Spring Salamander larva (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)


The amphibian fauna of northwest Pennsylvania comprises at least 16 species of salamanders and 10 species of frogs.  Three species of salamanders and nine species of frogs are known from Presque Isle.  Our salamander fauna ranges from the diminutive four-toed salamander at 10 cm (4 in) in length to the eastern hellbender, which can exceed 61 cm (24 in).  Salamanders in northwest Pennsylvania primarily inhabit streams and moist woodlands, but the mudpuppy has been collected from Lake Erie at a depth of 17 meters (57 ft), and eastern newts occur in a wide variety of ponds and lakes.  The frogs of the region include diverse species like the spring peeper with a powerful voice that belies its tiny size, and the bullfrog, which is large enough to consume small vertebrates like snakes and even birds.  Our frogs can be found in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, but never far from the water necessary for breeding.  Scientists have documented alarming declines in many amphibian species, especially frogs, worldwide.  Museum records provide critical documentation of the occurrence of amphibians and other organisms that assist in analyzing population changes and help determine conservation strategies.