I find conservation so important to anyone working with animals, or even just interested in animals.
I had lessons on amphibian conservation during my Master Herpetologist degree and learned much about endangered frog species.
There are 7,555 frog and toad species worldwide, according to Amphibiaweb in January 2023 and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identifies 41% of those species as threatened.
Endangered frog species include Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog, Arroyo Toad, and Relict Leopard Frog in North America, Pyrenean Frog, Mallorcan Midwife Toad, Varaldils Spadefoot Toad in Europe, and Ecuador Leaf Frog, and Horned Marsupial Frog in South America.
This table below defines the nine categories of conservation status:
|Not Evaluated||Conservation status for the species has not been evaluated|
|Data Deficient||There is inadequate information to make an accurate assessment of listing status|
|Last Concern||The species is at a low risk of extinction|
|Near Threatened||The species is close to qualifying for threatened status|
|Vulnerable||The species is threatened for extinction|
|Endangered||The species is at a higher risk for extinction|
|Critically Endangered||Highest risk of extinction|
|Extinct in the Wild||The only known individuals of a species are living in captivity|
|Extinct||The species has died out in captivity and in the wild|
Many different criteria, such as wild population status and threats, are evaluated to determine conservation status.
We will focus on species that are classified as endangered.
There is a global amphibian decline occurring right now.
It has been reported to go on for several decades.
Humans play a large role in species decline and in conservation.
|Location||Endangered Species (IUCN)||Frog Species|
|North America||3||Arroyo Toad|
Relict Leopard Frog
|Europe||4||Pyrenean Frog |
Mallorcan Midwife Toad
Varaldils Spadefoot Toad
Betic Midwife Toad
|Asia||227||Helen’s Flying Treefrog |
Labungama Shrub Frog
Bigfoot Shrub Frog
|South America||389||Ecuador Leaf Frog |
Horned Marsupial Frog
Carchi Andes Toad
|Africa||182||Tanzania Screeching Frog |
Nyanga River Frog
Malagasy Rainbow Frog
I made the table above to show how many species in which continents are listed as endangered. We will highlight specific species later.
Remember, this is just to highlight the endangered species, other conservation categories are not included.
The Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog is Endangered
The southern mountain yellow-legged frog lives in forests and wetlands near the Sierra Nevada of California, USA.
The main threats to this species include habitat shifts, drought, forest fires, and introduced fish species.
They are susceptible to amphibian diseases and are managed on protected lands.
The Mallorcan Midwife Toad is Endangered
This toad species, native to Spain in Europe, has exhibited some population increases due to conservation efforts.
They inhabit inland wetland regions and are mainly threatened by predation and competition from introduced species.
Captive breeding and reintroduction efforts have been taken to increase wild population number.
Helen’s Flying Treefrog is Endangered
This species is found in fragmented populations in forests of Vietnam in Asia.
Its population numbers are decreasing due to threats of inadequate habitat due to agricultural and rural expansion.
It is also suspected this species is being harvested for the pet trade and for human food consumption.
The Bigfoot Shrub Frog is Endangered
The Bigfoot shrub frog is found along canopy cover in rainforests in Sri Lanka of South Asia.
It is highly susceptible to habitat changes caused by agriculture, pesticide use, and clearing in the areas it inhabits.
Population numbers are known to be decreasing due to the increase in human activities contributing to destruction of their home forests.
The Ecuador Leaf Frog is Endangered
This species, as its name suggests, is from Ecuador, South America, but may be found in higher elevations in Peru.
They prefer forest leaf litter and are threatened by deforestation in relation to mining in the area.
Large scale mining and open pits lead to logging and human occupation of the forests these species call home.
The Horned Marsupial Frog is Endangered
The arboreal horned marsupial frog, named so for its maternal behavior of carrying her eggs in a pouch, can be found in humid forests of Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador of South America.
It has seen declines and fragmentations in population and disappeared from several locations due to introduced amphibian disease.
Other factors contributing to its decline are deforestation for agricultural uses and human settlement.
The Tanzania Screeching Frog is Endangered
The Tanzania screeching frog now only occurs in the West Usambara Mountains of Tanzania in Africa.
They inhabit leaf litter on montane forests and have not been found outside these habitats, giving the assumption they cannot adapt to changing habitat.
Logging for human purposes seems to be the largest threat and though it occurs in forest reserves, the protection is minimal.
The Malagasy Rainbow Frog is Endangered
This species inhabits rocky canyons, dry forests, and vegetation of southern Madagascar off the coast of Africa.
This species is susceptible to habitat alteration due to mining and logging and livestock grazing.
It is collected for the pet trade and shows higher mortality levels in captivity.
The Varaldi’s Spadefoot Toad is Endangered
This species from North Africa is severely fragmented in Morocco.
It is a fossorial toad that inhabits woodlands, shrublands, wetlands, and can be found in clay and sandy soils.
Several threats contribute to the continuing decline of this species, including habitat degradation for agricultural purposes.
Why Are Frogs Endangered?
41% of the 7,555 species of frogs across the globe fit into a threatened conservation category.
Many factors can contribute to frog species decline, including habitat destruction, climate change, and diseases.
Habitat destruction caused by humans is one of the largest contributors to species decline.
Humans have also introduced invasive species, pollution, and roads into natural amphibian habitats.
Climate change is a naturally occurring cycle, as well as species declines and extinctions. The current climate crisis and amphibian declines are human driven.
Amphibians are ectothermic and rely on moisture for reproduction and respiration.
Climate change and human movements can shift home ranges for species so they can find more suitable habitats.
Learn more about simple ways how you can help save frogs on our blog
AmphibiaWeb. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://amphibiaweb.org
IUCN. 2022. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2022-2. https://www.iucnredlist.org.
Pough, F. H. (2018). Herpetology (4th ed.). Sinauer Associates, Inc., Publishers.