Frog of the Week

Yellow Bellied Toad (Bombina variegata)

Yellow bellied Toad
photo by Christian Fischer

Common Name: Yellow Bellied Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina variegata
Family: Bombinatoridae
Location: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Republic of, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine
Size: 1.3 inches to 2.1 inches (35-55 mm)

The Yellow Bellied Toad is found throughout most of Europe. Like the Fire Bellied Toad, they have a brightly colored stomach to show off that they are toxic but its yellow on the bottom,  To show off their belly, they arch their back. This is called the unken reflex. Interestingly, they have heart shaped pupils.

Yellow Bellied Toad
photo by Marek Szczepanek

The Yellow Bellied Toad can live a long time, up to 15 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity. They have evolved to live long lives because water can be scarce in their environment. Yellow Bellied Toads need water to breed so when its not around, they have to wait. If they didn’t live so long, they might not be able to breed, and then their genes don’t get passed down.

The breeding season for the toads start once they awaken from hibernation between March and May (depending on elevation). The toads move from their overwintering spots on land to a variety of water bodies. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then. she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. She lays between 40 – 100 eggs in a clutch.

Yellow Bellied Toad
photo by Miltos Gikas

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the toad as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range covering most of Europe and are presumed to be numerous throughout it. However, some populations have been dying out and the toads are thought to be extinct in Belgium. Other counties have small isolated populations that need to be protected.

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