The World's Most Threatened Amphibians

The destruction of natural habitats such as marshland has contributed to the decline in amphibian populations.
The destruction of natural habitats such as marshland has contributed to the decline in amphibian populations.

The world is facing its largest mass extinction of species with up to 6,000 species of amphibians on the verge of extinction. Most amphibians are facing a major threat in loss of their habitats, pollution, climate change, introduction of new invasive species, and the infamous amphibian chytrid fungus. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission, these 9 species of amphibians are the most threatened in the world.

9. Luristan Newt

The Luristan Newt is a small critically endangered species only endemic in the Lusristan Province in Iran. It is estimated that there only 1,000 mature individuals left. Their existence is highly threatened by habitat loss from the recent severe droughts and damming of streams where they inhabit. The rapid decline is attributed to the increased collections for the International trade market. Although the species is under protection from the Iranian national legislation, immediate action is required to protect this attractive salamander and assure of its survival in the wild.

8. Dusky Gopher Frog

Commonly referred to as the Mississippi frog, the Dusk Gopher is a critically endangered frog species under IUCN Red List. It is estimated that only 250 individuals of the frog inhabit two ponds in the Mississippi basin. The current and historic threat to the Mississippi gopher is loss of its habitat in particular the loss of fishless ephemeral wetlands and native longleaf pine forest that once covered 90 million acres in the south between Texas and Virginia. The decline of gopher tortoises, intrusive species, drought conditions, and diseases have significantly promoted to the decline of the species.

7. Hula Painted Frog

The Hula frog is the only living species of Latonia genus endemic in Israel. It is among the critically endangered species on IUCN’s Red List of endangered species. It is mainly found in Lake Hula and nearby swamps with a distribution of 2sq. miles. In the mid-20th century, the Hula Frog populated the larger Hula wetlands which were later cleared by the Israeli government to exterminate malaria and pave way for agriculture. The remaining part of the swamp was donated to the Hula Nature Reserve as a sanctuary for the increasing population of water birds. Loss of habitat and high predation from the birds led to the extinction of the frog until five individuals were rediscovered in 2011.

6. La Hotte Glanded Frog

La Hotte Glanded Frog commonly known as the Old Blur eyes is a critically endangered species from Haiti. Its most distinctive feature are the striking blue- eyes, a rare characteristic among amphibians. La Hotte is endemic in the closed forest canopies and streams in Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. The major threat leading to the extinction of the species is the loss of its natural habitats due to climatic change and the extreme tsunamis and earthquakes in Haiti. It has been conserved in the Pic Macaya National Park, but management efforts are still threatened by habitat loss to human activities.

5. Macaya Breast-Spot Frog

The Macaya Breast-spot frog is a New World Frog species listed as smallest and most endangered frogs in the world. Unlike other amphibians, the Macaya Breast-spot hatches to a miniature adult and does not go through the stages of a lava and tadpole It is endemic to Southwestern Haiti inhabiting the high elevations of the montane pine and cloud forest the remote Morne Macaya and Morne Formon peaks in the Massif de la Hotte Mountain. Its population is declining at an unprecedented rate making it the most endangered species due to intense pressure by local people to develop its environment in favor of charcoal lumber and agriculture.

4. Table Mountain Ghost Frog

The Table Mountain ghost frog is a rare endangered species found in the Table Mountain of Cape Town. It inhabits the restricted perennial streams and moist forest gorges in the southeastern part of the mountain. The ghost frog has already lost 20% of its natural habitat due to erection of dams upstream, erosion, intrusive vegetation and excessive water abstraction. IUCN lists it among the endangered species of the world likely to disappear due to its small population and restricted range. Although the available habitat occurs within protected lands, its survival is not definite calling for more protection measures.

3. Archey’s Frog

The Archery frog is the most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibian species. Species classified under EDGE have a unique appearance, behavior and have very few close relatives. It inhabits the low altitude Coromandel Peninsula and the Whareorino Forest in North Island, New Zealand. Its existence is highly threatened by the villainous chytrid disease and introduction of mice and rat predators in its habitats. They are a unique and irreplaceable part of the Earth’s natural heritage, thus should be preserved.

2. Bullock’s False Toad

The Bullock False Toad lists as the fifth most endangered species in the world. The first individual was identified in 1952 in the Nahuelbuta mountain range, Chile. During the 2011 hunt for missing amphibians, only one individual was identified. The extinction of the species is attributed to massive deforestation of its habitats native trees and pine plantations leading to stream siltation which disrupts the ability of tadpoles to feed. IUCN has called for collaborative efforts to preserve the natural habitat of the false toad in hope that it will emerge and survive within its natural range.

1. Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad

The stubfoot toad is endemic to the lowland tropical rainforest streams and riverbanks of southwestern Ecuador at elevations of up to 2,900 ft. above sea level. It is a critically endangered amphibian with only one individual discovered in 2011 during the hunt for missing amphibians. The species faced major threats of habitat loss in favor of crop production and livestock rearing, logging and pollution. Although the chytridiomycosis fungus occurs at higher altitudes, it posed as a major threat to the extinction of the stubfoot toad. Conservationists claim that it is already too late to embark on conservation efforts such as captive breeding but additional survey is required to confirm the persistence of the toad.


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