Amphibians: A Very Short Introduction [#670]
Amphibians: A Very Short Introduction [#670]


  • Explores the extraordinary diversity of amphibians, from the history of early tetrapods to the 8,000 species of amphibians alive today
  • Discusses the evolutionary history of amphibians, and the adaptations which have equipped them to occupy their interphase habitat between freshwater and land
  • Analyses the fascinating courtship and parental behaviour of various species
  • Contemplates the threats to amphibians which humans pose, and their possible risk of extinction

From frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, to the lesser-known caecilians, there are over 8,000 species of amphibians alive today. Characterised by their moist, naked skin and the tadpole phase of their lives, they are uniquely adapted to occupy the interphase habitat between freshwater and land.
This Very Short Introduction explores amphibians' evolution, adaptations, and biology, from the first emergence of tetrapods onto land 370 million years ago, to how their permeable skin enables them to thrive in their habitat today. T. S. Kemp describes how different amphibians go about their lives, looking in particular at their complex courtship behaviour and their extraordinary means of providing care for their eggs and larvae. Finally, he considers amphibians' relationship to humans, and the ways in which they have been exploited as food, folk medicine, and pets, as well as used in many areas of scientific research. Today amphibians face a serious threat, with almost half of species judged to be at risk of extinction. As the causes include habitat destruction, pollution, and disease, mostly resulting from human activity, T. S. Kemp shows that the conservation of amphibians is very much in our hands.


List of figures
1:What is an amphibian?
2:The evolution of amphibian
3:Reproduction and life histories
4:How amphibians move
5:How amphibians feed
6:The amphibians' world: sense organs and communication
7:Amphibians and humans
8:Conservation and the future of amphibians
Further reading


T. S. Kemp, Emeritus Fellow, St John's College, University of Oxford
T. S. Kemp was appointed Tutor in Zoology at St John's College, Oxford in 1975, where he conducted undergraduate teaching courses on vertebrate evolution and biology, and on palaeobiology. He was also Senior Dean for several years before his retirement in 2009, when he was elected Emeritus Research Fellow, and appointed Honorary Research Associate of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. T. S. Kemp's published titles include, among others, Reptiles: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2019), Mammals: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2017), and The Origins and Evolution of Mammals (OUP, 2005). His research and field collecting have taken him on expeditions to Zambia, South Africa, Australia, and India, and since 2013, he and his wife have travelled extensively in southern Africa, observing and photographing wildlife.


ISBN : 9780198842989

T. S. Kemp
160 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Amphibians: A Very Short Introduction [#670]

Amphibians: A Very Short Introduction [#670]

Amphibians: A Very Short Introduction [#670]