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Amphibians - Vertebrates Slideshow

Examples of amphibian species

Let's take a look at the group of vertebrates called amphibians. You've got your frogs, salamanders, and caecilians (legless) versions of modern amphibians. As with all animals, there are many extinct species only found in fossils. There are about 6,000 living species of amphibians across the world. Most of those species can be found near sources of water. Amphibians may be able to live on land, but most need water at certain points during their lives.

Think about frogs for a moment. They start their lives as eggs underwater and then develop into tadpoles. Those tadpoles use gills to breathe. Eventually they go through a metamorphosis and develop a new body shape and physiology. Only then are they able to leave the water and hop around the land looking for bugs to eat.

While all vertebrates found on land are classified as tetrapods, amphibians are special because their eggs are simple and do not have eggs with amniotic membranes. Reptiles, birds, and mammals may not all have eggs, but they all have amniotic membranes of one form or another. You already know that amphibians are also special because they require water during one point or another during their life cycle. The traits that made amphibians more developed than fish often had to do with life on land. They have lungs, eyelids, and eardrums.

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