The Amphibians





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Published on May 3, 2010

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What are Amphibians

Amphibians (class Amphibia, from Amphi- meaning "on both sides" and -bios meaning "life"), such as frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians, are ectothermic (or cold-blooded) animals that metamorphose from a juvenile water-breathing form, either to an adult air-breathing form, or to a paedomorph that retains some juvenile characteristics. Proteidae (mudpuppies and waterdogs) are good examples of paedomorphic species. Though amphibians typically have four limbs, the caecilians are notable for being limbless. Unlike other land vertebrates (amniotes), most amphibians lay eggs in water. Amphibians are superficially similar to reptiles.
Amphibians are ecological indicators, and in recent decades there has been a dramatic decline in amphibian populations around the globe. Many species are now threatened or extinct.
Amphibians evolved in the Devonian Period and were top predators in the Carboniferous and Permian Periods, but many lineages were wiped out during the PermianTriassic extinction. One group, the metoposaurs, remained important predators during the Triassic, but as the world became drier during the Early Jurassic they died out, leaving a handful of relict temnospondyls like Koolasuchus and the modern orders of Lissamphibia.

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