Amphibians 101

A wood frog settled into the mud in a pond with only it's head and knees above water.
Small wonder--a wood frog north of the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range

Richard Nelson

Amphibians 101

The amphibian family includes frogs, toads, salamanders and newts. These are cold blooded animals with smooth, moist skins, and most have four legs. Nearly all amphibians spend part of their lives in the water and part on land.

This ancient family has been hopping and crawling over the earth for almost 300 million years and includes more than 6,000 known species.

In Alaska, there are six native amphibians: three salamander species, two frogs and one toad—a frog-like creature, but fatter, with dry, warty skin.

Although the wood frog is the northernmost frog in North America, the claim to farthest north frog in the world belongs to the Siberian wood frog. This little beauty looks much like the North American wood frog, with a similar color and mask. Amazingly, it ranges well onto the tundra near the arctic coast of Siberia at 71 degrees latitude. This is about equal to the latitude of Barrow at the extreme northernmost tip of Alaska.

And the southernmost frog? This title belongs to the “gray four-eyed frog”, which is found all the way to the southern most tip of South America, at about 55 degrees south latitude.

Amphibians world wide are declining at alarming rates and some species have become extinct.


Last updated: December 16, 2020

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