Amphibians

A brown toad sits on a rock with greenery behind it.
 

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.

Shenandoah is home to ten species of toads and frogs and fourteen species of salamanders or newts. The Shenandoah Salamander is the only federally endangered animal species found in the park. It is endemic to high elevation talus slopes located in three scattered areas of the central section of the park. This salamander is closely related to the ubiquitous red-backed salamander.

The long-term health of worldwide and park amphibian populations remains in question. Acid deposition, heavy metal deposition (mercury), forest defoliation due to exotic insect pests may adversely impact amphibian populations. The park is supporting a number of amphibian related research efforts that are attempting to describe species associations, habitat preferences, distributions, and relative abundance of these animals. Research is also looking into the connection between stream water acidification and effects on park amphibian populations.

 

NPSpecies Lists

NPSpecies is a consolidated database where you can find the latest information on any species from any National Park Service unit. This resource lets you search for species information on specific parks and allows you to create your own itemized species lists.

How Does it Work?
Use the dropdown menus below to select the species category that you'd like to view. You can choose to get a checklist or to get the full list, which includes more information about each species. Once you make your selections, click on the view PDF button. This will generate your customized report. From here, you can click on the large Print button at the top of the document to print the report, or save the report by clicking on the blue-and-white floppy disk symbol to save the report.

 

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Visit NPSpecies for more comprehensive information and advanced search capability. Have a suggestion or comment on this list? Let us know.

 

 

Related Information

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.

Online Guide for Identification of Amphibians of North America

Virginia Herpetological Society

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.

Last updated: March 5, 2019

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Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835

Phone:

(540) 999-3500

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