Amphibians are an important component of many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Amphibian eggs, larvae, and adults provide an important food source for fish, birds and mammals. Conversely, as predators, amphibians eat enormous numbers of insects, algae and detritus.
The physiology and life cycle of amphibians also make them excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Because most amphibians have aquatic and terrestrial life stages, population declines can signify changes in both types of environments. Moreover, because amphibians have moist, permeable skins, they are in intimate contact with their environment and susceptible to changes in water and air quality. As cold- blooded animals, amphibians are also sensitive to changes in temperature.
Of the 27 amphibian species and subspecies native to Ontario, eight are classified as at risk under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). The scarcity of some species in Ontario, however, may be partly because Southern Ontario represents the northern limit of their distribution and they were never common or widespread here. While populations at the edge of a species’ range have been viewed by some as of limited conservation concern, these populations are important because they are often genetically distinct and necessary to preserving the genetic diversity and long-term survival of the species.
Over the last several decades, declines have been observed in several amphibian species in Ontario, including the spring peeper, Jefferson salamander, pickerel frog, northern cricket frog, bullfrog and northern leopard frog.
Pages in category "Amphibians"
The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.