Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Amphibians possess a unique combination of physical and biological characteristics which make them sensitive to environmental changes such as pollution and loss of aquatic habitat. Amphibians also play an important role in food chains where they may constitute large portions of other animals' diets. While small fishes or other amphibians prey upon larval amphibians, many mammals and birds rely on a dult amphibians for food. Amphibians also are economically important locally and regionally. For example, local bait dealers sell frogs to anglers and schools buy frogs from biological supply companies for use in classroom dissection exercises.
Public interest in, and concern for, the welfare of our natural environment has increased during the past few decades. People are eager to learn and understand more about the plants, animals, and habitats that surround them. Frequently their initial interest is sparked by the ability to identify different species of plants and animals. Although several states have published books , field guides, or technical bulletins regarding amphibians, this is the first comprehensive publication regarding the amphibians of South Dakota.
This guide is meant to be useful to anyone wanting to learn more about these often secretive creatures. Included in this guide are tips for identification, brief life histories, and distribution maps of the species that currently or historically have been known to inhabit South Dakota . Distribution maps are based on current (Fischer 1998) and historical (Thompson 1976) distributional records.
South Dakota amphibian photos
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State University
Fischer, T. D.; Backlund, D. C.; Higgins, K. F.; and Naugle, D. E., "A Field Guide to South Dakota Amphibians" (1999). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 736.