Taxonomy and Amphibian Declines

Sherman A. Minton

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Taxonomy and Amphibian Declines

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Any attempt to describe the extent and significance of biodiversity requires a clear and workable system of classification. This is especially true of conservation efforts with a goal of the recognition and protection of threatened populations. However, the past decade has seen a major revision in systematics with some authorities going so far as to state that the Linneaen system of classification and nomenclature has outlived its usefulness. The species concept is a particular point of controversy in the taxonomy of higher organisms. The subspecies concept is even more controversial, although it has been used effectively in herpetology for many years. Perhaps the most interesting problem involves salamanders of the Ambystoma jeffersonianum complex. This chapter explores issues associated with taxonomy and amphibian population declines. First, it provides a history and calls attention to some taxonomic problems involving amphibians of the midwestern United States and southern Canada. It also examines species identification involving toads of the genus Bufo, frogs in the Rana pipiens complex, and treefrogs in the Hyla versicolor complex.

Keywords: United States; taxonomy; Canada; amphibians; population declines; classification; conservation; nomenclature; salamanders; toads

Chapter.  4005 words. 

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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