Frogs and Toads
Frogs and toads (together known as Anurans) are amphibians. A distinction is often made between frogs and toads based on their appearance; frogs are generally considered to be aquatic or semi-aquatic with smooth, moist, permeable skins, whereas toads are often considered be terrestrial with dry, warty skin.
This distinction however, has no taxonomic basis. Many frogs are characterised by their long, powerful hind legs and are widely known as exceptional jumpers. Frogs are distributed from the tropics to the subarctic regions, but the highest numbers of species are found in the tropical rainforests.
Frogs are known for calling loudly during the night, particularly during their mating season. The life cycle of frogs and toads is complex and they show more reproductive diversity than any other vertebrate group.
Typically they spawn in water bodies. On hatching, tadpoles have gills and live in the water. As they metamorphose, the tadpoles develop back legs and then front legs, the body shape begins to change and lungs develop as gills are lost. Finally, towards the end of metamorphosis, the tail is reabsorbed.
Amphibians are currently going through a global extinction crisis. Alarmingly, 122 species of amphibians have gone extinct since 1980 and about a third of the world’s 6500 amphibians are currently threatened with extinction.