Writing for AmphibiaWeb

Writing Species Accounts for AmphibiaWeb

Download AmphibiaWeb's Species Account template to help write accounts (doc).
Submitting a written species account

Components of species account:

Species conservation status
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Submitted by
Ready to submit an account

Submitting a written species account

For participating Herpetology Class Students: Browse and claim prioritized species that need an account.

Download the Student Care Package, which has a more detailed version of these guidelines and includes the species account template.

All others: Please contact us first! We will make sure the account(s) you want to write have not already been written or claimed by someone.

Download the species account template, and return the completed information to us.

Examples of Ideal Species Accounts:
  • Limnonectes larvaepartus
  • Rana catesbeiana
  • Telmatobius ventriflavum

  • Components of species account:

    Species status: How imperiled is each species?

    Conservation status is an important part of each species statement. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) conducts ongoing assessments for amphibians. AmphibiaWeb automatically includes the latest IUCN-defined status, although many species are considered Data Deficient and new species in particular have not been evaluated at all.

    IUCN Red Book status. More detail about these categories can be found here.

    Data Deficient (DD)
    Least Concern (LC)
    Near Threatened (NT)
    Vulnerable (VU)
    Endangered (EN)
    Critically Endangered (CR)
    Extinct in the Wild (EW)
    Extinct (EX)

    Depending on how endangered a species is, and whether its continued survival is threatened by collection for commercial trade, countries may place restrictions on export and/or import of amphibians. These restrictions are covered under an international agreement, known as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Species protected by CITES are assigned to Appendix I, II, or III, according to the degree of protection they need. Search for species listed by CITES here.

    CITES status:

    Appendix I: species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
    Appendix II: species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
    Appendix III: species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.

    National status

    One place to check whether a species has been placed on a national Red List is nationalredlist.org. For species in the United States, you can check the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website for information:

    Home page: http://www.fws.gov/
    Endangered species page: http://endangered.fws.gov/index.html

    Regional status

    Please note if a species is protected in a particular region of the country in question. One place to search regional Red Lists is nationalredlist.org. Within the United States, search state information on endangered species. In California, for example, check the California Department of Fish and Game site.


    Please provide a diagnosis (the distinguishing characters defining the species, including how to tell it apart from similar species), and a description of the adult form (morphology, coloration) and larval form (if known).

    Distribution and Habitat

    Describe the known distribution and habitat of the animal, including the elevational range.

    Enter all countries and states in which a species exists. The more complete you are, the better people will be able to search for locality information later. If a species ranges from California, U.S.A., to British Columbia, Canada, you should also include the states of Oregon and Washington in your distribution text.

    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

    This section allows the author to point out important and interesting aspects of each species, including life history, breeding biology, a description of the calls if known. To get a good feeling for this section we suggest you look at some of the species accounts already available.

    This section allows the author to relate any known or suspected trends in abundance. It also allows the author to discuss particular threats in depth.

    Relation to Humans

    This section simply attempts to link something about a particular species to humans. With conservation in mind, we hope this will help people connect with amphibians. In some cultures, humans associate with certain amphibian species in special ways: for instance, amphibians may be thought of as good or bad omens, or exploited as a food source, or used to help acquire foods (rubbing dendrobatid skin toxins on darts for kiling animals. These associations are important.


    Please include the species authority (the citation for the original paper describing the species) in this section, and also as a full citation in the reference list. Other information such as phylogenetic relationships, karyotypes, derivation of the name, etc., can also go in this category.

    Possible reasons for amphibian decline

    If this species is declining, the author is asked to choose between possible reasons for the decline. Multiple factors may be selected.

    Submitted by:

    The author's name


    The author's institutional affiliation


    Please include literature references in your species statements. AmphibiaWeb author format is last name, then initials for all authors (e.g., Wake, D. B., Savage, J., and Hanken, J.).

    Mullally, D. P. and Cunningham, J. D. (1956). "Ecological relations of Rana muscosa at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada." Herpetologica, 12, 189-198.

    Ready to submit?

    Checklist before uploading your species account:

  • Submit your species account as a Word DOC or TXT file (not PDF).
  • Are all sections filled in as completely as possible, especially Description and Diagnosis, Life History, Threats and Trends?
  • Have you included all references? Did you include in-text citations for all paragraphs?
  • Do you have your references handy? If they are PDFs, you may upload them to a dedicated folder to speed up editing of your species account.
  • Is your name and email included? Your name will be printed as submitted on our author credit. Include your email in case we have questions about your submission.
  • For additional help, contact us.