The Endangered Amphibians of
The Flatwoods Salamander
To begin: what is an amphibian?
Amphibian is from the Greek amphibios,
or two lives.
Amphibians are cold blooded animals that
both in and out of water. They usually go
through a change
or metamorphosis and become another
All Amphibians have thin skin which is quite susceptible
temperature changes, so they are careful
not to get too hot or
Salamanders are long, slender bodied Amphibians,
between three and five inches long,
with short legs and a long tail.
They may live up to ten years.
At first glance, Salamanders may appear to resemble
Lizards which are Reptiles, but, their nearest relatives
are actually Frogs and Toads, which are Amphibians,
and like them they also lead double lives,
going in and out of the water.
Salamanders capture their food, which consists mostly
of insects, spiders and worms by flicking
their long tongue and catching their prey.
Their Ancestral Habitat has been in the
Southeast Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.
They are Fossorial, meaning they would rather
live underground in sandy soil hidden under a log,
or in little burrows that they have dug.
The Flatwoods Salamander is Endangered for the same
reason most other Florida species are, loss of habitat.
Its ancestral home, the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem,
has been decimated and so have they.
A Flatwoods Salamander
Photo credit: FWS
It occurs now only in Northern Florida, Southern Georgia,
Alabama and South Carolina, or exactly where
the Longleaf Pines once dominated the South.
This Amphibian has become one of the most
Endangered Species in the United States.
Amphibians have become the Canary of Wildlife,
and they are disappearing in unthinkable numbers.
Those who still remain demonstrate alarming
genetic alterations or anomalies and sexual morphing
and clearly illustrate for all the world to see,
that our casual use of chemicals everywhere everyday
is dangerous and having profound consequences.
The most frightening fact of all, is that Amphibians
are not the only ones who are being affected.
Places to learn more:
Animal Diversity Web
Effects of Clearcutting on Amphibians
San Diego Zoo
St. Louis Zoo
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Flatwoods Salamanders Gets Endangered Listing
Walking with the Alligators
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