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Amazing Amphibians

Definitions and Context


Amphibian: A classification of vertebrate animals that begin their life as aquatic eggs or larvae and generally develop into oxygen breathing land forms as adults.
Context: Amphibians start life living in water.

Anurans: Frogs and toads
Context: You can hear the anurans sing on a summer evening.

Aquatic: Growing, living in, or frequenting water
Context: All toad eggs and larvae are aquatic, but adult toads can live most of their lives away from the water.

Carnivorous: Meat-eating
Context: Adult frogs are carnivorous.

Ectothermic: body temperature changes according to the air temperature
Context: Herps are ectothermic, they use the heat of the sun to warm themselves.

Embryo: a plant or animal in the very early stages of development
Context: Sometimes you can see the little frog embryo inside the jelly-like egg.

Herpetology: The study of reptiles and amphibians
Context: Herpetology takes the field biologist into the field after dark.

Herptiles: Reptiles and amphibians
Context: All amphibians are herptiles, but not all herptiles are amphibians.

Metamorphosis: transformation from egg to adult through distinct stages
Context: Butterflies and frogs both go through metamorphosis but in different ways.

Regenerate: Grow back
Context: Although a salamander can regenerate its tail when it breaks off, it still loses the fat it had accumulated to carry it through the winter.

Vernal: Springtime
Context: Vernal pools dry up in the heat of the summer.