What is the United States doing about amphibian deformity and decline issues?

In response to indications of worldwide declines in amphibian populations, Interior Department agencies were directed to initiate a national program of amphibian monitoring, research, and conservation. There is an urgent need to determine the scope and severity of the problem and to investigate causes. As a result, the USGS formed the National Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). The main goals and objectives of ARMI are to:

  • Provide information to natural resource managers on the status and trends of amphibians.
  • Relate status and trends to management options at the scale of management units.
  • Identify causes of declines.
  • Provide essential scientific information to support effective management actions to arrest or reverse declines

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What causes deformities in frogs, toads, and other amphibians?

Malformed frogs first came to national attention in 1995. Since that time, reports of malformed frogs and other amphibians have increased dramatically. Malformations have been reported in at least 44 states and in more than 50 species of frogs and toads. Multiple limbs, missing limbs, and facial abnormalities are the main malformations seen. Frog...

How many amphibian species are there in the United States?

More than 6,000 amphibian species exist worldwide, with approximately 300 of them found in the United States. The USGS is the lead agency for the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) , a program of amphibian monitoring, research, and conservation that was established in response to the worldwide decline of amphibian species.

Why are frog and toad populations declining? 

Research suggests that even though amphibians are severely declining worldwide, there is no smoking gun – and thus no simple solution – to halting or reversing these declines. Though every region in the United States has suffered amphibian declines, threats differ among regions. They include: Human influence from the Mississippi River east,...
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Date published: December 13, 2016

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. 

Date published: May 23, 2016

New Research Confirms Continued, Unabated and Large-Scale Amphibian Declines: Local Action Key to Reversing Losses

New U.S. Geological Survey-led research suggests that even though amphibians are severely declining worldwide, there is no smoking gun – and thus no simple solution – to halting or reversing these declines.

Date published: February 22, 2016

Deadly Amphibian Fungus Abroad Threatens Certain U.S. Regions

The areas of the United States that are most at risk of a potentially invasive salamander fungus are the Pacific coast, the southern Appalachian Mountains and the mid-Atlantic regions, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey report.

Date published: January 20, 2016

Invasive Amphibian Fungus Could Threaten US Salamander Populations

A deadly fungus causing population crashes in wild European salamanders could emerge in the United States and threaten already declining amphibians here, according to a report released today by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Black and green Sonoran tiger salamander in gloved hand of a USGS researcher
December 5, 2016

Sonoran tiger salamander to be swabbed for disease

Sonoran tiger salamander to be swabbed for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans and other diseases in Sonora, Mexico. Photo taken on April 28, 2015.

Image: Salamander
March 15, 2016

Salamander

An unknown hybrid species of salamander captured in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Image: Salamander
March 15, 2016

Salamander

An unknown hybrid species of salamander captured in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Image: Measuring a Frog in the Cascades
March 15, 2016

Measuring a Frog in the Cascades

USGS researchers Brome McCreary (orange vest) and Chris Pearl take measurements on Cascades frog at a mountain lake in Oregon.

February 19, 2016

Amphibian in the Southeast, WARC

Amphibian in the Southeast, ARMI, WARC

February 1, 2016

Armi image of researchers

USGS researchers

Image: Surveying Bullfrogs
December 31, 2014

Surveying Bullfrogs

USGS biologists surveying for bullfrogs at Two Moon Park, Billings, MT.

Image: Weighing a Toad
July 31, 2013

Weighing a Toad

USGS technician weighing a Yosemite toad in the field.

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rough-skinned newt
March 15, 2012

Testing disease spread amongst amphibians

Testing disease spread amongst rough-skinned newts at wetland near Salem, OR

video thumbnail: Advancing ARMI: In Search for Chytrid Fungus
March 14, 2012

Advancing ARMI: In Search for Chytrid Fungus

In this episode, we follow a group of students from the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School on a class trip to Pintail Marsh at the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. There they join USGS ecologist Tara Chestnut to investigate and sample for the amphibian chytrid fungus. Join us, as we explore how research and wonder can bring greater light to this potentially fatal

Attribution: Ecosystems
Sampling for  batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), organism that causes Chytrid disease in amphibians.
April 30, 2009

Sampling for organism that causes disease in amphibians, Alabama.

Sampling for batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), Little Ugly Creek, Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge, Bibb County, Alabama 

Dan Calhoun, USGS, is sampling the stream for the organism that causes Chytrid disease in amphibians. This project is part of the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

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