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Amphibian Evolution:
Arose from lobe-fined ancestor called Crossopterygians
Land plants & insects provided new food source
Had primitive lungs & short, limb like fins for short periods on land
Appeared during late Devonian
Icthyostega early amphibian with 4 limbs, lungs, & a tail for swimming

Four limbs with claws on digits (toes)
Lungs instead of gills
Both internal & external nares (nostrils)
Three chambered heart (two atria & one ventricle)
Double loop blood circulation to lungs & rest of body cells

Skin with keratin (protein) to prevent water loss

Necks to more easily see & feed
Most with smooth, moist skin to take in dissolved oxygen
Some with oral glands to moisten food they eat
Webbed toes without claws
Ectothermic - body temperature changes with environment
Show dormancy or torpor (state of inactivity during unfavorable environmental conditions)
Hibernate in winter and aestivate in summer
Aquatic larva called tadpole goes through metamorphosis to adult
Metamorphosis controlled by hormone called thyroxine

External fertilization with amplexus (male clasps back of female as sperm & eggs deposited into water)
Eggs coated with sticky, jelly like material so they attach to objects in water & do not float away
Eggs hatch into tadpoles in about 12 days


Males with vocal sacs to croak

Digested system adapted to swallow prey whole

Well developed muscular system


Anura - frogs & toads

Urodela - salamanders & newts

Apoda - caecilians

Trachystoma - sirens or mud eels

Anuran Characteristics:

Both terrestrial & freshwater species

Tadpole with tail, gills, & two-chambered heart

Adults without a tail, four limbs, & lungs

Frog skin smooth & moist for cutaneous respiration, while toads is rough & warty (poison



Long hind limbs for jumping

Long, forked tongue hinged at front of mouth

Urodela Characteristics:

Includes salamanders & newts

Have elongated bodies with a tail & four limbs

Smooth, moist skin for cutaneous respiration

Less able to stay on dry land than anurans

Spotted Salamander

Size from a few centimeters long to 1.5 meters

Nocturnal when live in drier areas

Newts are aquatic species

Red Spotted Newt

Lay eggs in water or damp soil

Some bear live young

May or may not go through tadpole stage (some hatch & look like small adult)

Apodan Characteristics:

Includes caecilians

Tropical, burrowing, worm like amphibians


Small eyes & often blind

Eat worms & other invertebrates

Average length 30 centimeters, but can grow up to 1.3 meters

internal fertilization

Female bear live young


Trachystoma Characteristics:

Includes mud eels or sirens

Known as "rough mouth" amphibians

Found in eastern U.S. & southern Europe

Have minute forelimbs & no hindlimbs

Mud Eel or Siren

External Frog Anatomy:

Live double life on land & water

Powerful hind legs for jumping & swimming fold under body when at rest

Bulging eyes to stay submerged but still see predators

Blinking eyelids protect eyes from dust & dehydration

Nictitating membranes clear to moisten eye & see underwater

Internal nostrils or nares allow frog to breathe underwater

Tympanic membranes or eardrums behind each eye transmit sound through bone called columella
to inner ear

Eustachian tubes connect mouth & middle ear to equalize pressure

Males croak or make sound to attract females & ward off other males

Have protective coloration from cells called chromatophores

Granular glands secrete foul tasting or poisonous substance

Mucus glands lubricate skin for oxygen to be dissolved & absorbed

Internal Frog Anatomy:

Skeletal System

Nine spinal vertebrae (1 cervical in neck, 7 trunk, & 1 sacral supporting hind legs)

Urostyle long, slim bone connecting sacral vertebrae & trunk

No rib cage, but pectoral girdle forms shoulders & connects front legs

Pelvic girdle connects to hind legs

Digestive System

Tongue sticky, forked, & hinged at front of mouth so can be extended out to catch insects

Can pull eyes inward to help swallow food

Two, sharp, backward-pointing vomerine teeth in roof of mouth help prevent prey from escaping

Maxillary teeth line the edge of the upper jaw

Alimentary canal (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small & large intestines, and cloaca) is where food
is digested, absorbed & wastes eliminated

Stomach makes gastric juices to break down food

Pyloric sphincter muscle controls movement of food from stomach into first part of small
intestine called duodenum

Liver makes bile to digest fats; stored in gall bladder

Pancreas makes pancreatic juice to digest food in small intestine

Ileum is coiled mid portion of small intestine

Mesentery is a fanlike membrane holding the intestine in place

Wastes collect in large intestine & then move into cloaca along with eggs, sperm, & urine until
they leave body through the anus

Circulatory System

Need more oxygen to burn increased amount of food needed to live on land

3 chambered heart (right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from body, left atrium receives
oxygenated blood from lungs, & ventricle pumps blood to lungs & rest of the body)

Double loop blood circulation (pulmonary from heart to lungs & systemic from heart to rest of

Conus arteriosus carries blood from ventricle to body cells

Respiratory System

Tadpoles use gills to breathe

Adult frogs breathe through lungs & moist skin (cutaneous respiration)

Glottis is the opening into throat & lungs

Excretory System

Carbon dioxide excreted through skin & lungs

Kidneys filter blood & store urine in urinary bladder until leaves cloaca

Nervous System

Olfactory lobes at base of brain detect smells

Cerebrum behind olfactory lobes controls muscles

Optic lobes detect sight

Cerebellum controls balance & coordination

Medulla oblongata controls heart rate & breathing

Cranial nerves connect brain & spinal cord, while spinal nerves branch off the spinal cord to
muscles & sensory receptors

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