Endangered Species 2010 Series main post.
The class Amphibia includes three extant orders: Anura (frogs and toads); Caudata (salamanders); Gymnophiona (caecilians). Amphibians typically exhibit a broadly biphasic life-cycle, developing from aquatic, water-breathing juveniles to air-breathing adults. There are, of course, exceptions. Some species mature into neotenous ‘adults’ whereby the sexually mature form retains traits exhibited by juveniles. A well-known example is the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) which is a neotenous species of tiger salamander. Indeed, metamorphosis can be induced in this species, revealing a fully developed – albeit short-lived – adult tiger salamander.
Amphibians are extremely sensitive to environmental disturbance and as such their populations are often severely impacted by pollution, habitat destruction, chemical changes in the environment and temperature and introduced species (among other factors). They are also susceptible to disease, such as the chytridiomycosis fungus which is currently depleting many populations. Due to this sensitivity, amphibians are regarded as important indicator species; many have suffered catastrophic population declines and extinction in recent decades.
 Endangered Species International, Inc. (2007). Amphibians. ESI. Inc. [link]
 Speer, B.R., Waggoner, B. (1995), Introduction to the Amphibia. University of California Museum of Paleontology. [link]
 National Biological Information Infrastructure (N/K). FOcus on Amphibians. NBII. [link]
Frogs and toads (order Anura)
Puerto Rican crested toad (Peltophryne lemur)
This nocturnal toad inhabits limestone outcrops in Puerto Rico. The species common name is derived from the prominent crests which can be seen above the eyes and towards the tip of the snout. As they breed in seasonal pools, habitat destruction is a severe threat, as are introduced species such as the cane toad (Bufo marinus) which may oust P. Lemur from suitable habitat. There may be as few as 250 mature individuals remaining.
Armoured Frog (Litoria lorica)
First described in 1976, L. lorica has been described from four sites in north-east Queensland, Australia. It has been estimated that there are less than 50 mature individuals remaining. Though the species has not been described since 1994, its rainforest habitat has been protected since 1988. A relocation program was undertaken in 2008. The continued decline of this fast-flowing stream specialist may be attributable to disease such as chytridiomycosis.
 Jean-Marc Hero, Michael Cunningham, Ross Alford, Keith McDonald 2004. Litoria lorica. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2010). Litoria lorica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. [link]
 Hero, J.-M., Cunningham, M., Shoo, L., Morrison, C., Stoneham, M. (2002). Litoria lorica. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
Image © Robert Puschendorf.
Archey’s Frog (Leiopelma archeyi)
L. archeyi can be found in the western Whareorino range and eastern Coromandel ranges of Waikato Region, New Zealand; the two sub-populations are geographically isolated. Previously abundant (<1996), the species has experienced an overall population decline of over 80% in the past decade. The most likely threats are predation by introduced mammals and the effects of the chytrid fungus.
 Ben Bell 2004. Leiopelma archeyi. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Wang, C. (2003). Leiopelma archeyi. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
 Haigh, A., Pledger, S., Holzapfel, S. (2007). Population monitoring programme for Archey’s frog (Leiopelma archeyi): pilot studies, monitoring design and data analysis. New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington. [link]
 Potter, J.S., Norman, R.J.deB. (2006) Veterinary care of captive Archey’s frogs, Leiopelma archeyi, at Auckland Zoo. Kokako. 13(2):19-26. [link]
Sumatra toad (Bufo sumatranus)
Rediscovered in 2001 after a 141-year absence, this species is restricted to a range of less than 100km2 in Lubuk Selasi, Sumatra, Indonesia. Despite have a limited distribution, it is apparently fairly abundant therein. Repeated surveys have failed to find specimens elsewhere on the island. Habitat destruction and stream siltation are the primary threats.
 Djoko Iskandar, Mumpuni 2004. Bufo sumatranus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
Image depicts Bufo americanus.
Baw Baw frog (Philoria frosti)
The Baw Baw frog takes its name from the 80km2 plateau it inhabits and which lies some 120km from Melbourne, Australia. There has been a marked decline the number of adult males in the population, though no specific cause has been identified. The plateau has been invaded by several alien species; climate change, UV radiation, pollution and disease have been implicated in the declines of other similarly located species (though no such study has been undertaken in Australia).
 Jean-Marc Hero, Graeme Gillespie, Peter Robertson, Murray Littlejohn, Frank Lemckert 2004. Philoria frosti. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Hero, J.M., Hollis, G., Osborne, W., Malone, B., Shoo, L., Mo, C. (2002). Philoria frosti. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
 Hollis, G. (1997). Recovery plan for the Baw baw frog (Philoria frosti) 1997-2001. Environment Australia. [link]
Image © Julian Bentley.
Karpathos frog (Pelophylax cerigensis)
P. cerigensis is a narrow endemic species restricted to Karpathos Island, Greece. Previously abundant (~1960s), the species has been found in one location; an area of less than 10km2. It is thought that numbers are declining in response to habitat loss and degradation.
 Peter Beerli, Thomas Uzzell, Petros Lymberakis 2008. Pelophylax cerigensis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Beerli, P. (1995). Rana cerigensis. Tree of Life Web Project. [link]
Image © Jan van der Voort.
Table Mountain ghost frog (Heleophryne rosei)
H. rosei is endemic to Table Mountain, South Africa, where it inhabits an area of approximately 9km2. Though adults have been observed in travelling across land, the species is nevertheless restricted to the protected land which describes its known range. The primary threat to this species is habitat alteration due to the presence of invasive flora riparian flora.
 South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG) & IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Heleophryne rosei. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Streeter, C. (2003). Heleophryne rosei. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
Lake Oku clawed frog (Xenopus longipes)
Xenopus species are unique in exhibiting dodecaploidy. X. longipes was first described in 1991; little of the species ecology is currently known. It is only found in Lake Oku, a 10km2 waterbody in central Cameroon. Though the frog is currently abundant within the lake, the introduction of fish by locals for food would likely result in a swift decline.
 Richard Tinsley, John Measey 2004. Xenopus longipes. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Zaman, A. (2006). Xenopus longipes. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
 Edge of Existence (2010). Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes). ZSL. [link]
 AmphibianArk.org (N/K). Taxon management plan for Xenopus longipes. AmphibianArk. [link]
Salamanders (order Caudata)
Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri)
This splendid newt is native to a single catchment in Luristan Province, Iran. Due to seasonal extremes, the species aestivates during the summer and breeding during the winter rains. Somewhat unsurprisingly, there is great demand for this species from the international pet trade. Over-collection and habitat loss have driven the rapid fragmentation and decline of the population. It is thought that fewer than 1000 mature individuals inhabit a range of less than 100km2.
Mozafar Sharifi, Theodore Papenfuss, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Steven Anderson, Sergius Kuzmin 2008. Neurergus kaiseri. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Caudata Culture (2008). Neurergus kaiseri. Caudata.org. [link]
Image © R.D. Bartlett.
Anderson’s salamander (Ambystoma andersoni)
A. andersoni is known only from Zacapa Lake and associated tributaries, Michoacan, Mexico. It is a paedomorph, retaining juvenile characteristics when sexually mature (neoteny). The species exists within a range of less than 100km2. Primary threats are overexploitation for food and recently introduced predatory fish.
 Brad Shaffer, Oscar Flores-Villela, Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake 2008. Ambystoma andersoni. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
Image © R.D. Bartlett.
Gorgan mountain salamander (Paradactylodon gorganensis)
This species is only known from the Shir-Abad cave and its associated stream 60km east of Gorgan, Iran. Approximately 100 adults are remaining, all of which live within the described range (<10km2). Habitat degradation due to people visiting the cave is the greatest threat to the species.
 Theodore Papenfuss, Steven Anderson, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Sergius Kuzmin, Mozafar Sharifi, Göran Nilson 2008. Paradactylodon gorganensis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Kuzmin, S.L. (2000). Paradactylodon gorganensis. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
Image © Mehregan Ebrahimi.
Chinhai spiny newt (Echinotriton chinhaiensis)
This long-lived, slow-growing salamander (the common name is misleading) is endemic to Beilun, Zhejiang Province, China where the two remaining sub-populations (one having been extirpated recently) are found within a range of less than 100km2. Their life history leaves the species vulnerable as they do not achieve maturity until their tenth year. The deleterious impacts of habitat destruction, pollution, human encroachment and collection for scientific collections pose the greatest threats. The individual in the photograph is exhibiting the anti-predator posture known as the unken reflex.
 Xie Feng, Gu Huiqing 2004. Echinotriton chinhaiensis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
 Sparreboom, M., Xie, F. (2009). Echinotriton chinhaiensis. AmphibiaWeb. [link]
Image © Max Sparreboom.
Smith’s false brook salamander (Pseudoeurycea smithi)
There is little information [immediately] available regarding this species. It is found at an altitude of between 2,500 and 3000m above sea level on the Sierra de Juarez, north-western Oaxaca, Mexico. The last record of the species dates from 1999; it may already be extinct in the described locality. Reasons for this decline are unknown; some negative anthropogenic impacts are likely though habitat quality rules these out as primary factors.
 Gabriela Parra-Olea, David Wake 2008. Pseudoeurycea smithi. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
Image © David Wake.
Caecelians (order Gymnophiona)
Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni)
B. niedeni is found only on Sagalla Hill, Kenya where it has a known range of less than 100km2. The type locality is isolated from similar habitat and is declining in quality. Where present, B. niedeni is considered to be quite common. Specific threats are not known, though increased flooding, destruction of montane forest habitat and increased pesticide use may have negative effects.