Tag Archives: Frogs in 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.


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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:

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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.
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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.


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Stripeless treefrog – Hyla meridionalis – Ranita meridional

  • English: Stripeless Tree frog
  • Scientific: Hyla meridionalis
  • Spanish: Ranita Meridional
  • French: rainette méridionale
  • German: Mittelmeer-Laubfrosch
  • Italian: Raganella mediterranea
  • Portuguese: Rela-meridional
  • Distribution: Southern France, northern Italy, southern Portugal, Spain (from Catalonia to Andalucia), Menorca, and Madeira. It can also be found in Garajonay National Park, on the island of La Gomera.
  • Similar species: Iberian tree frog (Hyla molleri) – Ranita de San Antonio. This tree frog (formally the European tree frog – Hyla arborea) has now been recognised as its own species and is known as Hyla molleri. Also known as the Iberian tree frog or Moller’s tree frog (See below for more information).

Description

The Stripeless treefrog – Hyla meridionalis – Ranita meridional is a small frog (usually no more than 5cm (2 inches) in length). The skin is very smooth and shiny, light green in colour which camouflages perfectly among the vegetation. The head is broad and rounded with prominent eyes and a dark stripe from the nostril to behind the eardrum. sometimes reffered to as the Mediterranean tree frog, it is a very agile climber due to adhesive disks on the end of each digit.

Stripeless treefrog - Hyla meridionalis – Ranita meridional
Stripeless treefrog – Hyla meridionalis – Ranita meridional

As the name suggests this frog doesn’t have the dark stripes down the side of body and legs that the Iberian tree frog (Hyla molleri) has.

Habits and diet

Activity is restricted to the twilight hours or night time and they prefer damp meadows and wetlands or scrub next to quiet rivers where they hide in thick vegetation. Tree frogs eat a variety of small arthropods such as spiders, flies, beetles, butterflies, and caterpillars. Their ability to jump large distances also allows them to catch flying insects.

larvae feed on detritus, found on the pond bottom or any other vegetable or animal existing in the water.

Breeding

Breeding takes place in permanent ponds, flooded fields, ditches and streams with low flow. In the mating season the males will go to the water edge to sing, especially between February and April. The female will lay from 400 to 1000 eggs in the water in small packages, attached them to submerged plants.

Depending on the water temperature, the eggs hatch between two and nine days. Afterwards, the tadpoles develop for forty-six to ninety days, being able, in exceptional cases, to overwinter in the larval stage.

Iberian tree frog – Hyla molleri – Ranita de San Antonio

The San Antón or San Antonio frog (Hyla molleri) was considered a subspecies of Hyla arborea (European tree frog) until molecular phylogeny studies showed that it was a distinct species .

Hyla molleri, also known as the Iberian tree frog or Moller's tree frog
Hyla molleri, also known as the Iberian tree frog or Moller’s tree frog – The striped tree frog 🙂

This new species is only distributed to the Atlantic southwest of France and the western Iberian Peninsula reaching the south of Portugal, and the west and north of Andalusia. From the east it reaches Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel and Huesca.

Hybridization

In the areas of contact with the Hyla meridionalis such as theTiétar Valley, the Sierra Morena, Badajoz and Guipúzcoa, hybrids sometimes occur but these have been found to be sterile and no breeding of hybrids have ever been recorded.


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