Clyde Amphibian and Reptile Group

Amphibians

There are around 7,800 recognised species of amphibians around the globe from three orders:

  • The Anura (frogs and toads) of around 6,900 species;
  • The Caudata or Urodeles (newts and salamanders) of around 700 species; and
  • The Gymniophiona (caecilians) of around 200 species.
 
In the UK, we are most familiar with the frogs, toads and newts. However, the caecilians which superficially resemble large erthworms, are entirely restricted to the tropics.
 
All amphibians are poikilothermic, this means that their body temperature tracks that of the surrounding environment, they don't bask to raise their temperatures like reptiles do, and they don't produce their own body heat.
 
Amphibians are important and beneficial in many ways:
  • They play an important role in nature as both predator and prey, sustaining the delicate balance of nature.
  • They eat pest invertebrates, benefitting successful agriculture around the world and minimising the spread of disease, including malaria.
  • The skin of amphibians has substances that protect them frm some microbes and viruses. This fofers possible medical cures for a variety of human diseases.
  • Frogs have held a special place in various human cultures for centuries, cherished as agents of life and good luck.
 

Within the Clyde catchment area, there are five native species of amphibians, details about each can be found below.

 

Amphibians

Common frog

LIfe HISTORY The common frog (Rana temporaria) is the most widespread species of amphibian in the Clyde catchment area, encountered in both urban and rural settings. WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?  Common frogs have smooth, moist skin. Adults can grow to 9cm (nose to vent). They are generall a shade...

Common toad

Life History Common toads (Bufo bufo) are frequently encountered in the Clyde catchment, often mistaken for frogs their warty skin, dumpy legs, and preference for walking are the main identifying features. What do they look like? Common toads can grow to 8cm for males and up to 13cm for...

Palmate newt

Life History The palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) is the most common newt species within the Clyde catchent area, commonly encountered breeding in just about any body of water. What do they look like? The palmate newt is the smallest British amphibian. Their lenght is around 7-11 cm, but in...

Smooth newt

Life History Smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) are the least abundant species of newt in Scotland, despite beng the most common in the UK overall. With a atchy local distribution, these newts are encountered much less frequently than the closely related palmate newts. What do they look...

Great crested newt

Life History Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) are Britain’s largest and rarest newt species, locally abundant around parts of the Clyde catchment. What do they look like? Adults Great crested newts can reach 15-18 cm in length. The back of the body is generally dark brown to black with...

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