Amphibians are cold-bolded vertebrates (animals with
Being "cold-blooded" means that they have to use their surroundings
to warm up or cool down. People can sweat or shiver to help keep their
body temperature where it should be, but cold-blooded animals can't do this.
Amphibians sun themselves or in hang out in water or cool shade to keep comfortable.
But just doing this doesn't make an animal an amphibian!
The most interesting fact about amphibians is that they live
The first is on water, and the second is on land! Amphibians lay eggs
in water that hatch into larva (LAR-vah). Larvae (that's more than one larva)
live in water like fish. Larvae grow and change through a process called
metamorphosis (met-ah-MOR-fo-sis). During metamorphosis, larvae grow lungs
and leave the water to live on land, but visit water for food, to lay eggs,
and to cool off or warm up.
Frogs and toads have one of the most interesting changes in
They start out as eggs, then hatch into tadpoles (larva) that look like
chubby fish. Tadpoles metamorphose by growing legs and lungs and slowly
lose their tail until they look like an adult frog or toad.
Frogs have smooth skin and have long legs for leaping and
Toads have dry, warty skin (but don't give you warts!) with legs built
Changing from tadpole to frog or toad can take anywhere from a
to two years, depending on the species. Can you guess which tadpole takes
two years to metamorphose into an adult? It's the American bullfrog!
Frogs, toads, salamanders and newts are all examples of amphibians.
Amphibian Watch - Adults and classes in Texas
are watching and reporting on amphibians in their area to help scientists
learn more about what is happening to amphibians in Texas.
Do we have more or fewer amphibians? What kinds of amphibians live in
your area? People involved in this project use field guides, web sites
and audio tapes to learn to identify the various species of frogs and
toads native to their area by sight and by listening to their calls. Information
about where our frogs and toads live, and how many are there, will help
scientists better understand the decline in amphibian populations in Texas.