List of semiaquatic tetrapods

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This is a list of tetrapods that spend part of their life cycle or a significant fraction of their time in water.

Semiaquatic Tetrapoda are those that are primarily or partly terrestrial but that spend a large amount of time swimming or otherwise occupied in water, either as part of their life cycle or as an essential behavior (e.g. feeding). Some marine mammals, such as the marine otter, the polar bear and pinnipeds, are semiaquatic, while others, such as the sea otter, cetaceans and sirenians, are fully aquatic. The only fully aquatic nonmarine mammals are several manatees (the Amazonian manatee and some populations of African manatee) and certain small cetaceans (river dolphins, the tucuxi, and some populations of Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise). Among marine reptiles, marine iguanas and partly marine crocodiles (such as the saltwater crocodile and the American crocodile) are all semiaquatic. Sea turtles are almost fully aquatic, but must come ashore to lay eggs. Most sea snakes are ovoviviparous and fully aquatic (the exception being the oviparous, semiaquatic sea kraits). On the other hand, no bird species is fully aquatic, as all must lay and incubate their eggs, as well as begin raising their young, on land or ice. Most amphibians have an aquatic larval stage and are at least semiaquatic for that reason, but there are many exceptions to this generalization.





Most amphibians have an aquatic larval stage and thus are at least semiaquatic by virtue of this fact. Many adult amphibians are also semiquatic (while others are fully aquatic or terrestrial). However, some amphibians lack an aquatic larval stage. Some frogs, such as most leiopelmatids, most ranixalids, some leptodactylids, some myobatrachids, Darwin's frog and the Seychelles frog, have nonaquatic tadpoles. Some caecilians, many frogs such as saddleback toads, most sooglossids and the greenhouse frog,[3] and most plethodontid salamanders lay eggs on land in which the larvae develop into adult form before they hatch. The alpine salamander[4] and African live-bearing toads (Nectophrynoides and Nimbaphrynoides)[5] are ovoviviparous and give birth on land. Additionally, about 75% of caecilians are viviparous.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although all extant crocodilians are semiaquatic, some recently extinct mekosuchine genera, Mekosuchus and Quinkana, were mostly or entirely terrestrial.


  1. ^ a b Walker, M. (2009-07-07). "Aquatic deer and ancient whales". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  2. ^ Meijaard, E.; Umilaela; de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (September 2010). "Aquatic escape behaviour in mouse-deer provides insight into tragulid evolution". Mammalian Biology. 75 (5): 471–473. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2009.05.007. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Eleutherodactylus planirostris". AmphibiaWeb. 2012. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Salamander". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  5. ^ Channing, A.; Howell, K. (January 2006). Amphibians of East Africa. Comstock Pub. Associates/Cornell University Press. pp. 104–117. ISBN 978-0-8014-4374-9. OCLC 60650905. 
  6. ^ Vitt, L. J.; Caldwell, J. P. (25 March 2013). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-12-386920-3. OCLC 898295183.