The word amphibian comes from the Greek amphibios meaning "both lives". This description is appropriate because most adult amphibians are better adapted to life on land, while their larval phases are entirely aquatic. For much of their lives, which may last several years or a couple of months, depending on species, larval amphibians (e.g. tadpoles) bear little resemblance to their adult forms. However, in a matter of weeks or days, the fish-like larvae transform into terrestrial, air-breathing, four-legged animals. Adult terrestrial amphibians can either breathe through their skin or with lungs. The families include frogs, toads, salamanders and newts.
One useful reference related to amphibians is:
Martof, B.S., W.M. Palmer, J.R. Bailey, and J.R. Harrison III. 1980. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Websites that provide photographs and helpful biological information about amphibians include the following:
Listing of these websites does not and is not intended to imply endorsement by the National Park Service of commercial services or products associated with the sites.
Did You Know?
The small circular pits (Opferkessels) often found in the rocks of Shenandoah National Park’s cliffs and summits are formed by standing water.