Suggested Uses of AmphibiaWeb for Educators

(Updated August 5, 2013)

Thank you for choosing AmphibiaWeb for your education needs. Below you will find a table outlining the different examples that amphibians can be used to illustrate biological concepts. We are often update the table so please feel free to offer suggestions.

Biological Concept

AmphibiaWeb Illustration of Concept

  • Illustrate the differences between normal and exceptional declines using the Search the database to see how many species are threatened. (Select from the list in IUCN categories)
  • Compare the diversity between amphibian orders and or families. Discuss why some groups are more diverse.
  • Compare families that have key innovations with families that do not. For example, how do families that have evolved direct development compare with families in the same biome in regards to diversity?
  • Tie speciation in with biogeography. See this article for an example of salamander diversity and elevation.
Global Patterns of Diversity
  • Use Cartograms page as a visualization to prompt discussions on differences in diversities of the three orders.
    • Why do we only see caecilians in the tropics?

    • Why is salamander diversity the greatest in the regions not rich in frogs?
Sexual Dimorphisim
Parental Care
Key Adaptations
  • Direct development of larvae (eggs that hatch out little frogs, also called froglets, or live birth of tadpoles or froglets). Family examples include Brevicipitidae.
  • Evolution of toepad morphology include sticky or enlarged pads for climbing, and enlarged pads for gliding. Examples of climbing pads include the family Hylidae (sticky pads) and family Rhacophoridae (enlarged pads). Examples of gliding pads include : Vampire Flying Frogs (Rhacophorus vampyrus,), and Wallace's Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus).
  • Adaptations to arid environments include fossorial aestivation, explosive breeding, and rapid metamorphosis of larvae. Family examples are Scaphiopodidae, Pelobatidae.
  • Loss of lungs that allow for shooting tongue is most known in the family Plethodontidae.
  • Adaptations to aquatic life can include the presences of lateral lines, paedomorphism, and increased lung capacity. Family examples include Amphiumidae, Sirenidae, Pipidae, and Typhlonectidae. Adaptations to breeding in fast moving streams can also found in the family Ascaphidae, in which males have a unique external copulatory organ that can only be found in the two species of this family, Ascaphus montanus and Ascaphus truei.
Natural Selection or
  • Use the search option for "Reasons for Decline" as "disease". Which species are unable to adapt to this disease. Also in host-parasite evolution, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the pathogen causing chytridomycosis, is driving itself toward extinction?
  • Use the search option for "Reasons for Decline" as "Introduced competitors" and/or "Predators (natural or introduced)".

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