P ersuasive 8
DAVID A. NORTHCOTT/CORBIS
An eastern tiger salamander native
to east and central North America,
is in danger of dying out. Its habitat
is disappearing and many of the
salamanders are being captured by
It’s not easy being green—or blue, for
that matter. Frogs, toads, and other
amphibians are disappearing at a rate
that has scientists concerned. A report
released in October 2004, said that about
one-third of the world’s species of
amphibians are vulnerable or in danger
of dying out. “What we’re seeing is
unprecedented,” said the report’s lead
researcher, Simon N. Stuart.
Among other statistics in the report
• Nearly one-third (32%) of the world’s amphibian
species are threatened. That’s 1,856 species.
• As many as 168 amphibian species may already
• At least 43% of all amphibian species are
declining in population. Fewer than 1% of species
show population increases.
Researchers say there are many reasons for the
decline, including habitat loss. Rain forests and
wetlands are being cut down and destroyed at an
alarming rate. In addition, a highly infectious
fungus is attacking many species of amphibians in
South and Central America.
There could be other factors at work, however,
and that’s what really worries people. Amphibians
are more sensitive to pollution than humans are.
Fewer salamanders and frogs could mean there’s
an increase in air or water pollution. It makes us
ask the question: If the frogs and toads are dying
off, who’s next?
The reports of disappearing amphibians give
scientists valuable information as they hunt for the
causes of this troubling trend. The news gives the
rest of us a reason to be concerned.
The blue poison arrow frog, which lives in Central and
South American rain forests, is an endangered species.
The Status of Amphibian Species
Source: Global Amphibians
Extinct/Extinct in the
Wild (35 species)
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Fiction Link: Be sure to read “How to Be a Frog,” Fiction and Poetry Card 2
Frog and Toad Are in Trouble
Making the Most of Captions
Why do you imagine amphibians are
disappearing at a faster rate than other
How is color used in the pie chart to call
attention to endangered species?
What might be some results if a third of
Earth’s amphibians die out?
How does this author give scientific
weight to the main idea that amphibians
are in trouble?
Why does the author include photographs
Be the Writer
A number of Earth’s many animals are
endangered, that is, they could become extinct
if something is not done to help them.
Pollution, overhunting, and loss of habitat are
some problems they face. Research and report
on an endangered animal. Use pictures,
graphs, or other visuals to make an appeal for
From the Writer
In some nonfiction articles, visuals are just
as important as words in communicating the
main idea. In such a case, the writer should
create captions carefully to deliver as much
information as possible without being
repetitive or boring.
Captions, the sentences or labels attached
to visuals, explain what the picture shows. They
also generally summarize or recap important
ideas discussed in the article.
Look at the pie chart included in this story.
Its caption explains that it shows the status of
amphibian species worldwide in 2004. The
article’s title has already alerted us that it will
discuss how frogs and toads (and other
amphibians) are in trouble. We can figure out
that the chart shows the nature of the problem.
A quick review confirms this. Quite a few
species have died out or are in serious danger
of disappearing. (The labels “Extinct,”
“Critically Endangered,” “Endangered,” and
“Vulnerable” are placed so that your eye goes
to them first.)
Two photographs show examples of
amphibians that are in trouble. Captions for
these photos identify the animals and also
summarize important points from the article:
endangerment and two of its causes—loss of
habitat and interference by humans.
After reading the title and captions and
looking at the visuals, you have a good idea
what the article will have to say. As you write
captions, keep the main point of your story in
mind and use the captions to help add more
information or repeat important points.
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