Frogs, toads, and salamanders…sound like the ingredients for a witch’s brew. Humor and an undeserved reputation for raising warts on humans aside, these amphibians are as important to us as life itself.
They signal a potential environmental problem that is affecting their health—and possibly our own. This is cause for alarm: Amphibians, due to their lifestyle, are indicator species that are useful for monitoring the health of our surroundings. They are, essentially, an early warning system of approaching environmental events.
Many of us need a realistic introduction to the amphibians of South Dakota, an introduction untainted by tales and mythology. As always, we need to know where we are before we can know where we, and these interesting little creatures, are going. May our frogs, toads, and salamanders always be part of the countryside, the wetland, the flowerbed, and the future of South Dakota.