Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians

The major differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians are that amphibians need a moist environment to survive as their skin is prone to drying out. Also, amphibians lay eggs in the water, and their young have gills to survive in the water. They venture onto land only when fully mature. Reptiles on the other hand have adapted to living completely on dry land.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Jargon Busting:

Tetrapod: Animals with 4 legs. Even though snakes do not have legs, they did evolve from animals that had 4 limbs

Fossorial: Underground. Animals that burrow underground

Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians

All though there are many differences between Reptiles and Amphibians, both are ectothermic.

Which means they are cold-blooded and need external sources of heat for thermoregulation (controlling their ambient body temperature). Below are a few of the key features differentiating the two:

Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians



They respire through lungs, but aquatic turtles can use limited gas exchange underwater for extended periods

Gills in tadpoles, lungs, and respiration through skin called cutaneous respiration

They have dry, scaly, watertight skin

Smooth skins that is sometimes covered in mucous which helps to keep skin moist

They have multiple neck vertebra which allows for easy articulation

Single vertebra that restricts articulation

They do not undergo metamorphosis

They undergo metamorphosis (larval stage to adult)

Reptiles lay self contained egg that has a leathery shell

Amphibians lay eggs that is enveloped in layers of clear, jelly like membrane


Reptiles and amphibians have a variety of features that distinguish them from each other, but they come under the same class – Reptilia and hence they share many anatomical and physiological features as well. And did you know: one of the smallest reptiles in the world is the leaf chameleon, which is barely bigger than the tip of a safety match!

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Practise This Question

In the above cross, what is the allelic composition of the female gamete?