Recently, the study titled ‘Ongoing declines for the world’s amphibians in the face of emerging threats’ published in the Nature journal reveals significant threats to Amphibians worldwide particularly from Climate Change.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Key Highlights of the Study
Amphibians Face Extinction Threat:
- Two out of every five amphibian species are at risk of extinction.
- Amphibians have the highest global threat percentage, with 40.7% of species being endangered, surpassing mammals, reptiles, and birds.
- Over 300 amphibian species moved closer to extinction between 2004 and 2022, with climate change as the primary threat for 39% of these species.
- Amphibians are highly sensitive to environmental changes, making them vulnerable to climate change.
- Four amphibian species have gone extinct since 2004:
- Examples include the Chiriquí harlequin toad, sharp-snouted day frog, Craugastor myllomyllon, and the Jalpa false brook salamander.
- Greatest Concentration of Threatened Amphibians:
- The highest concentrations of threatened amphibians are found in the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Central America, the tropical Andes region, India’s Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Madagascar.
- Habitat destruction and degradation, stemming from activities like agriculture, infrastructure development, and other industries, are the most common threats to amphibians, affecting 93% of all threatened species.
- Disease caused by the chytrid fungus and overexploitation are also contributing factors.
Climate Change Concerns:
- Climate change has become an increasing concern, driving 39% of status deterioration since 2004, along with habitat loss at 37%.
Salamanders at Risk:
- Three out of every five salamander species are threatened with extinction, primarily due to habitat destruction and climate change.
- Salamanders are identified as the world’s most threatened group of amphibians.
- Amphibians have existed for over 300 million years and are categorized into three orders:
- Salamanders and newts (60% threatened with extinction)
- Frogs and toads (39%)
- Limbless and serpentine caecilians (16%)
- Conservationists intend to utilize the study’s findings to create a global conservation action plan, prioritize conservation efforts, secure additional resources, and influence policies to reverse the negative trend for amphibians.
- Amphibians belong to the Chordata phylum within the Animalia kingdom.
- Examples include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians.
Habitat and Adaptation:
- Amphibians are multicellular vertebrates capable of living in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
- They are the first cold-blooded animals to have appeared on land.
- Cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their internal body temperature with changes in the environment.
Respiration and Circulation:
- Amphibians respire through their lungs and skin.
- They possess three-chambered hearts.
- Amphibians are considered crucial ecological indicators due to their high sensitivity to environmental changes.
- They help assess habitat fragmentation, ecosystem stress, the impact of pesticides, and various human activities.
- Their presence or absence can reflect the health of ecosystems.
Role in Ecosystems:
- Amphibians have a significant ecological role as both predators and prey.
- They contribute to pest control in agriculture and help control diseases like malaria.
- Amphibians have medical significance as their skin contains various peptides with potential applications in curing human diseases.
- Some amphibian compounds are used in painkillers.