The California tiger salamander is a discriminating species that can only thrive in unique and now extremely rare habitats. As California’s pools, grasslands, and woodlands continue to disappear so do this specie’s number in population. This specie’s plight is particularly extreme in Sonoma County where development threatens 95% of remaining salamander’s habitat as well as in Santa Barbra. Both Sonoma and Santa Barbra populations have now been federally listed as endangered.
Newts possess feathery gills during the larvae stage but lose them as they grow older. These creatures are amphibians and like most can breathe on dry land and underwater. When a baby newt hatches from an egg it is called a tadpole. Newt tadpoles are born with gills and during this time can only breathe using them underwater. As the tadpole develops into a juvenile newt it will start to develop limbs and internal lungs that will help it to breathe in air. When this juvenile is ready it will spend most of its time on dry land using its new lungs to breathe.
When newts reach adulthood, they will return to the water and spend the remainder of its life there. These creatures use a process known as diffusion to breathe underwater since they no longer possess gills. This process is done by absorbing oxygen from the water through their thin, permissible skin. The oxygen in the water is absorbed and diffused directly into the animal’s blood vessels directly through the skin. It is for this reason that newts and most other amphibians must keep their skin moistened at all times, because they are very susceptible to having their skin dry out if kept away from water for too long, in which case will result in death.
Mudpuppies, sometimes also known as waterdogs, are one of only a few salamanders that make noise. They get their name from the squeaky vocalizations that they make that resemble a dog’s bark. Among the largest of the salamanders, these creatures can exceed 16 inches in length with the average usually being more like something around 11 inches. They can be found from southern central Canada, through the Midwestern United States, east to North Carolina and south to Georgia and Mississippi.
Mudpuppies typically reside on the bottoms of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams and never leave the water. They often hide themselves in vegetation and underneath rocks and logs. They emerge at night to feed on whatever type of prey they are able to catch. Anything from crayfish to worms or snails.
These salamanders are easily classified by their busy, red external gills, which they grow as larva and never lose. They also have flat heads, wide tails, stubby legs and feet that are equipped with four toes. Their bodies are gray and brownish-gray with blue-black spots.
The female mudpuppy reproduces by laying large clutches of eggs and guards them until they hatch. This is a very unique trait among salamanders. The loss of habitats and pollution are putting a pressure on some local populations of mudpuppies, however they have no specific conservation status.
Unlike many of their amphibian cousins, mudpuppies never form lungs to breathe air through. Instead they rely on their gills that are located behind their heads to breathe under water such as fish do. Young mudpuppies have a yellow stripe on each side of their backs. These creatures are slimy and difficult to handle since their bodies have no scales.
Mudpuppies mate in late fall, but the females do not usually begin laying their eggs until the following spring. Females generally deposit anywhere from 50 to 100 eggs in a nest cavity under a rock or something along those lines. It takes 1 to 2 months for these eggs to hatch. It takes 4 to 6 years for mudpuppies to mature and they can live to be more than 20 years old.
Toads and frogs cannot breathe underwater. They need air in order to breathe. They can however hold their breath for long periods of time when underwater. Toads breathe through their skin with what’s called cutaneous gas exchange. They also have lungs for when they’re out and about, but when in hibernation or submerged in water, they just use their skin.
Frogs are amphibians because they live both in water and on land. They differ from reptiles in that they lack scales and generally return to the water in order to breed. They are known to typically lay their eggs in puddles, ponds, or lakes and their larvae (tadpoles) are born with gills which they use to breathe in water. Later on in life they develop lungs so that they can breathe on land. Whereas reptiles give birth to live young or lay eggs on land to baby creatures that already possess lungs from the get go and resemble a miniature version of its adult parents.
A salamander is a common name for the order of Caudata which consists of 9 families. Eight of these 9 families are found in North America. Newt is a common name applied to certain members of a family of relatively small salamanders. Also in the order of caudataare, are sirens which are aquatic salamanders that lack hind limbs. Thus, newts and sirens are actually salamanders. Salamanders make up a mere 350 species out of the 4,000+ known species of amphibians.
Toads are considered amphibians. Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that undergo a larval stage and metamorphosis before becoming adults (e.g., pollywogs and tadpoles are frog or toad larvae). Amphibians need to keep their skin damp so it doesn’t dry out and they usually mate and lay their eggs in water. Frogs, toads, and salamanders are all examples of amphibians.
Reptiles and amphibians are distantly related to one another and have quite a few similarities. However there are still many differences that can be found between the two. These differences can often be distinguished from each other based off of physical appearance and the different stages of life.
The word amphibian literally means “living double lives”. This refers to creatures who are living two lives: one in water with gills and the other on land once they grow lungs with age. Amphibians are vertebrates and cold blooded. Early amphibians were the first animals to leave sea and eventually venture onto land.
Whereas the word reptile means “to creep stealthily under cover of darkness” this group of animals has scales, breathe air and usually lay eggs. Most reptiles live on land and reproduce by laying eggs. An amphibian’s skin texture is smooth, moist and rather sticky. It is laden with mucuous glands and although most amphibians have lungs most breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouths. Reptile’s skin is dry and scaly. Amphibians usually have to stay near water sources to prevent drying out whereas reptiles do not.
Amphibian’s eggs are soft and covered by a gel. They do not have a hard protective covering and are usually found in water or damp places. Reptiles lay amniotic eggs with hard leathery surfaces. They usually lay these eggs on land or keep them inside of their bodies until they are ready to hatch.
Both amphibians and reptiles are equipped with ways to defend themselves against predators. Amphibian’s including some species of toads have toxic skin secretions while other species of amphibians are known to bite. Amphibians do not however have claws or nails. Reptiles such as the crocodile do have claws, as well as whipping tails that can really do some damage. They are also obviously known to bite, and some even have venom.
Reptiles originated around three hundred and some odd million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land. Unlike amphibians, reptiles do not have or require an aquatic larval stage. Interestingly enough, it did not become known until around the nineteenth century that reptiles and amphibians are two different types of animals.
It is not ideal for a newt to reside with a turtle. Even small turtles can nip off a newt’s leg or tail. Turtles also secrete and tolerate much higher amounts of ammonia than newts. Turtle’s need warm water and a heat lamp in order to survive, whereas newts can poison a turtle since turtle’s are omnivorous creatures that may view Mr. newt as a tasty meal. Newts require a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit whereas turtles require at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Another difference in properly caring for both creatures is that each requires different levels of land, water and space within their tanks. Newts and turtles cannot and should not live together.
Mudpuppies are locally common throughout the ranges in which they reside, however there are a few populations that have been in decline throughout certain areas. They can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats as they are a completely aquatic creature that never leaves the water. Habitat destruction and pollution are among two of the reasons the number of mudpuppies has been declining in recent years. Polluted waters and the loss of ponds and lakes through development is a threat to some populations and because of their sensitive skin these creatures are especially vulnerable to toxins in the water.
Some populations are also threatened by persecution as some anglers have been known to kill them for falsely believing that they may be a threat to the populations of game fish. In Iowa, mudpuppies are in fact listed as an endangered species, while there is also concern for their well being and population in Maryland and North Carolina. Whereas other species in other parts of the world are typically placed in the category of “least concern”.
When frogs are tadpoles they breathe underwater through their internal gills and their skin. Later on in life they develop into land animals and develop lungs for breathing air. Frogs breathe with their mouths closed and the throat sack pulls air through the nose and into their lungs. Their throat movements pull air through the nostrils and back into the lungs, then they breathe out with their bodies contracting. Frogs nostrils are placed on top of their head so that they are able to breathe at the same time that they are in the water so that they can always be on guard.
Breathing is a gas exchange that takes oxygen from the surroundings and lets out carbon dioxide. The frog’s lungs are not only useful for breathing on land, but are also helpful when the frog is in the water. This is because filling the lungs with air gives these creatures better buoyancy and makes floating easier.
Frogs are also able to breathe through their skin, with tiny blood vessels known as capillaries that are located under the outer skin layers. The African Hairy Frog has small lungs and during the breeding season, the male frogs of this species are known to get hair on their back legs. This is because it needs a high amount of oxygen during this time.