Species At Risk

Amphibians at Risk

Ontario's amphibians face threats on land and in water

What creatures spend the first part of their lives in water, breathing with gills, and the second part on land, breathing with lungs - or through their skin? The answer is amphibians, and Ontario has 26 different kinds - frogs, toads and salamanders.

Unfortunately, one kind of frog, one toad and four types of salamanders are at risk of disappearing from the province. Two types of salamanders are no longer found in Ontario at all.

Ontario's amphibians are threatened by loss of habitat. Since they spend part of their life in water and part on land, they are exposed to a wider range of threats during their lifetimes than water-only or land-only species. They are especially vulnerable to threats in the environment, since their skin absorbs chemicals from the air and water.

Amphibians are an important part of Ontario's biodiversity. Scientists see them as "indicator species" - animals that can signal potentially dangerous changes in the environment because they are so sensitive to it.

Check out the links below to learn more about Ontario's amphibians at risk, including how you can help protect them.

Amphibians

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
endangered
When seized by a predator, the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander has the ability to self-amputate its tail which continues to twitch, acting as an excellent diversion while the salamander escapes. A new tail soon replaces the old one.
Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Northern Cricket Frog)
endangered
This species is an excellent swimmer and is capable of leaping up to almost two metres in a single jump to escape predators.
Eastern Tiger Salamander
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
extirpated
TBD
Fowler's Toad
Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)
endangered
Fowler’s Toads are nocturnal and are mostly active at night, but can occasionally be seen during rainy, overcast days.
Jefferson Salamander
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
threatened
Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time – up to 30 years.
Northern Dusky Salamander
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
endangered
Northern Dusky Salamanders were once thought to be absent from Ontario, despite many historical reports, but were recently rediscovered in 1989.
Small-mouthed Salamander
Small-mouthed Salamander (Ambystoma texanum)
endangered
Salamanders can take in oxygen through their highly permeable skin. Their skin can also easily absorb pollutants and other toxins, which can cause serious harm or death.
Spring Salamander
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)
extirpated
TBD