Amphibians

ABOUT AMPHIBIANS

Amphibians are in the class Amphibia within the subphylum Vertebrata.

Amphibians...

  • Are cold-blooded. They cannot maintain their body temperature by internal means.
  • Have moist skin with no protective scales or shells.
  • Lay soft, gelatinous eggs with no shell.
  • Lay their eggs in water or some other situation where they will remain moist.
  • Start their life in the water in a gilled larval state (called tadpoles in frogs and toads).
  • Have no claws on their toes.

Currently, there are about 4,000 recognized species of amphibians in the world, divided into 3 living orders. Kansas has 29 species in 9 families and 2 orders.

Range maps and population status for the ten amphibian species on the Kansas Threatened & Endangered Species list may be found in the Kansas Wildlife Refuge.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Barred Tiger Salamander

Official State Amphibian of Kansas

Barred tiger salamanders are primarily nocturnal. They are opportunistic feeders eating anything they can catch, including various insects, slugs, and earthworms.

Kansas Amphibians

The following list is adapted from the Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas.  (Accessed March 5, 2014)

Order Caudata - Salamanders - (9 Species in Ks)

Family Ambystomatidae - Mole Salamanders

  Western (Barred) Tiger Salamander - Ambystoma mavortium
Smallmouth Salamander - Ambystoma texanum
Eastern Tiger Salamander - Ambystoma tigrinum

Family Proteidae - Mudpuppies

  Red River Mudpuppy - Necturus louisianensis
Common Mudpuppy - Necturus maculosus

Family Salamandridae - Newts

Order Anura - Frogs & Toads - (20 Species in Ks)

Family Bufonidae - True Toads

 American Toad - Anaxyrus americanus
Great Plains Toad - Anaxyrus cognatus
Chihuahan Green Toad - Anaxyrus debilis
Fowler's Toad - Anaxyrus fowleri
Red-spotted Toad - Anaxyrus punctatus
Woodhouse's Toad - Anaxyrus woodhousii

Family Hylidae - Treefrogs

 Blanchard's Cricket Frog - Acris blanchardi
Gray Treefrog complex - Hyla chrysoscelis/versicolor
Spotted Chorus Frog - Pseudacris clarkii
Spring Peeper - Pseudacris crucifer
Boreal Chorus Frog - Pseudacris maculata
Strecker's Chorus Frog - Pseudacris streckeri

Family Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Toads

 Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad - Gastrophryne carolinensis
Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad - Gastrophryne olivacea

Family Ranidae - True Frogs

  Crawfish Frog - Lithobates areolata
Plains Leopard Frog - Lithobates blairi
American Bullfrog - Lithobates catesbeiana
Green Frog - Rana clamitans
Southern Leopard Frog - Rana sphenocephala

Family Scaphiopodidae - Spadefoot Toads

Plains Spadefoot - Spea bombifrons

More Information and Resources:

  • If you have a strong interest in Great Plains amphibians, you may wish to join the Kansas Herpetological Society
  • For information on amphibians worldwide, see AmphibiaWeb!
  • Visit the Tree of Life website to see how cladistic analysis presents the classification of animals