What is an amphibian?

Amphibians are a group of animal's which are semi-aquatic splitting their time between land and water.

They share a thin skin through which they can breathe and can transfer water.

Most amphibians move through a life cycle during which they start as an egg, hatch in to a larva and then move in to their adult form. In their larval stage amphibians have gills so they can breathe in the water.

Amphibians are ectothermic animals and they lack the ability to regulate their own temperature.

Many amphibian species are threatened as a result of damage to their environment. They are vulnerable to illness as a result of their specialized skin.

red eyed tree frog

Record Breaking Amphibians

Paedophryne amauensis

Photo Credit: Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Gründler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC, CC BY 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The world's smallest amphibian

The world's smallest amphibian is also the smallest recognized vertebrate (animal with a backbone).

The impossibly tiny Paedophryne amauensis grows to just 7.7 mm (0.30 in) long and can be found in Papua New Guinea. It was first described in 2009.

We will add further information on this species soon.


Photo Credit: By Petr Hamerník – Zoo Praha, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The world's largest amphibian

The largest amphibian on Earth is the Chinese giant salamander. Adult individuals have been recorded at lengths of up to 2m (6.6ft) long.

Research suggests their are actually five species with one of them taking the crown but most captive individuals are the result of crossbreeding.

Types of Amphibians

The amphibia class is made up of three main groups. These are,

  • Frogs and Toads
  • Salamanders, Newts and Mudpuppies
  • Caecilians

There are 5,500 known amphibian species.


Amphibian Fact Files


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