Do Amphibians have gills or lungs?

A frog breathes through its skin, so it has gills, right? No! A frog breathes through both lungs and its skin.

Amphibians have three different kinds of respiration: * Cutaneous respiration * Branchial respiration * Pulmonary respiration

Cutaneous respiration is just breathing through the skin. This kind of breathing is typical to amphibians like frogs and salamanders.

Amphibians using cutaneous respiration are able to survive in habitats without much oxygen because they can supplement their need for oxygen by breathing through their skin instead of having to rely entirely on their lungs or on special adaptations that would enable them to breathe underwater. That’s also why some species will drown if you keep them submerged.

Cutaneous respiration can be a useful supplement to pulmonary and/or branchial respiration, but it cannot replace either of them. So yes, amphibians do have gills, or at least some species do.

Amphibians’ three kinds of respiration: cutaneous (breathing through the skin), pulmonary (using lungs) and branchial (using gills).

How do frogs breathe without a diaphragm?

Frogs breathe through their skin because they can absorb oxygen through it. They have special cells, called “Pulmonary Alveoli” that are adapted to extracting as much oxygen from this possible.

So, frogs breathe using lungs and skin.

Fish do not breathe with lungs. They breathe through gills.

The gills of a fish are equipped with a great number of extremely thin-walled blood vessels called capillaries.

These capillaries enable dissolved oxygen to pass through their walls into the bloodstream before being diffused into body tissues. It then follows that since gills supply the necessary ingredients for respiration, one might say that they play “lungs” to a fish.

Do fish have lungs?

Fish need to extract oxygen dissolved in water and they do this through their gills which are very efficient at absorbing that oxygen into the bloodstream.

Fish have a very different respiratory system than people do…they don’t need to breathe air with their lungs as we do! A fish’s respiratory system is adapted to extract oxygen from water, not air.

That they are able to survive in the air for short periods is only because their gills can also extract oxygen from CO2 in the air.

The one complication with this is that as water passes over the gills it also takes away carbon dioxide, but because of the structure of a fish’s gills, it can’t remove all the carbon dioxide like our noses do when we exhale (blow off the carbon dioxide).

So, in order to release this excess carbon dioxide, fish rely on their gills to remove it and they need to go and sit at the surface every now and again so that they can breathe out through their opercula.

How do Amphibians Born?

Amphibians are cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals. They need to absorb heat through the surfaces of their bodies before they can start regulating their own body temperature.

The adults lay eggs that hatch into tadpoles or larvae with gills for breathing underwater. When the tadpole stage is over, they develop lungs and leave the water as adult amphibians.

There are three groups of amphibians:

frogs, salamanders, and caecilians.

Frogs live near, in, or under water;

salamanders live on land but go into the water to breed;

caecilians spend all their lives underground in humid places like rotting leaves, termite nests, and beneath logs. All amphibians lay eggs in water.

The female sticks her eggs together with a gluey substance to form long jelly masses or strings of individually enclosed eggs, called spawn.


Amphibian larvae, which are also known as tadpoles, hatch from the eggs and live in the water for between 6 weeks (in some species), up to three years (in others). They breathe through gills like fish but soon grow lungs.

At this point, they leave the water to continue their development on the land.

They’re born tailless, with external gills; these later disappear leaving behind only external openings. When they come out of the water, the tadpole stage finishes and froglets emerge – small versions of adult frogs containing all body parts necessary for terrestrial life, instead of water-living gills.

How do frogs breathe without lungs?

Frogs breathe using both lungs and their skin. During normal breathing when a frog is sitting on land, most of the oxygen needed by its body is obtained from air inhaled through its nostrils (Nostrils – Frog) into its nasal cavity then down into the lungs.

The only part of a frog’s lung that takes any real part in respiration is the tiny section called the respiratory epithelium which covers a frog’s lungs like cling film covers your dinner plate.

A frog’s skin is suffused with capillaries which are, in turn, surrounded by cells specialized to absorb oxygen from the surrounding water. This transfer of oxygen occurs over the course of four steps:

  • diffusion,
  • lipid (fatty material),
  • protein and
  • water barrier penetration.

Since these barriers are moistened by surrounding water this minimizes any resistance to the diffusion of substances through them.

This creates a very efficient respiratory surface that allows the oxygen dissolved in the water to enter into a frog’s bloodstream through its lungs or through its skin (Cutaneous respiration).

When a person holds a small frog out of the water to study it better they quickly discover that as soon as the frog’s moist skin dries out it quickly dies.

The reason for this is that their skin loses its ability to serve as a respiratory surface and the frog suffocates.

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