The United States of America is among the world's most vast countries, being the third largest country on Earth in terms of both land area and resident human population. America is also one of the most bio-diverse countries in terms of animal and plant species, as well as ecological regions. From vast forests, to southwestern deserts, high mountains along the Appalachian and Rockies, the tundra of Alaska to the tropical islands of Hawaii, and the mashes of the bayou, the United States has a little bit of everything no matter where you go. This article will go over only some of the many endangered amphibian species in America and discuss them and their current status.
The Black-Spotted Newt, scientific name Notophthalmus meridionalis, is a species of aquatic newt that is a member of the Salamandridae Family of true salamanders and newts. The species is usually olive green in color, with many black spots and has a yellow colored underside. Fully grown adults usually grow to reach between 7.1 to 11 centimeters (2.9 to 4.3 inches) in length. This species can be found in the Gulf Coastal Plain region around the Gulf of Mexico and is found within 130 kilometers (80.77 miles) of the coastline and up to as high as 800 meters (2,624 feet) above sea level. The species is found anywhere that freshwater is, from ponds, roadside ditches, stream pools and other shallow water. If the water the species is in dries up it can then be found under rocks or submerged vegetation. The species had a wider historical range along the Gulf Coastal Plain, but it now only found in two localities of the American state of Texas and in the northern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Black-Spotted Newt is listed as been an endangered species since 2008 and has a declining population. The major threats that this species faces are from habitat alteration and fragmentation due to increased infrastructure and agricultural development in Texas and north-eastern Mexico, as well as from water pollution, herbicides and insecticides.
Mississippi Gopher Frog
The Mississippi Gopher Frog, scientific name Lithobates sevosus, is a very rare species of true frog that is a member of the Ranidae Family of true frogs. This species ranges in color from being brown, grey or black and has warts and dark sports over its stocky body. The adult of the species grown to generally be around 8 centimeters (3 inches) long. The diet of this frogs consists of eating other frogs, as well as toads, spiders, earthworms and insects. The species is found in upland sandy habitats that have long-leaf pine trees and also in temporary wetlands in forested landscapes, where there breeding sites are located. This species live most of its life underground, usually using abandoned mammal or gopher tortoise burrows, as well as holes in stumps. This species is endemic to the United States, meaning that it is only found in this country. Historically, this species was found in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but is currently only found in around in Glen's Pond in the Desoto National Forest in Harrison County, Mississippi. According to the IUCN Red List, the Mississippi Gopher Frog is listed as been an critically endangered species since 2004 and has a declining population. This species is facing a lot of major threats, including population isolation which can led to inbreeding, fragmentation, modification and loss of habitat due to urbanization, grazing, logging and fire suppression, two deadly diseases including the fungal disease chytridiomycosis and egg mortality due to predators.
The Yosemite Toad, scientific name Anaxyrus canorus, is a species of true toad that is a member of the Bufonidae Family of true toads. This species has a very high degree of sexual dischromatism, meaning that males and female toads have great color variation. Males of the species are brighter in color, usually being olive green to yellow green with small dark marks on their bodies. Female of the species are usually gray to brown in color and have large dark spots. Adults of the species usually grow to be between 4.5 to 7.5 centimeters (1.17 to 2.95 inches) in length. This species eats a wide variety of insects in its diet, including ants, spiders, beetles, mosquitoes, centipedes and others. This species habitat is in the wet mountain meadows and along the borders of forests. When this species needs to take shelter it goes to hid in dense vegetation or inside rodent burrows. The species goes to the edges of lakes, ponds or snow melt pools and also along slow moving streams when it has to breed. This species is endemic to the United States and is only found in the state of California. Inside California it is only located in the high sierra area of the Blue Lakes region at an elevation of 1,460 to 3,630 meters (0.90 to 2.25 miles) above sea level between the Spanish Mountain area in Fresno County and Ebbets Pass in Alpine County. According to the IUCN Red List, the Yosemite Toad is listed as been an endangered species since 2004 and has a declining population. Some of the major threats that this species faces are from the disease chytridiomycosis, airborne contaminants, livestock grazing, drought and invasive species that act as predators.
What Can be Done to Protect the Endangered Amphibians in America?
There are many actions that can be taken to help support these and other endangered amphibians in the United States of America. One major step that was already taken decades ago was that the United States government enacted the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which tasks the federal government with the responsibility to protect any species listed as being threatened or endangered, as well as any habitat that is deemed critical to the survival of any species listed as such. There are also many different local, state, national or international organizations that one can look into to volunteer their time, donate money to help support the cause or to just educate themselves on the issues and learn what small things they can do to help. People can also press their local, state and federal level representatives to get them to support more environmental friendly legislation by making phone calls or signing petitions.