Center for Biological Diversity



Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that are most similar to fishes and reptiles. Like fishes, amphibians can live in the water. Like reptiles, many amphibians can also live on land. In fact, amphibians were the first vertebrate to move from a water habitat to a terrestrial one.


Arroyo toad

California red-legged frog

California tiger salamander

Chiricahua leopard frog

Columbia spotted frog

Oregon spotted frog

Sonora tiger salamander

Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frog

Yosemite toad

Amphibians are among the most imperiled species on earth. Scientific research is providing mounting evidence that amphibians are in trouble. Ubiquitous toxins, global warming, ozone depletion, the introduction of nonnative fish, and habitat destruction are key factors leading to the demise. However, amphibian declines are also present in some of our largest National parks and wilderness areas. Up to one-third of 230 native species in the United States are declining in numbers. Frog deformities have been reported in 42 states. Most disturbing, according to the U.S. Department of Interior, is that the population declines are "global, sudden, and precipitous."

Amphibians are good "indicators" of significant environmental
changes that may go initially undetected by humans. The worldwide decline and deformaties of amphibians reveals our ecosystems are in trouble.

The Center is working to halt this trend. Since our inception over ten years ago we have been working to protect amphibian populations across the southwest, and more recently across the west. Our amphibian program includes the following:

  • Petitioned to list the California Tiger Salamander as Endangered.
  • Petitioned and litigated to list the Chiricahua leopard frog as endangered in AZ and NM. Has been proposed for listing.
  • Petitioned and litigated to list the Sonora tiger salamander as endangered in AZ and Sonora. Has been listed as endangered
  • Petitioned to list Yosemite toad as endangered in CA. Awaiting initial finding.
  • Petitioned to list Sierra Nevada Mountain yellow-legged frog as endangered in CA. Awaiting initial finding.
  • Filed suit to list the California tiger salamanders as endangered in CA. Santa Barbara population was listed as endangered.
  • On 3/24/99 filed suit to designate critical habitat in CA for the California red-legged from. 5.4 million acres proposed on 9/11/2000.
  • Filed suit to designate critical habitat in CA for the Arroyo southwestern toad. Has been proposed.
Other Amphibian Information