Frog of the Week

Mediterranean Painted Frog (Discoglossus pictus)

Painted Frog
photo by Jihène Ben Hassine

Common Names: Mediterranean Painted Frog
Scientific Name: Discoglossus pictus
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toad and Painted Frog family
Location: Algeria, Italy, Malta, Morocco, and Tunisia
Introduced Locations: France and Spain
Size: 2.7 inches (70 mm)

The Mediterranean Painted Frog is known and named for its bright colors. They have three different patterns on their back, striped, spotted, or solid. The species spans over 2 different continents – Africa and Europe. They species have accidentally been introduced to southern France / northern Spain over a hundred years ago.

The frog seems to breed almost all year long, only taking a break during the hottest months of the year. The males call out from water bodies to attract females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her around the waist in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. She lays between 20 to 50 eggs per clutch. The female breeds with various males throughout the night, resulting in 500 to 1000 eggs being laid.

Painted Frog
photo by Fabrizio Li Vigni

The Mediterranean Painted Frog has a few subspecies like the subspecies D. pictus pictus, that lives in Gozo, Malta, and Sicily. Meanwhile, the subspecies D. pictus auritus lives in Algeria and Tunisia, as well as being introduced to France and Spain. These introduced frogs are slowly increasing their range. The frogs could have a negative impact on the native frog populations by competing with them for food.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Painted Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population. Urbanization and ground water extraction threaten local populations.

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