|Florida Nature: Endangered Amphibians|
Amphibians have a high success rate in Florida. There are currently no
endangered or threatened amphibians listed by the State of Florida but
there is one federally endangered amphibian (Reticulated Flatwoods
salamander) one federally threatened
amphibian (Frosted Flatwoods salamander) and four species of special concern in the state of Florida. For
further information on Florida, you may want to purchase a book from our
Florida Nature Library. Don't miss our "Nature
Videos" slideshow set to music! The five species of special concern
are listed below:
Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma bishopi) The reticulated Flatwoods salamander is a species of mole salamander that is native to a small portion of the southeastern coastal plain in the western panhandle of Florida and extreme southwestern Georgia, occurring west of the Apalachicola River. Reticulated Flatwoods salamanders feed on earthworms and spiders for the most part part. They are a long slender salamander that can get to be about ranges in length from five inches to almost 5 1/2 inches in length. These endangered salamanders migrate to ponds or other small fresh waterways to breed between the months of October and January. The female reticulated Flatwoods salamander lays a clutch of eggs hidden in sticks or twigs along the shoreline. The clutch, consisting of no more than 35 eggs hatches in approximately 48 hours. The main risk for these salamanders is their loss of habitat due to an increase in agriculture and threats to the water table also pose a threat because the water is necessary for the eggs to hatch.
Georgia Blind Salamander (Haideotriton wallacei)- The Georgia Blind Salamander no eyes or pigment. It has bright red feathery external gills, long, thin legs, and a finned tail. It reaches a length of only 3". Its name is due to the fact that the specimen was first discovered in a 200 foot well in Albany, Georgia. It has since been discovered in Climax Cave in Decatur County Georgia, but for the most part they are distributed in 11 cave systems along the Florida Panhandle around Jackson County. The Georgia blind salamander is the only vertebrate cave dweller in Floridian caves. Georgia blind salamanders live a slow-moving life, creeping over the bottom and up along walls of caves. They are more common close to cave entrances, as food is more plentiful here. They feed on a variety of cave crayfishes, isopods, copepods, and detritus. Because of its limited distribution, the Georgia blind salamander has been seriously threatened by habitat loss. As a result the species is now protected in both states where they reside.
Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum) The frosted Flatwoods salamanders listed as federally threatened. This salamander is about the same size as other flatland salamanders, reaching a length of a little over five inches. The Frosted Flatland salamander has a silvery gray or black body with white spots that are less distinct than on the reticulated Flatwoods salamander, and have a small head and a black belly. Spiders and earthworms are the most common foods for the salamander who is found in longleaf pine Flatwoods that have scattered wetlands for the salamanders to hatch their eggs in. Frosted Flatwoods Salamanders are found east of the Apalachicola River in Franklin, Wakulla, Liberty, Jefferson, and Baker counties.
Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii)- The Pine barrens tree frog is only about 1–3 inches long and is one of the smaller species of tree frogs. Members of the species are predominantly green, with wide dark stripes. They often have spotted orange-gold markings on the hidden surfaces of their legs, and also tend to have large toe pads. Pine Barrens tree frogs are most commonly found in brushy areas, often near peat bogs or shallow ponds. They usually inhabit areas carpeted with thick moss. Adults are terrestrial, but tend to reside near water sources. Unlike most frogs, Pine barrens tree frog are tolerant of low pH levels, and often lay eggs in shallow, acidic ponds. Members of the species are currently distributed in three distinct populations: New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Sandhills of North and South Carolina, and the Florida Panhandle area.
Florida Bog Frog (Rana okaloosae)- Bog Frogs have rough dark green to brown backs, black mottled undersides, yellow throats, and may have light spots on the lower jaw. A light brown line runs along the lateral fold and does not reach the groin area. This frog is less than 2 inches long. This frog is uncommon in Florida and is found only in a few acidic streams in Walton, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties in the panhandle. The Florida bog frog will call from spring to summer with a call which sounds like a chuckle -- a series of low-pitched single clucking calls, noticeably slower at the end of the call.
Gopher Frog (Rana capito)- These nocturnal frogs are noted for their short, stubby appearance. Their backs are marked heavily with dark spots, sometimes causing a clouded pattern. Their dorsolateral ridges are very distinctive. This frog will reach a length of 4.33 in. The gopher frog usually spends daylight hours in burrows, holes, or tunnels that are created by other animals. The Gopher frog primarily inhabits the threatened sandhill communities, flat woods, and scrub in the Atlantic coastal plain, where it is usually found near ponds. The gopher frog breeds on spring nights in very wet conditions. They seem to be rare, but their secretive nature makes it difficult to determine their true population status.
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