A relatively large toad with a total maximum length of about 21cm, though males are rather smaller at 9-10cm and the average female is 15cm. The head is longer than wide, with a short rounded snout, and the area between the eyes is either flat or concave. The tympanum is barely visible, measuring about half the diameter of the eye. The fingers are short, the third being the longest, followed by the the first and then the second and fourth, these latter two being of equal length. There are two tubercles on the palms. The toes are relatively long and flattened.Continue reading Iberian spiny toad – Bufo spinosus – Sapo comun Ibérico
- Family: Bufonidae
- English: Natterjack Toad
- Scientific: Epidalia (Bufo) calamita
- Spanish: Sapo corredor
- Basque: Apo lasterkaria
- Catalan: Gripau corredor, gripau
- Galician: Sapo corriqueiro
- Portuguese: Sapo-corredor
- Distribution Iberia: Found throughout all Portugal and much of Spain, including the Pyrenees but excluding the northern Atlantic region and the dry central interior, though present in the south.
- Further distribution: UK mainland and Ireland, France through Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and southern Swedish coastal regions to Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states, and also in Northwest Africa and west Asia. In the UK and Eire the species is restricted in its distribution and considered endangered. In Ireland, found only on the Dingle Peninsula, and distribution in the UK is almost restricted to coastal areas.
The Natterjack toad – Epidalia (Bufo) calamita – Sapo corredor is a species of Bufo, a large genus of so-called “true toads” traditionally found worldwide, although some authorities have now separated the Old World species from the New.
Epidalia (Bufo) calamita is a medium-sized toad with a total maximum length of about 9-10cm in Iberia. (Elsewhere in Europe the species is smaller, males measuring 8cm and females 10cm). The head is wider than long, with a short rounded snout, and the area between the eyes is flat. The tympanum, measuring about half the diameter of the eye, is usually not visible, and if it is, only the front part can be seen.Continue reading Natterjack toad – Epidalia (Bufo) calamita – Sapo corredor
- 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
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 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 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 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.
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”.
Reptiles and amphibians in Spain
Read more about reptiles and amphibians in Spain at the main index page for species here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/reptiles-and-amphibians/
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Midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) are actually frogs, not toads. They belong to the family Alytidae (formerly Discoglossidae), which is a group of frogs that are found in Europe and northern Africa. They are called “midwife toads” because of their unique breeding behavior, in which the male carries the fertilized eggs on his hind legs, but they are not classified as toads. Toads and frogs are both amphibians, but they are different groups of animals. Toads are generally stockier and have rough, warty skin, while frogs are typically more slender and have smooth skin.Continue reading Midwife toads in Spain