Category Archives: Reptiles and Amphibians of Spain

Iberian Parsley Frog – Pelodytes ibericus -Sapillo moteado iberico

  • English: Iberian Parsley Frog
  • Scientific: Pelodytes ibericus (Previously Pelodytes punctatus)
  • Spanishr: Sapillo moteado ibérico
  • French: Pélodyte ibérique
  • German: Iberische Schlammtaucher
  • Italian: Pelodite iberico
  • Portuguese: Sapinho-de-verrugas-verdes-ibérico

Description

The Iberian Parsley Frog – Pelodytes ibericus -Sapillo moteado iberico is a small, slender frog, ranging between 32-36 mm in length (1¼ – 1½ inches). The head is flat and the snout short and rounded.

Eyes prominent and pupil vertical, the iris is golden with little black dots.

The back has a background colour which can vary, featuring shades of grey or olive-brown with small yellowish green warts arranged irregularly.

The glandular fold, which is not obvious, extends from the eye to the lumbar region. The eardrum is large but, barely visible being the same colour as the body. Their limbs are delicate and the hind legs adapted to jumping. It is also an excellent climber.

Distribution, habits and breeding

The Iberian parsley frog is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and seems to be more common in the south of Spain but seems to be rarer in Portugal. It occurs in open areas, under bushes, among scattered trees, in salt marshes, fields and gardens and also seems to survive well in intensively farmed areas such as the rice fields in the Huelva province of Andalucia.

They spend the day hidden under rocks and gaps in the ground etc. In general they prefer open spaces in oak, pine forests and agricultural areas always near to their spawning sites.

Feeding on small invertebrates, orthoptera, beetles, earthworms, isopods and spiders these frogs are most active at nighttime

For breeding they prefer still areas in streams, pools or temporary puddles. The breeding season starts from October and lasts until May, the majority taking place between January and March. The eggs are laid in several groups of 100 to 300 eggs, deposited in a cord of gelatin adhered to aquatic plants. In total, she can lay about 900 eggs. Hatching occurs between 6-9 days later and in 58 -98 days, they can complete their larval development, or less in temporary puddles.

The Iberian Parsley Frog – Pelodytes ibericus -Sapillo moteado iberico is a small, slender frog, ranging between 32-36 mm in length frogs can be difficult to observe due to crepuscular and nocturnal habits and also, once the breeding season has finished they seem to completely disappear and can be difficult to find until the next breeding season begins.

Read about more reptiles and amphibians in Spain here.


Iberia Nature Forum

Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.

Iberia Nature Forum: https://iberianatureforum.com/

East Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus jaenneae – Sapillo Pintojo Meridional

  • English: East Iberian Painted Frog
  • Scientific: Discoglossus jaenneae
  • Castilian: Sapillo Pintojo Meridional
  • Portuguese: Discoglosso-meridional
  • Distribution: Southern and Eastern Spain on Limestone or gypsum terrain.

Description

The East Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus jaenneae – Sapillo Pintojo Meridional is a shiny, plump frog with a pointed snout that can reach a body length of up to 6cm. Most are spotted although they may occasionally have stripes and the main colour can range between green, brown, olive or yellowish. They sometimes have small warts along the body which may form lines. The underside is smooth, off-white, occasionally with brown speckles. They have four toes on the front feet that do not have webbing. The hind feet have long toes with short webbing.

Points to help in identification are that the pupils of Painted frogs differ from most as they are round or triangular in shape rather than horizontal and also in this particular species the ear drum is not visible.

The East Iberian Painted Frog - Discoglossus jaenneae - Sapillo Pintojo Meridional is a shiny, plump frog with a pointed snout that can reach a body length of up to 6cm
The East Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus jaenneae – Sapillo Pintojo Meridional is a shiny, plump frog with a pointed snout that can reach a body length of up to 6cm

They prefer still or slow moving shallow water that has good surrounding plant cover in meadows, thickets and woods, but can be found in water troughs too.

Adults are mainly crepuscular and nocturnal in habit with the younger ones also active on rainy days.

The females, which are slightly smaller, lay eggs in the water during winter and spring. She will mate with different males during this time and deposit the eggs at the bottom of the water, or in aquatic vegetation in groups of 20 to 50. These eggs hatch between 2 to 9 days later into tadpoles reaching 25 to 35mm in length. They are almost black with a uniformly shaped, translucent tail membrane that has charcoal markings. From this stage to the emergence of a tiny 1cm long frog takes between 4 to 9 weeks. It is then 3 to 5 years for them to develop into adults with their life expectancy being around 10 years.

In areas of high altitude they will hibernate during the coldest part of winter utilizing rocks or dead wood as protection. During the summer in drier areas they may aestivate in the hottest times.

Similar species

There are two similar looking species which can mainly be distinguished by their distribution:

See more reptiles and amphibians here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/reptiles-and-amphibians/


Iberia Nature Forum

Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.

Iberia Nature Forum: https://iberianatureforum.com/

Western Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus galganoi – Sapillo pintojo ibérico

  • English: Iberian painted frog
  • Scientific: Discoglossus galganoi
  • Spanish: Sapillo pintojo ibérico
  • French: Discoglosse de Galgano
  • German: Iberische Scheibenzüngler
  • Italian: Discoglosso di Galgano
  • Portuguese: rã-de-focinho-pontiagudo

Description

A medium sized frog, the western Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus galganoi – Sapillo pintojo ibérico is usually 45 to 60 mm (1¾ to 2½ inches). The head is flattened and wide at the rear with a pointed snout. The skin smooth or with small warts and the coloration is very variable, ranging from greenish, yellowish, brown, grey or dark brown with irregular darker spots, which may eventually form longitudinal streaks.

A medium sized toad, the Iberian Painted Frog - Discoglossus galganoi - Sapillo pintojo ibérico looks very similar to a frog
The Iberian Painted Frog – Discoglossus galganoi – Sapillo pintojo ibérico – a medium sized frog

Mainly of crepiscular and nocturnal activity, although also can be seen out and about in the daytime in wet weather.

Living in a variety of habitats in open areas, small streams, rivers, ponds and woodland of high humidity with abundant herbaceous vegetation that serves as a refuge. The water bodies which they use for breeding are usually small and often temporary, puddles, overflow from troughs and still areas in slow running streams.

They feed primarily on insects, arachnids, molluscs and annelids. The larvae feed on plant matter and debris.

A medium sized toad, the Iberian Painted Frog - Discoglossus galganoi - Sapillo pintojo ibérico looks very similar to a frog

The breeding season extends from the onset of the autumn rains to the end of April. Often the most pairing and spawning occurs between January and March. Females lay between 300 and 600 eggs which are fixed to the bottom of the water body, they hatch between 5 to 9 days later and metamorphosis is completed after 42-58 days. (Can be less in temporary water masses)

Similar species

There are two similar looking species which can be distinguished mainly by their distribution:

See more reptiles and amphibians here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/reptiles-and-amphibians/


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, the town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

https://grazalemaguide.com/

The Turkish Gecko

  • Spanish: Salamanquesa Rosada
  • Scientific: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • English: Turkish Gecko
  • French: Gecko nocturne
  • German: Europäische Halbfinger
  • Italian: Geco verrucoso
  • Portugese: Osga-turca

Description

A delicate-looking gecko which normally measures about 8-9.5 cm (3 -3¾ inches) including an intact tail, which is half the overall length. They are mainly pink in colour with black spots and paler areas, somewhat translucent, especially on the belly. The head is narrow and short, triangular in shape, their eyes are placed closer together than in the common gecko, with a vertical pupil.

The tail has alternating light and dark stripes providing it is the original, a regenerated tail will be smooth. Another characteristic of this species is that each digit has a curved claw. The toes are equipped with adhesive pads that allow them to adhere to vertical surfaces.

Nocturnal, spending the day hidden in the cracks of stone walls, in ruins, and rubble or under rocks and logs. This is reptile has adapted well to living with the man and is commonly seen hunting insects on summer nights near street lights and house walls etc.

The breeding season begins in March and lasts until July, consisting of 1 or 2 small eggs with the capability of laying up to 5 clutches per year. The eggs are are deposited under rocks, crevices in the ground etc and incubation lasts between 50 to 72 days.

Baby turkish gecko in Spain
Note the pinky translucent skin of the baby Turkish gecko.

IUCN Conservation Status: LC Least Concern

Distribution: Mediterranean Basin (Introduced elsewhere)

Similar species: Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/

Iberian Water Frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común

  • English: Iberian Water Frog
  • Scientific: Pelophylax perezi
  • Spanish: Rana común
  • Portuguese: Rá-verde
  • Distribution: All of Iberia

The Iberian Water Frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común is rarely very far from water, they will inhabit lakesides, ponds, slow rivers, canals, marshes, moors, rice fields, man made water deposits and troughs up to an altitude of 2,400m. They will often sit at the waters edge and hop in if disturbed. They are active both day and night though most vocal in the evening.

Iberian Water Frog - Pelophylax perezi - Rana común
Iberian Water Frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común

The Iberian Water Frogs are from 35 – 90 mm in body length, (occasionally reaching 100mm) with the females being the largest. Their colour variation is huge, covering many shades of greys, greens and browns, sometimes with darker blotches and with warts or smooth. The underside is off-white occasionally bearing brown / charcoal speckles.

They often have a central dorsal stripe of a pale colour beginning at the tip of their long pointed snout. The eyes consist of a horizontal pupil surrounded by a golden colour, just behind the eye on the males is a visible vocal sac. The dorso-lateral folds are very visible and can be of a differing colour to the main body. The hind legs are quite long with the heel reaching past the eye. The fore feet have four toes, the hind feet five with well developed webbing.

Iberian Water Frog - Pelophylax perezi - Rana común
Iberian Water Frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común

This species of frog can hibernate in the water or on land. If seen away from water this is generally the younger ones.

These frogs feed on insects, spiders, small fish plus other amphibians. The tadpoles feed mainly on vegetation and ants but also eat micro-organisms.

Breeding may be over an extended period. Firstly the female selects a male by his ability to sing. The eggs are fertilized by the male as they leave the female. Each egg is around 6 to 8mm and laid in clusters of from 800 to 10,000.

Iberian Water Frog - Pelophylax perezi - Rana común
Iberian Water Frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común – This is a male with the vocal sacs inflated.

The emerging tadpoles measure about 4 to 6 mm long when they first hatch, reaching a size of about 50 to 70 mm long. The tail is deepest in the centre and tapers to a point. The body and tail are a speckled and blotched golden brown colour with a paler, whitish underside.

The time it takes them to metamorphose depends on the water body that they are in and the time of year. If the water is shallow and poorly oxygenated with a risk of drying up they will develop more quickly into tiny froglets. Conversely if the eggs hatch at the end of summer and there is plenty of water, they can over winter as tadpoles which reach a greater size before changing.
.
The maximum life span for an Iberian Water Frog is about 10 years and they reach their sexual maturity in their second year for the males, third year for females.

More reptiles and amphibians of Spain here.


Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!

Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.

Pygmy (marbled) newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo

  • English: Pygmy (Southern Marbled) Newt
  • Scientific: Triturus pygmaeus (Triturus marmoratus)
  • Spanish: Tritón pigmeo (Tritón jaspeado)
  • French: Triton pygmée
  • German: Zwerg-Marmormolch
  • Italian: Tritone pigmeo
  • Portuguese: Tritão-marmoreado-pigmeu

Description

The Pygmy (marbled) newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo was traditionally considered a subspecies of the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus), although recent studies have shown that morphological and genetic differences between the two, are significant enough to be considered distinct species.

the pygmy newt has a total length of about 13cm (5 inches), a base colour of deep green mottled with black/brown blotches spread over the body.

The head is flattened, with a broad and rounded snout. The eyes have a black round pupil and gold iris. Their limbs are long, front feet with 4 digits and 5 on the hind feet, without webbing. The tail, which is longer in males, is flattened laterally and ends in a point.

The Pygmy (marbled) newt - Triturus pygmaeus - Tritón pigmeo was traditionally considered a subspecies of the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus)
The Pygmy (marbled) newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo was traditionally considered a subspecies of the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus)

The females are larger and have an orange or yellowish vertebral line also seen in sub-adults of both sexes. In mating season the male has a tall, upright dorsal crest extending along the tail, during its land living phase this is reduced to a dark spinal ridge.

Habitat and diet

This newt occurs only in southern Portugal and southwestern Spain. The Douro and Tagus rivers form a narrow, northern border to its range where it is then replaced by Triturus marmoratus (marbled newt)

Its natural habitats are woodlands of oak and cork oak, Mediterranean scrub, near ponds, wells, slow streams and irrigation pools. It is crepuscular and nocturnal.

When living away from water they take refuge under rocks, logs and leaf litter.

The diet of adults is based on insects and their larvae, isopods, annelids and arachnids. The larvae hunt small insect larvae, crustaceans and larvae of other amphibians.

The Pygmy (marbled) newt - Triturus pygmaeus - Tritón pigmeo was traditionally considered a subspecies of the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus)
The Pygmy (marbled) newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo was traditionally considered a subspecies of the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus)

Breeding habits

The breeding season begins with the autumn rains, around November. After a courtship display worthy of being watched, the female will pick up a packet of sperm (spermatophore) that the male leaves close to her and after several days she deposits between 150 and 350 fertilised eggs. These are individually attached to aquatic plants. The larvae hatch in around 10-15 days, depending on water temperature, and normally complete their development before the end of May.

Its main defence mechanism, like many amphibians, is the production of a milky toxic secretion through the skin.

Threats

As with many amphibians, habitat is being degraded by river pollution and the loss of temporary water bodies through land drainage. The introduction of crayfish and non-native fish also has a negative impact on populations. For these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its status as being “near threatened”.


Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!

Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.