• An aerial view of Old Faithful erupting taken from Observation Point with the Old Faithful Inn to the side.

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

Amphibians

boreal toadlets
Boreal toadlets
NPS/J. Arnold
 

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

  • 4 species: blotched tiger salamander, boreal chorus frog, boreal toad, and Columbia spotted frog.
  • Toads can easily be distinguished from frogs by their warty bodies, thick waists, and prominent glands behind their eyes.
  • Columbia spotted and boreal chorus frogs are widely distributed with many breeding sites in the park.
  • Tiger salamanders are common and abundant in some portions of the Yellowstone, such as the northern range and Hayden Valley.
  • Boreal toads are abundant in some local areas, but has declined sharply in other parts of the West.
  • None of the park's amphibians are federally listed as threatened or endangered.

Additional Resources

Amphibians References

Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

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.