Distribution of Amphibians
in the Emerald Empire Resource Area Northern Idaho

handout exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Some species of animals are adapted for particular areas while they are not adapted for others. Habitat, food, mobility, and resources limit how far the range of a species can extend. Sometimes it is helpful to know where a species was found in order to identify it. In this exercise students will become familiar with the concepts and applications of species distribution.

1. Students will learn how to use the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will become familiar with the concepts of species distribution.

Expose your students to the Digital Atlas To get there: Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Biology, then click on Amphibians. Have your students use the amphibian checklist and click on the species of amphibians in the table below. Students will then scroll down and click on the distribution of the species to see a map of where the species occurs. Students will play the role of biological consultants who have been hired to do an inventory of the amphibians of a resource area in Northern Idaho. They will then decide which species occur in northern Idaho and fill out the table. For a printable pdf copy of a handout you can give your students, click on Sample Handout below.

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
amph4ho.pdf | Amphibians

Handout Sample:
Congratulations, your consulting firm has been hired to do an inventory of the wildlife at the Emerald Empire Resource Area. One of the researchers on your team is particularly interested in the amphibians. He found that other work had been done on the Emerald Empire Resource Area and that he could use that information to identify species that were known to occur within the resource area. While compiling his list of species, he was offered a job as the resident biologist for the Snake River Birds of Prey Nature Conservation Area and the Bruneau Resource Area. Because he had to leave right away, he was unable to complete the amphibian list. Below is his list of amphibians that are known to occur in Idaho. At the time he had to leave, he was filling out the occurrence of each species on the table below. For each species there are three possibilities: (1) does not occur, (2) could occur, and (3) known to occur. Since you are the consulting firms team leader, it is your responsibility to complete this table. Use the amphibians section of the Digital Atlas as your guide to complete this table. Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Biology, then click on Amphibians to begin your search.

Amphibian Species of Idaho
Long Toed Salamander
Tiger Salamander
Idaho Giant Salamander
Could occur
Coeur d'Alene Salamander
Rough Skinned Newt
Does not occur
Frogs and Toads
Tailed Frog
Western Toad
Woodhouse's Toad
Does not occur
Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
Pacific Tree frog
Boreal Chorus Frog
Northern Leopard Frog
Spotted Frog
Wood Frog

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Amphibians
Biology: Biology Topics

Lesson Plan by Stephen Burton, James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: