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Species of the Week
Ambystoma maculatum | Spotted Salamander

Amphibian News Archive
As a disease vector, it is important to control mosquito populations. However, biological control with introduced mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) has the unintended consequence of altering ecosystems. Watters et al. (2018) explored the effectiveness of using native amphibian larvae in Missouri instead. They found that Leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala), while consuming a large number of mosquito larvae, ate less than mosquitofish. The Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), on the other hand, consumed as much as mosquitofish. Moreover, there was a positive relationship between mosquito consumption and salamander larval body size providing encouragement to assess more native amphibians for mosquito control. However Thorpe et al. (2018) found a body size-dependent response to varying prey densities. With small African Clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) tadpoles, a type II functional feeding response is shown, increasing feeding rates with prey density until a threshold when the predator cannot keep up with the prey, while larger tadpoles exhibit type III response, characterized by lower than expected feeding rates at low and high densities but increasing feeding rates at increasing intermediate densities. This suggests a need for size diversity in biological control.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,951 (Nov 20, 2018) Newly added species