Amphibians of Canada

spotted salamander

Amphibians of Canada total of 49 species – 2 newt, 1 mudpuppy, 20 salamander, 18 frog and 7 toad species – found in all provinces and territories. The table below shows where they all live, broken down by province and territory.

Most of these animals are found in the southern portion of the country, but one tiny frog – the Wood Frog – can be found as far north as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and The Yukon.

In a country where much of the fresh water freezes solid throughout the winter months, our amphibians, like the spotted salamander on the right, are masters of survival.

 

Hiding Below The Ground

Many species use abandoned animal burrows, or self dug burrows, to escape the freezing winter conditions or long summer droughts.

Temperatures in the ground below frost level are warm enough for them to survive the winter, and cool enough for them to withstand scorching summer temperatures and hot, dry periods.

Aquatic amphibians may spend the winter in water that is too deep or fast flowing to freeze solid. There is enough oxygen beneath the ice to keep them alive. Tadpoles and salamander larvae may spend the winter buried in the mud at the pond bottom.

Freezing & Thawing

Some frogs are freeze tolerant, and survive temperatures as low as -6C. Their body increases specialized protein and glucose to protect the cells from freezing and drying. Ice crystals form beneath the skin and through the muscles. Up to 60% of body fluids freeze, circulation stops and the heart stops pumping. In spring they thaw and resume life.

Strength in Numbers

For many salamander species, communal nesting sites are the answer. Multiple females will lay their eggs in a particularly choice site, rather than use a less desirable one on their own. This improves the chance of a successful hatching, and is common in areas where good nesting sites are scarce.

Darker is Better

Dark colours absorb heat from the sun more readily than lighter ones. Larvae of most amphibians are dark green, brownish or black. They often swarm together, increasing the size of the mass to absorb more heat. Eggs are also laid in large masses so the small dark embryos can attract more heat. The thick jelly holding the eggs together acts as an insulator against the cold.

British ColumbiaThe PrairiesOntario & Quebec
-Roughskin newt
-Eastern long-toed salamander
-Northern long-toed salamander
-Western long-toed salamander
-Northwestern salamander
-Oregon Ensatina
-Gray tiger salamander
-Barred tiger salamander
-Coastal giant salamander
-Coeur D'Alene salamander
-Ensatina
-Western redback salamander
-Coastal tailed frog
-Rocky Mountain tailed frog
-Boreal chorus frog
-Pacific treefrog
Bullfrog (introduced)
-Colombia spotted frog
-Oregon spotted frog
Red-legged frog
-Wood frog
Boreal toad
-Great basin spadefoot Toad
-Gray tiger salamander
-Barred tiger salamander
-Plains spadefoot toad
-Great plains toad
-Canadian toad
-Boreal chorus frog
-Northern leopard frog
-Wood frog
*
Alberta Only
-Northern long-toed salamander
-Boreal toad
-Columbia spotted frog
*
Manitoba Only
-Mudpuppy
-Blue-spotted salamander
-American toad
-Cope's gray treefrog
-Gray treefrog
-Spring peeper
-Green frog
-Mink frog
-Mudpuppy
-Blue-spotted salamander
-Spotted salamander
-Eastern newt
-Dusky salamander
-Northern two-lined salamander
-Four-toed salamander
-Redback salamander
-American toad
-Gray treefrog
-Spring peeper
-Boreal chorus frog
-Western chorus frog
-Bullfrog
-Green frog
-Pickerel frog
-Northern leopard frog
-Mink frog
-Wood frog
*
Ontario Only
-Jefferson's salamander
-Smallmouth salamander
-Allegheney Mountain dusky salamader
-Fowler's toad
-Blanchard's cricket frog
*
Quebec Only
-Northern spring salamander
The Maritimes
Labr. & Newfoundl.The Territories
-Blue-spotted salamander
-Spotted salamander
-Eastern newt
-Green frog
-Redback salamander
-Northern leopard frog
*
New Brunswick Only
-Dusky salamander
-Northern two-lined salamander
-Gray treefrog
-Wood frog
*
Nova Scotia & NB
-Four-toed salamander
-American toad
-Bullfrog
-Pickerel frog
-Mink frog
-Blue-spotted salamander
-Northern two-lined salamander
-American toad
-Green frog
-Northern leopard frog
-Mink frog
-Wood frog
*
Introduced to Newfoundland
-American toad
-Green frog
-Wood frog
-Wood Frog
*
Yukon Only
-Boreal toad
-Columbia spotted frog
*
NWT Only
-Northern leopard frog
-Boreal chorus frog

See the Canadian Reptile & Amphibian Conservation Network (CARCNET) for more information

Spotted Salamander picture courtesy CARCNET

Information taken from the book Canadian Skin & Scales, written by Pat Bumstead

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