The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians
by Kentwood D. Wells
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-226-89334-1 | Electronic: 978-0-226-89333-4


Consisting of more than six thousand species, amphibians are more diverse than mammals and are found on every continent save Antarctica. Despite the abundance and diversity of these animals, many aspects of the biology of amphibians remain unstudied or misunderstood. The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians aims to fill this gap in the literature on this remarkable taxon. It is a celebration of the diversity of amphibian life and the ecological and behavioral adaptations that have made it a successful component of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Synthesizing seventy years of research on amphibian biology, Kentwood D. Wells addresses all major areas of inquiry, including phylogeny, classification, and morphology; aspects of physiological ecology such as water and temperature relations, respiration, metabolism, and energetics; movements and orientation; communication and social behavior; reproduction and parental care; ecology and behavior of amphibian larvae and ecological aspects of metamorphosis; ecological impact of predation on amphibian populations and antipredator defenses; and aspects of amphibian community ecology. With an eye towards modern concerns, The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians concludes with a chapter devoted to amphibian conservation.

An unprecedented scholarly contribution to amphibian biology, this book is eagerly anticipated among specialists.


Kentwood D. Wells is professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut.


"More than a quarter-century in the making, and weightier than a doorstop...the definitive one-volume work on the world's amphibians."
— Steve Grant, The Hartford Courant

"Wells, a much-published amphibian specialist, has produced a monumental work on salamander, frog, and caecilian ecology, physiology, and behavior. . . . As a single source reference on amphibians, this book has no competitors. It can easily be read and assimilated by amateur naturalists, and it will be an invaluable encyclopedic source for conservationists, field biologists, and amphibian specialists for years to come. An outstanding resource for museum, municipal, college, and university libraries. Essential."
— Choice



1        Phylogeny, Classification, and Morphological Evolution  
2        Water Relations    
3        Temperature Relations    
4        Respiration 
5        Metabolism and Energetics       
6        Movements and Orientation      
7        Anuran Vocal Communication  
8        Mating Systems and Sexual Selection in Anurans   
9        Communication and Social Behavior of Urodeles and Caecilians
10      The Natural History of Amphibian Reproduction   
11      Parental Care        
12      The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibian Larvae    
13      Complex Life Cycles and the Ecology of Amphibian Metamorphosis  
14      Amphibians and Their Predators        
15      The Ecology of Amphibian Communities     
16      Conservation of Amphibians