North American Amphibians

North American Amphibians: Distribution and Diversity

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 352
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    North American Amphibians
    Book Description:

    Some 300 species of amphibians inhabit North America. The past two decades have seen an enormous growth in interest about amphibians and an increased intensity of scientific research into their fascinating biology and continent-wide distribution.This atlas presents the spectacular diversity of North American amphibians in a geographic context. It covers all formally recognized amphibian species found in the United States and Canada, many of which are endangered or threatened with extinction. Illustrated with maps and photos, the species accounts provide current information about distribution, habitat, and conservation.Researchers, professional herpetologists, and anyone intrigued by amphibians will valueNorth American Amphibiansas a guide and reference.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95672-8
    Subjects: Biological Sciences
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vi-viii)
  3. PREFACE (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-14)

    In profile, North America is an immense plain hemmed by mountains to either side. Along the east are the old, eroded Appalachian Mountains that extend north and east from the southern Coastal Plain to the Gaspé Peninsula, the even more ancient Laurentian Mountains north of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the eroded, broken mountains of the Arctic Cordillera that run from northern Labrador and Québec through the Arctic Archipelago to the tip of Ellesmere Island. Along the west, there lie the great spine of the Rocky Mountains and other ranges in parallel rows—a mere section of the vast...

  5. Frogs of North America
    • Family Ascaphidae (pp. 16-17)

      Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs occur in southeast Washington and northeastern Oregon, in west central and northern Idaho, in southeastern British Columbia and in western Montana. The population in the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia appears to be isolated from the rest of the range. Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are found up near to timberline, which is at an elevation of 2100 m in the Wallowa Mountains.

      Both adult Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs and their tadpoles occupy cold, swift mountain streams with cobble substrates. Tadpoles typically require permanent water. Adult Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs seldom move more than 10 m upstream...

    • Family Bufonidae (pp. 18-40)

      American Toads are found throughout most of North America east of the central U.S. plains and Canadian prairies. Their northern limit goes from north of Lake Winnipeg to Hudson Bay at the Winisk River in Ontario and the Great Whale River in Québec and east to Lake Melville on the Labrador coast. To the south, American toads are absent from much of the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains, including Florida, except for an extension south through eastern Mississippi and eastern Lousiana to about Lake Pontchartrain. They are absent from eastern Long Island, and are introduced on Anticosti Island and the...

    • Family Dendrobatidae (pp. 41-41)

      Native to Central America, Green-and-black Poison Dart Frogs were purposely introduced into Hawaii as part of a program to control non-native insects. The source of these frogs is thought be populations on the island of Taboga off the Pacific Coast of Panama. In Hawaii, Green-and-black Poison Dart Frogs currently reside only on Oahu in a few well-vegetated, moist valleys.

      Green-and-black Poison Dart Frogs are found on the forest floor as well as in trees. They are diurnal, although in Hawaii they are less active on sunny afternoons.

      Green-and-black Poison Dart Frogs are considered to be an introduced, invasive species on...

    • Family Eleutherodactylidae (pp. 42-47)

      Barking Frogs are found in central and southeastern Arizona, south central and southeastern New Mexico, western and central Texas, and south into central Mexico (not shown), including the Santa Rita, Pajarito, Huachuca, Sierra Ancha, and Quinlan mountains, and along the Balcones Escarpment of Texas. They are found elevations between 900 and 1900 m.

      Barking Frogs are terrestrial and commonly found in or near cliffs, caves, and limestone or other rock outcrops in Madrean evergreen woodland, creosote bush flats or juniper–oak scrub forest. They also have been found in caves and abandoned mines throughout their range.

      In New Mexico and...

    • Family Hylidae (pp. 48-81)

      Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are distributed across the east central U.S. to the north and west of the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys from Ohio and western West Virginia west to Nebraska, south to western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and into northern Coahuila, Mexico (not shown). Historically, they also occurred in Canada at Point Pelee and on Pelee Island in extreme southern Ontario.

      Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are terrestrial and semiaquatic and may occur in or near freshwaters of any sort except large lakes and rivers.

      Severe declines of Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs throughout the northern extent of their range have resulted...

    • Family Leptodactylidae (pp. 82-82)

      Mexican White-lipped Frogs are known in the U.S. only in southernmost Texas in the extreme southern edge of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, but they also occur to the south throughout lowland Middle America to the north coast of South America as far as Venezuela (not shown).

      Mexican White-lipped Frogs have been found in a variety of habitats wherever there is sufficient moisture, including semipermanent water bodies such as prairie potholes, oxbow lakes, and resacas. Mexican White-lipped Frogs may also be encountered in irrigated agricultural fields, irrigation ditches, low grasslands, and runoff areas. They are nocturnal and hide in burrows...

    • Family Microhylidae (pp. 83-85)

      Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads occur throughout the southeastern and lower midwestern U.S., from Maryland south to the Florida Keys (not shown), and west to central Texas and eastern Oklahoma, though they are absent from most of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian region north of Tennessee. Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads are found on numerous barrier islands in the Gulf Coast and off the southeastern Atlantic Coast (not shown). They occur as elevations as high as 730 m.

      Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads occur in a variety of habitats, including cypress gum swamps, live-oak ridges, pine oak uplands, sandy woodlands, prairies,...

    • Family Pelobatidae (pp. 86-92)

      Couch’s Spadefoots range from central Texas and southwestern Oklahoma, west through central New Mexico and Arizona into southeastern California, and south into Mexico, including much of Baja California (not shown). Isolated populations occur in southeastern Colorado.

      Couch’s Spadefoots occur in mesquite and mesquite–yucca habitats, shortgrass plains, and creosote desert, as long as temporary rain-filled pools exist. The presence of sandy, welldrained soils is important to them. During the period of summer showers, Couch’s Spadefoots reside in shallow soil-filled summer burrows 1.3 to 10 cm deep, often under dense vegetation, and surface activity is restricted to short periods following rains....

    • Family Pipidae (pp. 93-93)

      African Clawed Frogs are not native to North America, but they have been found living wild in many localities throughout the U.S., and apparently well-established, reproducing populations are known in Arizona, Texas, and southern California. These populations largely arose from animals that either had been released or had escaped from laboratory or pet stocks.

      African Clawed Frog populations in the U.S. are found mainly in disturbed or artificial bodies of water, such as drainage ditches, flood control channels, golf course ponds, manmade lakes, irrigation canals, cattle tanks, and sewage plant effluent ponds. In their native habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, they...

    • Family Ranidae (pp. 94-123)

      Japanese Wrinkled Frogs were probably introduced to Hawaii from Japan over a century ago and are currently found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii from elevations near sea level to at least 1100 m.

      In Hawaii, Japanese Wrinkled Frogs breed in the pools and slow-moving waters of mountain streams and in lowland ponds. They occur in both pond and stream habitats. In smaller streams, they typically inhabit pools, whereas in larger streams with more current, they occur along the sides of quiet backwaters.

      In Hawaii, Japanese Wrinkled Frogs are abundant and invasive in native forest. They have...

    • Family Rhinophrynidae (pp. 124-124)

      In the U.S., Burrowing Toads have been found only in extreme southwestern Texas, but their range extends south from there through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica (not shown). Burrowing Toads occur at elevations from sea level to 600 m.

      Burrowing Toads have been a well known, if infrequently encountered, burrowing anuran of lowland coastal areas in Mesoamerica for some 150 years, but were not discovered as a component of the U.S. herpetofauna until 1964, when breeding populations were found in southern Texas. Burrowing Toads surface only to breed during heavy rains, perhaps only once per year, and thus...

  6. Salamanders of North America
    • Family Ambystomatidae (pp. 126-143)

      Ringed Salamanders are endemic to the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

      Ringed Salamanders are found in forested areas under logs, leaves, and rocks or burrowed into the soil; they are seldom found in the open. They typically breed in fishless, woodland pools or shallow ponds, though they may use farm ponds, even those heavily used by livestock in open pastures. During September to early November, adults are stimulated to migrate at night to breeding ponds by medium to heavy rains and cool temperatures.

      The distribution of Ringed Salamanders appears to be stable, and some populations retain...

    • Family Amphiumidae (pp. 143-145)

      The range of Two-toed Amphiumas includes the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains from about New Orleans to southeastern Virginia and all of Florida except for the Florida Keys.

      Two-toed Amphiumas occupy a great variety of aquatic habitats, including permanent ponds and lakes, preferring relatively shallow, heavily vegetated habitats. They also inhabit isolated, ephemeral wetlands, wet prairies and marshes, swamps, and the Florida Everglades. They are common in canals and drainage ditches, preferring to burrow in mucky substrates. They are often found inhabiting crayfish burrows. Though otherwise completely aquatic, female Two-toed Amphiumas deposit their eggs in moist, terrestrial sites.

      Two-toed Amphiumas...

    • Family Cryptobranchidae (pp. 146-146)

      Hellbenders are native to river systems in upland areas in the eastern U.S. from southern New York to northeastern Mississippi and northern Alabama, including the Susquehanna River, tributaries of the Savannah River, the Tennessee River, and the Ohio River. They also inhabit the Missouri River drainage, the Meramec River, and the White River in portions of Missouri and northern Arkansas.

      Hellbenders are found in fast-flowing streams containing abundant cover in the form of large flat rocks, bedrock shelves and crevices, and logs.

      The range of Hellbenders has shrunk considerably as a result of human modification of their stream habitats, including...

    • Family Dicamptodontidae (pp. 147-150)

      Idaho Giant Salamanders inhabit north central Idaho from the Coeur d’Alene River south to the Salmon River and several headwater streams south of Saltese and Deborgia in extreme western Montana.

      Idaho Giant Salamanders can be locally abundant in or near headwater streams in coniferous forest watersheds. Neoteny, whereby sexually mature individuals retain their larval form throughout life, is common among Idaho Giant Salamanders. Terrestrial adults are rarely encountered, and knowledge of their habits is scarce, but when they are encountered they are usually under logs and bark. Courtship among Idaho Giant Salamanders likely takes place in hidden nest chambers beneath...

    • Family Plethodontidae (pp. 151-296)

      Green Salamanders range along the Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Mountains from northern West Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania south and west to northern Alabama and the extreme northeast of Mississippi. They also occur in the Blue Ridge region of southwestern North Carolina, northwestern South Carolina, and northeastern Georgia. Disjunct populations have been found in southern Indiana and parts of Tennessee. Green Salamanders occur at elevations up to 1341 m on Cold Mountain in North Carolina.

      A favored microhabitat of Green Salamanders is beneath the bark of downed trees and logs. For a time in the 1930s, Green Salamanders reached tremendous population...

    • Family Proteidae (pp. 297-299)

      Neuse River Waterdogs are known only from the Neuse and Tar river systems in the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina.

      Neuse River Waterdogs are found in rivers ranging from large headwater streams to coastal streams up to the point of saltwater intrusion. They can be found associated with leaf beds in wide, shallow backwaters off the main current, where substrates are sandy, muddy, or composed of clay. Both juvenile and adult Neuse River Waterdogs construct retreats under submerged rocks or other cover objects, with entrances on the downstream side. At night, they become active and will...

    • Family Rhyacotritonidae (pp. 300-303)

      Cascade Torrent Salamanders are restricted to the west slope of the Cascades Range from the west bank of the Skookumchuck River in western Washington south to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River in central western Oregon, up to elevations at which heavy snow accumulates during winter.

      Forests bordering streams that harbor Cascade Torrent Salamanders usually have a good leaf canopy, abundant understory vegetation, much moss, and a thick leaf mat along the stream banks. Cascade Torrent Salamanders are frequently found in the rock rubble of stream banks, fissures in stream banks, underground water courses, fissures in stream heads, and...

    • Family Salamandridae (pp. 304-310)

      Black-spotted Newts inhabit the southern Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas south into northern Veracruz in Mexico (not shown).

      Black-spotted Newts live where deep, poorly drained, clay soils with slow permeability allow for the formation of ephemeral ponds or wetlands during periods of heavy rain. Adults generally are to be found in, or near, such breeding ponds in the presence of intact Tamaulipan thorn forest. Juvenile Black-spotted Newts may remain aquatic until reproductively mature, unless their pond dries up or high temperatures cause them to seek cover on land.

      Continued land clearing for agriculture and urban development poses a considerable threat...

    • Family Sirenidae (pp. 311-314)

      Southern Dwarf Sirens are restricted to peninsular Florida south of the Suwannee River in the west and the Nassau River in the east.

      Southern Dwarf Sirens are found in heavily vegetated marshes and shallow lakes. They may be abundant in floating mats of vegetation or in mucky shoreline deposits.

      The current distribution and abundance of Southern Dwarf Sirens have undoubtedly declined as wetlands in peninsular Florida have been reduced through drainage of surface waters associated with residential, agricultural, and silvicultural development.

      Southern Dwarf Sirens are not listed under any Florida or U.S. federal laws or regulations.

      Northern Dwarf Sirens occur...


    The background for all the maps in this book is composed of several layers. The terrain is a color-shaded relief image at 1-kilometer resolution obtained from theNational Atlas of the United States( Overlaid on that image are the political boundaries and hydrography data from theNorth American Atlas(, a cooperative intergovernmental venture by Natural Resources Canada, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática. We then used ESRI® ArcMap™ versions 9.3.1 and 10 Geographical Information Systems software to plot our distribution data as dots on top of these background...

  8. FURTHER READING (pp. 323-324)
  9. NOTES (pp. 325-328)
  10. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (pp. 329-332)
  11. INDEX (pp. 333-340)


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