20 Examples of Amphibians (With Pictures)

Amphibians, including frogs, toads, and salamanders, are versatile creatures found globally, with over 4,000 species. This article lists 20 examples, from the American toad native to the U.S. and Canada to the translucent glass frog of Central and South America.

Amphibians are a class of animals that live in water and on land. They are characterized by their moist skin, which allows them to breathe in both environments. There are over 4,000 species of amphibians, and they can be found all over the world.

1. American Toad

The American toad is a widespread amphibian found in the United States and Canada. Adults typically measure between 2 to 3.5 inches in length.

Their skin can be yellow, brown, or black, often with dark spots. Behind their eyes, they have parotoid glands that produce a defense toxin. In the wild, they can live up to 30 years, though many face environmental threats.

2. Green Treefrog

The green treefrog is a vibrant amphibian native to the southeastern United States. Typically measuring between 1 to 2.5 inches in length, it is easily identifiable by its bright green hue.

Most have a distinctive white or creamy stripe that runs along the side of their body, and some individuals also showcase golden spots. These frogs are often found in wetlands, ponds, and marshes, where their vibrant coloration helps them blend into the lush vegetation.

3. Red-Eyed Treefrog

The red-eyed treefrog is another vibrant amphibian native to the rainforests of Central and South America. Usually reaching about 2 inches in length, it’s easily distinguishable by its striking red eyes, contrasting with its primarily green body and bold blue stripes on its sides.

This nocturnal frog, active during the night, relies on its bright colors as a defense mechanism, startling predators when it reveals its vivid underbelly. In their natural habitat, these frogs have a life expectancy of up to 5 years, but many face threats like habitat loss and climate change.

4. Common Midwife Toad

This is a notable amphibian found predominantly in northwest Europe. Adults typically measure between 2 to 4 inches in length. Their skin displays shades of gray, brown, or olive and is characterized by warty textures.

Unique to this species, male midwife toads carry fertilized eggs wrapped around their legs until they’re ready to hatch, hence the name “midwife.” Their distinctive nighttime call, which sounds like a series of metallic notes, often gives away their presence in their natural habitat.

5. Fire Salamander

The fire salamander, prevalent in Europe, is known for its striking black skin adorned with yellow spots or stripes. Typically measuring 6–10 inches in length, this amphibian stands out in its habitat. Impressively, in ideal conditions, some individuals can live up to 50 years, making it one of the longer-lived amphibians.

6. African Clawed Frog

Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the African clawed frog is distinguished by three claws on each hind foot, aiding in its unique method of eating. While they’re popular pets, they’re also vital in scientific research due to their adaptability and reproductive habits.

7. American Bullfrog

The American bullfrog is renowned for its significant size, with adults often spanning 3.6 to 6 inches. Its deep, resonant croak and robust appearance inspired its “bullfrog” moniker. Beyond playing a key role in aquatic ecosystems, it’s also valued in the southern US as a culinary delicacy, with its meaty legs being particularly sought after.

8. Axolotl

Axolotls, critically endangered salamanders from Mexico, possess an incredible talent: they can regenerate lost body parts, encompassing limbs, tail, and spinal cord. Unlike most amphibians, they retain their aquatic larval features throughout their lives, such as their feathery external gills.

Their unique appearance and remarkable regenerative abilities have made them popular as exotic pets, even as their natural populations face severe challenges.

9. Bicolored Frog

Originating from India, the bicolored frog boasts a distinctive two-tone coloration. Its upper body usually presents shades of brown or gray, contrasting with a lighter brown hue on the lower half.

This unique appearance not only gives it its name but also aids in camouflage within its forested habitats. As part of the amphibian family, it plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, helping control insect populations.

10. California Newt

Originating from California, the California newt is distinguishable by its slate-gray body contrasted by a vibrant orange-yellow underbelly. With a typical length of 5 to 8 inches, this newt’s skin features noticeable warts.

In the wild, its adaptability and survival skills allow it to live up to 20 years. This species, like other newts, plays a role in controlling aquatic insect populations in its habitat.

11. Chinese Fire Belly Newt

The Chinese fire-bellied newt is named for its vivid red belly. While its striking coloration warns predators of its toxicity, this newt can indeed release potent toxins from its skin when threatened.

These defensive chemicals deter predators, making this amphibian both beautiful and formidable. Within its habitat, it contributes to maintaining a balanced aquatic ecosystem.

12. Leopard Frog

Leopard frogs, with their distinctive brown or green coloration and leopard-like spots, are a notable amphibian group. They inhabit various regions across the United States and Canada.

The spotting not only gives them their name but also aids in camouflage in their wetland habitats. Multiple species exist within this group, each adapting to its specific environment. These frogs play a crucial role in their ecosystems, both as predators and prey.

13. Wood Frog

Wood frogs, distinctive for their brown or rust-like hue, are native to North America and typically reach a modest size of around 2 inches. Remarkably, they possess a unique ability to survive being frozen during the cold winter months.

This high freezing tolerance lets them thrive in colder climates where other amphibians might not. In their ecosystems, they contribute to insect control and serve as prey for larger predators.

14. Golden Poison Frog

Brightly colored and native to Colombia, the golden poison frog stands out as the largest among poison dart frogs. Its vibrant hue isn’t just for show; this amphibian is regarded as the most poisonous frog on Earth.

Alarmingly, it’s now endangered, primarily due to habitat loss. Yet, in its natural environment, this frog plays a pivotal role in the balance of the ecosystem.

15. Darwin’s Frog

Discovered by Charles Darwin during his voyages, a unique small frog species thrives in parts of Chile and Argentina. This amphibian exhibits a fascinating reproductive behavior: after the male guards the eggs, the hatched tadpoles seek refuge by crawling into his mouth.

Inside this secure haven, they continue their development. This protective behavior underscores the intricate adaptations amphibians have evolved to ensure the survival of their offspring.

16. Colorado River Toad 

Dwelling in the regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, the Colorado River toad has developed an intriguing defense mechanism. When faced with danger or injury, it produces a potent toxin from its skin.

This secretion, if ingested or touched, can pose significant harm to humans and other animals. Such adaptations offer a glimpse into the multifaceted survival strategies employed by amphibians in diverse habitats.

17. Common Mudpuppy 

Endemic to North America, the common mudpuppy stands out among salamanders with its persistent external gills, allowing it to remain aquatic throughout its life. Unlike many amphibians that transition to land as they mature, the mudpuppy thrives underwater.

Growing impressively, some individuals can reach lengths of up to 13 inches. In their aquatic habitats, they play a key role in controlling invertebrate populations.

18. Baron’s Mantella

This frog showcases unique markings: a distinct line above its eyes, emerald spots near its limbs, and hind legs adorned with irregular stripes. Such bright hues often signal potential toxicity in the amphibian world, warding off would-be predators. Within its habitat, Baron’s Mantella plays a role in controlling insect populations and maintaining ecological balance.

19. Goliath Frog 

Hailing from the regions of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in Africa, the Goliath frog holds the title for the world’s largest frog, tipping the scales at an impressive 7.2 lbs. Despite its grand size, it faces threats from habitat loss and rampant deforestation.

This amphibian’s endangered status underscores the urgent need for conservation efforts. As a part of their ecosystem, Goliath frogs help maintain a balance by preying on insects and smaller animals.

20. Glass Frog

Native to Central and South America, glass frogs are renowned for their almost transparent skin, revealing a mesmerizing view of their internal organs. This unique characteristic gives them their evocative name.

Despite their delicate appearance, they play a crucial role in tropical ecosystems, preying on insects and serving as food for larger predators. Most species remain petite, with many growing to approximately 3 inches in length.

Conclusion

Amphibians are a diverse group of animals that can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They come in many shapes and sizes and have a variety of different adaptations to their environment. Some amphibians are able to regenerate lost body parts, while others are poisonous. They play an important role in the ecosystem and are an essential part of the food chain.

Darwin’s Frog Image by: Mono Andes, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons