Characteristics Of Amphibians For Your Possible Next Pet
Amphibians are some of the coolest creatures on this planet. There are a couple of classifications of amphibians and the best part is some of them can be kept as pets.
Before you keep one as a pet though, get to know the characteristics of amphibians. This will make you appreciate them more and you will come smarter from the other side.
In this article, we will break down all the cool characteristics and also the three main classifications of amphibians. So, without further to do, let us get started.
Get to Know the Characteristics of Amphibians for Your Possible Next Pet
Before we jump into the characteristics of amphibians, it is worthwhile to know the classifications of amphibians. After knowing this you can identify which class your favorite amphibian pet falls under.
Urodela or Caudata class of amphibians are ones that have a tail. They have a long elongated slender body and can also have poisonous glands. They also have hidden gills with little to no difference between the male and females.
The fertilization happens internally. Their primary diet consists of worms. A well-known urodele class amphibian is the salamander. In the Southern US, they mostly reproduce during the winter.
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Anura or Salientia consists of 3400 or so species around the world. These amphibians have four legs like frogs, for example. Frogs are a well-known Anura class amphibian.
Their front limbs are typically longer which helps them make large jumps. When in the larval stage, they possess a tail. The tail is lost as they grow up though.
Unlike the Urodela class of amphibians, Anura amphibians fertilize externally. They usually lay eggs on the water just like toads or frogs. Another key feature of Anura class amphibians is the head and trunk are fused.
Lastly, we have the Apoda class amphibians. They are also called Gymnophiona or Caecilia. The word Apoda means without legs. So, naturally, this class of amphibians does not have any legs.
They have scaly bodies and their eyes are covered with bone or skin. Which also lends them the name ‘blind-worm’. A typical Apoda amphibian is the Caecilians, Apodas also have venomous glands and secrete mucus to mitigate water loss.
4.Characteristics of Amphibians
Now that you know the classifications, let us get to know the characteristics of amphibians.
The term ‘amphibians’ comes from the Greek ‘amphibios’. It means living a double life. This means they can live both on land and water as well. Some species permanently live on land and other species live on the water.
However, most species can live on water and land. That is one of the most prominent characteristics of amphibians. Here are some more interesting ones.
5. They are Ectothermic
Amphibians are ectothermic. That means they have very little means of monitoring body temperature. They are primarily reliant on environmental heat sources and that is why you will see them living in warm places.
This allows them to have a very economical metabolic rate as well.
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6. They Are Found Across the World
Amphibians can be found across the world. That fact is even more solidified by the fact that they can be found in the north of the Arctic Circle in Eurasia. You cannot find them only in the most remote Antarctic regions and extreme deserts.
Not all types of amphibians are found across the world though. For example, salamanders are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Other types of salamanders, specifically of the Plethodontidae family like the lungless salamanders can be found in the tropical montane forests of Mexico, South America and Mexico. Frogs as well as toads are the most diverse in the humid tropical environments.
Food and feeding habits also vary greatly. Salamanders feed on insects. Large salamanders can feed on birds and other mammals. Burrowing caecilians however mostly stick to eating earthworms.
Most salamanders hunt actively. They will go out searching for food. They hunt by sight and some others make use of their sense of smell too. some Anuras will wait in a specific place for prey to come by.
Caecilians, however, locate food with the use of a chemosensory tentacle. They also have a powerful bite which they use to capture the prey.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic hunting techniques belongs to the aquatic salamanders. They lunge at their prey with their mouth open and suck their prey in with their oral cavities.
8.Variety in Size and Structure
Although there are some similarities between the classification or order of the amphibians, there are great differences in the size and the structure as well.
Newts and salamanders have two pairs of limbs and also a long tail. These things differentiate them from other amphibians. They are varied by different lengths too.
Some can go to measure just 1 to 1.2 inches, whereas other genus of giant salamanders can go up to 5 feet!
The differences in structure also make it easy to identify. Frogs can be distinguished easily due to the lack of a tail. Anurans like frogs can vary in length too.
The large species of frogs like the West African Goliath Frogs can weigh up to 3.3 kilograms and be as long as 12 inches. Other smaller ones can be just 0.5 inches long.
9.Life Cycle of Amphibians
Some amphibians have a biphasic life cycle. It involves aquatic eggs then larvae and then metamorphoses into semi-aquatic or terrestrial adults. They deposit a large number of eggs in the water.
Large bullfrogs can lay up to 45000 eggs while some salamanders like the tiger salamanders can lay 5000 eggs. The egg size and the water temperature are important factors that play into the development of the embryo. The warmer it is the quicker it will hatch.
Some anuran species take 1 to 2 days to develop in warm places. Eggs laid in cold places can take up to 40 days to hatch.
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Amphibians are really some of the most diverse and coolest species of creatures around. Hopefully, this article helped you to get to know the characteristics of amphibians. Do you have an amphibian pet? If not, are you thinking of getting one?