Amphibians are an important part of Greater Yellowstone’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They are valuable indicators of environmental change because of their sensitivity to disturbances such as disease, pollution, drought, annual snowpack, other climate changes, and the arrival of nonnative species. Amphibians are prey for many fish, reptile, bird, and mammal species and, in turn, eat a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate species. Because many amphibians congregate to breed or overwinter, they can be adversely affected by disturbance or loss of key sites, and habitat fragmentation. Amphibian populations that are affected by one or more of these stresses may exhibit increased deformities and changes in location, distribution, population size, and species diversity. These changes have cascading effects on other aspects of the ecosystem.
Declines in amphibian populations are occurring globally in both protected areas and areas where habitat has been lost. About one-third of all amphibian species are believed to be threatened with extinction. Yellowstone provides a valuable study area; information about the status and trends of amphibians here may shed light on declines documented in other high-elevation protected areas of the West. Learn more...
Quick Facts about Amphibians in Yellowstone
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.