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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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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