The Amphibians

Class: Amphibia
  • Jessica H. Lewis


Amphibia include two major groups: those with tails (subclass Urodela or Caudata) and those without (subclass Anura or Salientia). The name Amphibia derives from the Greek words amphi (“both”) and bios (“mode of life”). The name is appropriate to most Amphibia, which live partly in water and partly on land. They probably differentiated from early fish during the period of great species expansion that occurred about 300 MYA. They are poikilothermic, with body temperatures dependent on the temperature of the environment. Amphibia are intermediate between fishes and reptiles, with many characteristics of each. Respiration is by gills, lungs, or skin, separately or in combination. Gills are present in the early stages of life or throughout life. All Amphibia reproduce in the water. Fertilization is internal or external. Most Amphibia are oviparous, laying large numbers of eggs enclosed in gelatinous material that sticks the eggs together, forming a handball size mass that can often be seen floating in a pond in the early spring.


Scanning Electron Micrograph Rana Pipiens Rana Catesbeiana Human RBCs Clot Retraction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica H. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Central Blood BankPittsburghUSA

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