Amphibians of Lassen Cascades frog, long-toed salamander, and western toad.
Amphibians of Lassen; Top to bottom: Cascades frog, long-toed salamander, and western toad.

NPS/S. Anderson, NPS, NPS/R. Rhoads

Three amphibians inhabit Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Pacific tree frog, western toad, and long-toed salamander are permanent residents.

Amphibians like reptiles are poikilothermic ectotherms. The body temperature of amphibians derives from their surrounding environment. Unlike reptiles, amphibians have moist, vascular skin opposed to scales and must lay their eggs in water or moist environments.

Many amphibians spend the early part their life cycle entirely in water as larva before metamorphosing into adults. For example; frogs emerge from eggs as tadpoles, and restricted to aquatic environments. Overtime they develop legs and then capable being on land or in water. In contrast, reptiles are generally terrestrial throughout their life cycle.

More species use to live in the park, such as the rough-skinned newt and once abundant Cascades frog. For unconfirmed reasons such species have become extirpated from the park.

Amphibian populations worldwide have been on the decline due to several factors. Causes of population decline include introduction of non-native trout for recreational fishing, habitat alteration or loss, Pesticide and fertilizer drift, fire suppression, climate change, and disease. In particular, the spread of chytrid disease caused by the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has led to large scale loss in amphibian populations. The vascular skin of amphibians allows them to effectively breathe underwater. This is instrumental to their survival, but also makes them highly susceptible to changes in the environment.


Last updated: February 9, 2024

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