • Have no gills

    • Have no tail fin

    • Breath through moist skin or lungs.

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Larvae vs. AdultSpotted Salamander

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Caudata: Salamanders

  • Long, slender body with a neck and tail.

  • Look like lizards, but have smooth, moist skin and lack claws.

  • One fourth breathe through skin and have no lungs.

  • Most have four legs, but some have only 2 front legs.

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Newts vs. Salamanders

  • Newts are salamanders that live entirely in water.

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Local Salamander Species

Eastern Red Spotted Newt , Slimy salamander, Blue Ridge two-lined salamander

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The Hellbender

  • Largest salamander in North America, and one of the largest in the world.

  • Up to 29 in. long

  • Live in rivers and large, swift streams

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Anurans: Frogs

  • No tails

  • Jaws and teeth

  • Vocal cords capable of producing a range of sound

  • Use sound to find a mate

  • Breathe through lungs or skin

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Frog Songs

  • Vocal cords capable of producing a range of sound

    • Vocal cords = band of tissues in the throat

    • Use sound to find a mate

    • Frogs can be identified by their songs

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Dart Frogs

  • Secrete toxic chemicals through skin as a defense against predators.

  • Some have enough toxins to kill 10 people

  • Bright colors act as warning coloration

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Cane Toads

  • Imported to Australia to eat beetles

  • Toxic to fish and animals

  • Secretes toxin from glands

  • Causing reduction in wildlife

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Frog Leaping

  • Frogs can jump over 20 times their own length

  • That is like a person jumping 100 feet!

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Frog Respiration

Breathe through lungs or skin

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Sensitive to Environmental Changes

  • Are indicator species for pollution in land, air, or water.

  • Declining numbers or deformities indicate an unhealthy environment.

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Long, hind legs

Smooth, moist skin


Bumpy, dry skin

Short legs

Frogs vs. Toads

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Local Species: American Toad

  • Poison glands in paratoid gland behind ears

  • Squirts milky poison at predators (like dogs)

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Local Species: Fowler’s Toad

  • Common in U.S.

  • Call sounds like the bleat of a sheep

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Southern Cricket Frog

  • Dark triangle between the eyes

  • Call sounds like a series of cricket-like clicks

  • Tiny – less than 1-1/4 inches long

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Common Local Frogs Spring Peeper

  • One of the first songs of the spring

  • Call is a high-pitched whistle with a trill

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Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

  • Sounds like a bleating sheep

  • Good at burrowing in soil or leaf litter

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  • Largest frog in North America

  • Eat crayfish, insects, birds, fish

  • Harvested for legs, which are eaten

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Green Frog

  • Sounds like the twang of a loose banjo string

  • Can be green, bronze, or brown

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Southern Leopard Frog

  • Has a light spot in the center of the eardrum

  • To escape predators, dives in water, makes a sharp turn, and returns to original shore to hide

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Apoda: Caecilians

  • No limbs, short or no tail

  • Tropical

  • Look like worms

  • Small eyes and often blind when eyes are covered by skin

  • Eat earthworms and other invertebrates in soil

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What is this?

1 2

3 4

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  • What does the word, “amphibian” mean?

  • What are the three classes of amphibians?

  • How are amphibians different from reptiles?

  • How are amphibian frog larvae different from the adult frogs?

  • Where do caelilians live?

  • Why do many amphibians need to have moist skin?

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  • What is an ectotherm?

  • What kind of salamander

    is pictured to the right?

  • What is the largest salamander in North America?

  • How are frogs different from toads?

  • Why are frogs such good indicator species, and what does this mean?

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  • What kind of amphibian has no legs, often has no eyes, and can be found in tropical environments only?

  • What is the purpose of the bright skin in a dart frog?

  • What is the main purpose for a frog song?

  • What are 3 functions for a cloaca?

  • What is the function of the tympanic membrane and where is it on the frog?

  • Where would you find the nictitating membrane?

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Name the species: know?