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Difference Between Reptiles And Amphibians

We explain that what is the difference between Reptiles and Amphibians? With key differences and by a comparison table to easily understand.

What is the difference between Reptiles and Amphibians?

The reptiles and amphibians have a distant relationship so have a number of similarities. In both cases they are ectothermic animals, therefore cold-blooded. They are vertebrates and except for crocodiles and other lizards, most amphibians and reptiles have a heart with three chambers or cavities. Despite all these things in common, there are differences that we will talk about now.

what are reptiles - Blue SnakeReptiles

The word reptile derives from reptile and has the following meanings: “that crawls”, “that acts secretly”, “that slides”. Reptiles generally have dry, flaky skin. They breathe thanks to the lungs and lay eggs.

They live on all continents except Antarctica; and they inhabit various environmental conditions.

There are more than 6,500 known reptile species. Animals in this group must bask in the sun or find a warm place to warm up and then find a place to cool down, as as mentioned above, they are ectothermic.

Reptiles are animals that live in a special way on land, except crocodiles, alligators or snakes that can spend a lot of time in the water, even if they do not live under it . They live on all continents except Antarctica , living in various environmental conditions.

Reptiles crawl and also crawl, so they have short or weaker limbs, and may not have limbs. Their eggs are hard, in some cases being placed on the ground and in others they are kept in their bodies until they hatch.

They are born on earth and their young are independent from the beginning, physically resembling adults . It grows in size but does not undergo any metamorphosis.

Its defense against predators is by using its claws, lashing with its tails and biting. Some species like the Gila monster are poisonous.


Amphibians live both on land and in water. The word “amphibian” derives from the Greek word amphibios “ that lives in two elements.” The animals of this group are born in water and when they mature they develop legs and lungs, which allow them to survive on land. The first amphibians were a crucial link in the later appearance of reptiles. They were the first animals to leave the sea to venture on land.

There are more than 5,500 known species of amphibians. They are vertebrates and, like reptiles, they are ectothermic . Some well-known amphibians are toads, frogs, salamanders, caecilians, and newts.

They have lungs as in the case of reptiles, amphibians have gills. The front limbs are short and the hind limbs long, with webbed toes.

Generally, amphibian eggs are protected with a transparent gelatinous coating, which contains mucoproteins and mucopolysaccharides. The cover absorbs water and gases, the eggs being deposited in water or in places with high humidity.

When amphibians are small, there is quite a difference when compared to when they reach adulthood . Young amphibians are known as larvae and as they develop their lifestyle, diet, and body shape. When defending themselves from predators, what they do is use toxic secretions through their skin or bites. They also lack claws and nails.

Despite all the above, there are some differences between these and we will tell you what they are below.

Key differences between amphibians and reptiles

Reptiles - turtlesAmphibians - Red-Blue Arrow Frog

  • Amphibians spend part of their life in water and part on land, while reptiles especially live on land.
  • Reptiles can live in dry environments, while amphibians need to be close to moisture.
  • Reptile skin can be hard or soft, while amphibian skin is usually soft and moist; protected by a slippery mucus discharge.
  • Reptiles do not undergo a major metamorphosis while developing, but amphibians do.

Reptiles and amphibians are two of the oldest classes of vertebrates in the world. On the one hand, reptiles date from the Carboniferous period, 320 million years ago. As for amphibians, the scientific community believes that they were the first vertebrates to breathe air, 380 million years ago, during the late Devonian. In fact, the problem of amphibians (living outside the water, but having to reproduce inside it), reptiles, their descendants, were able to solve it with the creation of amniotic eggs.

Comparative Chart

Amphibians Reptiles
Origin 380 million years ago, in the late Devonian. 320 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period.
General description They are a class of vertebrates believed to be the first vertebrates to adapt to semi-terrestrial life.

Amphibians are distinguished from other animals because at some point in their development they have to undergo a transformation called metamorphosis.

On the other hand, almost all reptiles are perfectly adapted to life under water, however they tend to be mainly terrestrial animals. Some reptiles can live in terribly dry areas of the planet.

Modern reptiles are the animals that have changed the least since their inception, millions of years ago.

  • They are ananmniotic vertebrates, that is, they are born without an amniotic sac, like fish.
  • There are 7492 species of amphibians.
  • Their skin is permeable, almost always with a layer of mucus around it, without scales or hair.
  • They are cold blooded.
  • Many of their young are born in what is known as the larval stage (tadpoles). The hatchlings lead an aquatic life right up to the moment they become adults.
  • There are poisonous amphibians.
  • Their eggs are small, usually numerous and are only covered by a gelatinous substance for protection.
  • In contrast, reptiles are amniotic vertebrates, this means that they are born wrapped in an amniotic membrane.
  • In the same way as amphibians, they are ectothermic animals, that is, cold-blooded.
  • They are covered by scales (the vast majority at least).
  • There are more than 10,000 species of reptiles.
  • Some reptiles are poisonous.
  • They lay eggs (almost always hard outside).
  • The vast majority are carnivores or omnivores.
  • Some reptiles prefer the salty water of the sea or estuaries.

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