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South Central ARMI Graphic

Introduction
Frog & Toad Species
Salamander Species
Glossary of Terms
Research Team
References
Photos

South Central ARMI

Guide to Louisiana Amphibians

Glossary of Terms

Click on a term below to jump directly to the definition.

Aestivate: to become dormant during an environmentally stressful period.

Arboreal: adapted to inhabit trees. For example, a koala bear is arboreal because it spends most of its life in a tree.

Bottomland hardwoods: a forested floodplain containing primarily hardwood trees.

Cirri: prominent, elongated bumps extending from the nostrils of some species of male salamanders in the genus Plethodon and Eurycea.

Cranial crests: prominent ridges that occur on the heads of toads.

Disjunct population: a completely separate and removed population of individuals in a species.

Diurnal: active during the day. For example, a human is active during the day and sleeps at night.

Dorsal: used to reference the back or upper area of an animal.

Dorsolateral ridges: ridges that occur between the middle and the sides of the back on frogs.

Dorsum: the back or upper area of an animal.

Ephemeral pool: semi-permanent or temporary wetland that fills with water seasonally, which creates exceptional habitat and breeding grounds for certain amphibian species incapable of coexisting with fish and other animals requiring permanent pools of water. Synonymous with “isolated wetlands.”

Flash colors: used to describe bright colors located on the inner thigh of some species of frogs and toads. Biologists believe that the inner thighs are colored this way, so that when they move to escape a predator the colors will confuse and distract the predator and allow the frog or toad to escape.

Flatwoods: areas that were historically dominated by hardwoods, longleaf pine, palmetto, and wiregrass.

Florida Parishes: parishes located in eastern Louisiana that were part of Florida in the 19th century. Included in this group are East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Livingston Parish, St. Helena Parish, St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Washington Parish, and West Feliciana Parish.

Fossorial: adapted to live underground. For example, a worm is fossorial.

Granular: coarse. Often used to describe the skin of some species of frogs and toads.

Herpetofauna: reptiles and amphibians.

Hybrid: a term used to describe an individual created from the mating and reproduction of two distinct species. For example, a mule is a hybrid between a donkey and a horse.

Intergradation: a transitional stage.

Interorbital crests/ridges: raised skin that occurs between the eyes of toads.

Introduced species: a species that does not naturally occur in an area. Individuals generally brought to a new area by humans. Synonymous with “nonnative species.”

Isolated wetlands: semipermanent or temporary wetland that fills with water seasonally, which creates exceptional habitat and breeding grounds for certain amphibian species incapable of coexisting with fish and other animals requiring permanent pools of water. Synonymous with “ephemeral pools.”

Longleaf pine forests: Upland forested areas with dry, sandy soils that are dominated by longleaf pines.

Marsh: a freshwater, saltwater, or brackish low-lying ecosystem where terrestrial and aquatic habitats overlap. Heavily vegetated with rushes, grasses, sedges, and other water-tolerant vegetation.

Mottle: irregular spotting. Often used to describe patterns on the skin of amphibians.

Neotenic: mature individuals that retain immature characteristics. For example, mudpuppies retain gills into adulthood and are therefore considered neotenic.

Nocturnal: active at night. For example, a bat is active at night and sleeps during the day.

Nonnative species: a species that does not naturally occur in an area and has been introduced. Individuals are generally brought to a new area by humans. Synonymous with “introduced species.”

Ovoviviparous: eggs develop and hatch inside the female’s body without receiving nutrients from the female.

Parish: an administrative subdivision similar to counties in other States.

Parotoid: pair of glands resembling warts, which are present in the postorbital, neck, or shoulder area of a toad.

Posterior: towards the back.

Postorbital crest/ridges: raised skin that occurs behind the eyes of toads.

Prairie: a grassy, unforested area.

Secretion: a liquid produced by the skin glands of certain amphibians. For example, the Louisiana slimy salamander, Plethodon kisatchie, produces sticky skin secretions.

Sexual dimorphism: males and females of the same species exhibit different physical characteristics.

Snout-vent length: a common measurement taken when recording length of amphibians. The distance from the snout to the cloaca of an individual.

Spermatophore: a gelatinous case or packet containing sperm.

Terrestrial: adapted to live aboveground. For example, humans live on the ground.

Tibia: the length of the leg between the knee and the heel of frogs and toads.

Trill: musical sound created by alternating two notes. Sound made by certain species of frogs and toads.

Tympanum/tympani: eardrums. Prominent on members of the genus Rana.

Upland hardwoods: Upland forests with fine-grained, chalky soils that are inhabited by hardwood trees.

Ventral: term used to reference the belly or lower area of an animal.

Venter: the belly or lower area of an animal.

Vestigial: degenerate or small. For example, lesser sirens, Siren lacertina, have two front, vestigial limbs.

Webbing: thin skin adjoining the toes of some frogs and toads.

Return to list of species

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