Document Type



Iowa's Declining Fauna, Iowa's Amphibians, Iowa's Reptiles, Reptile and Amphibian Conservation


Changes in range and abundance of Iowa's amphibians and reptiles can be deduced by comparing records from recent studies with excellent collections from Iowa by Professor R. M. Bailey made from 1938-1943 in addition to museum records accumulated before 1950. Additional recent data make necessary this updating of a similar study conducted in 1980. The current study finds many of our frogs to be in decline, some in a pattern from north to south, but most as a diffused loss of populations, probably as a result of habitat destruction. The crawfish frog, one of the two frogs considered threatened in 1981, may be extirpated; the other, the spring peeper, is moderately abundant. This reevaluation finds the smallmouth salamander, and tiger salamander to be maintaining populations where the habitat is undisturbed, but survival of Iowa's other three salamanders is precarious. The turtles appear consistent with the 1981 study except for the red-eared slider, now known to be common in southeastern Iowa. There is no change in the analysis of Iowa's lizards, all of which are declining; the survival of two is tenuous. Two snakes believed to be rare in 1981, the smooth earth snake, and the northern redbelly snake, are now known to be common in parts of the state. All of the venomous snakes are clearly less abundant than in 1981, although the timber rattlesnake has declined less than the others. The current analysis finds strong evidence for severe decline of our largest diurnal snake species, especially the bullsnake, and suggests that even though often considered common, their long-term survival is threatened.

Publication Date

September 1998

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





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© Copyright 1998 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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