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Amphibians

Although amphibians are not part of the reptile group, usually they are examined and studied alongside reptiles.

Evolutionarily they are placed between fishes and the other terrestrial vertebrates and are characterized by their specificity to pass part of their lives in humid environment (during early stages of development) and part of it in dry environments. The name “amphibian” is based on this particularity as it comes from the Greek word "amphi " that means between two places or parts and the word "bios" that means life.

In the world today more than 7.000 amphibian species have been identified. Those species are divided into 3 major groups, the Urodela, the Anura and the Apoda. Urodela are animals with well-developed limbs and tail (eg. salamanders), while Anura which constitute the largest of the three groups, have well developed limbs but they lag of tails (eg. frogs). As comes to Apoda that do not have limbs and they represent only a small number of the amphibian group.

In Cyprus only three species of Anura amphibian can be found in areas with rich or limited presence of water.

 

Skin
The skin of amphibians is very different from that of reptiles. It is not covered with scales or other external formation but is thin and soft and bears numerous glands. These glands secrete substances that help maintaining the moisture of the body and defending from predators. These substances are responsible for the slippery texture of their skin.

 

Skeleton
Amphibians have typical bony tissue with light hollow bones. Most amphibians have four fingers at their front limbs (hands) and five fingers at the hindlimbs (legs). Unlike reptiles amphibians do not have onyx at their fingers. In Anura, the hindlimbs are larger and more muscular than the front limbs as these animals move by jumping.

 

Hearing
The hearing in Anura is highly developed but lack significantly in Urodela. There is no external ear in Anura, but the large circular eardrum, that is able, with the help of a system of bones, to transmit vibration of sound to the inner ear. Through this system, Anura are able to identify high frequency sounds that help them detect conspecifics and mates during the breeding season.


Vision
Most amphibians have good vision, both in the light and in the dark. The eyes of amphibians are much more complex and improved from those of invertebrates and are the first step in the emergence of more advanced eye in vertebrates. Through their eyes amphibians are able to distinguish different wavelengths and to understand the depth of focus.

Reproduction
Amphibians are able to reproduce through external fertilization that occurs in the aquatic environment. Even species which have a high degree of independency from the water, crowned back in lakes and ponds during the breeding season to mate. The females lay several hundred of eggs in water and the males deposit their sperm on them. The eggs hatch into tadpoles which depend directly on water. During adulthood tadpoles metamorphose into perfect animals that can exit and draw away from water.

 

Venom
Several amphibians secrete poison from epidermal glands which protects them from predators. In some species of South America this poisons are very powerful and can even cause death.



About Us

 

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Herpetological Society of Cyprus (HSC) was established in 1990 with the aim of promoting, studying and conserving Cyprus’ herpetofauna. As part of its work, HSC fulfill presentations, educational seminars, studies and researches, along with other activities that relates with informing and educating the public about reptiles Cyprus.

Contact Details
 
 
           Address:   Herpetological Society,
                            P.O box 61435,
                            8134,
                            Paphos, Cyprus
 
           Tel:          +357 26 967600
 
           Fax:         +357 26 967007
 
           Email: HerpetSocietyCy@gmail.com
 

            



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