What is an AMPHIBIAN?
Amphibian = amphi + bios = “both lives”
So that an amphibious vehicle can “live life” both in and out of water, in the same way that the type of animal called an amphibian “lives life” both in and out of water.
Most amphibians begin life in the water but spend their adulthood on land. They typically hatch from eggs laid in or near a body of water, slowly changing into an adult form that is often quite different in appearance from what hatches out of the egg. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as the variety of amphibian species and their individual adaptations is quite amazing!
All amphibians are ectotherms, meaning they gain most of their body heat from their environment. This limits both their living and eating habits, and is partly responsible for their dependence upon water, which has a much more stable temperature range at any given time of year than do the land habitats. Many amphibians also are able to absorb oxygen and other essential molecules through their skin, but this requires that the skin be moist — the second reason for their dependence upon water.
There are three basic forms or groups of amphibians:
Salientia: salio = “jump” = jumping species such as frogs and toads
Caudata: caudo = “tail” = tailed species such as salamanders and newts
Gymnophonia: gymno = “naked” = limbless species such as caecilians and ichthyophis
Learn more about amphibians:
San Diego Zoo Kids
National Geographic KIDS
Biology for Kids
How Stuff Works
Center for Biological Diversity
Top 100 EDGE Amphibians
Amphibian Survival Alliance
Amphibian Ark — Lesson Plans
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