The accomplished jumpers
There are about 300 species in the order Caudata and 160 in Gymnophiona, but the most numerous group of amphibians belongs to the order Anura (tail-less ones) with about 2600 species. The Anurans include frogs which are generally characterized by smooth, moist skins and inhabit moister environments, and toads which have a drier, warty skin and often occur in drier environments. Unlike the members of Gymnophiona, this group has shortened the body and have even fused vertebrae together and have developed their hind legs enormously to become accomplished jumpers. The Goliath Frog (Gigantorana) can achieve 3m and the tree-living frog Rhacophorus reinwardti can achieve fifteen metres by gliding. To do this they increased the size of toes and with it the web of skin that unites them to form a parachute on each leg.
Jumping represents a major way of escaping predators. Since amphibians are generally soft bodied, they are sought after as food items by larger predators, however, many rely on having a cryptic coloration of green camouflaged with blotches of brown and grey. The common European Toad (Bufo bufo) inflates its body and stands on its toes to appear as large as possible and thereby discourage any potential predator. More active defence occurs in the fire-bellied toad whose mucous which keeps the skin moist is also extremely bitter tasting. The poison arrow frogs (Family Dendrobatidae) include some species whose mucous is lethal to mammals and local people used its poison to tip their arrows. Such defences are of little value if their attacker dies after they themselves have been eaten, and therefore are often accompanied by bright warning colours and patterns (aposematic coloration).