Frog of the Week

Mallorcan Midwife Toad (Alytes muletensis)

Mallorcan Midwife Toad
photo by tuurio and wallie

Common Name: Mallorcan Midwife Toad, Majorcan Midwife Toad, and Ferrerets 
Scientific Name: Alytes muletensis
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toad and Painted Frog family
Location: Spain
Size: 1.1 – 1.5 inches (30 – 38 mm)

The Mallorcan Midwife Toad lives only on the island of Mallorca in Spain in the Sierra Tramuntana. The frogs live in streams carved into limestone mountains. Interestingly, the toad was originally discovered from a fossil and then after a few years, the first living ones were found.

The reproduction season for the toads is rather long, lasting from March to September. The males call out to attract the female frogs. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, she lays her eggs and the males fertilize them. The female lays between 7 – 12 eggs. Afterwards, the males of the species will carry their eggs on their legs for 3 to 9 weeks until they hatch into tadpoles.

Midwife Toad Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Mallorcan Midwife Toad as Vulnerable to Extinction. One of the main threats to the toad is the introduced Viperine Water Snake (Natrix maura) and Perez’s Frog (Rana perezi) These introduced predators feast upon the toad and their tadpoles. Other threats including human development, chytrid fungus, and climate change.

On the bright side, there are captive breeding programs for the toad. These programs help keep the toads alive in captivity and to eventually restore the wild populations. Sadly, researchers believe through the programs that chytrid fungus was introduced to the wild toads. Chytrid Fungus is a deadly disease that thickens the skin of amphibians, causing them to die. Additionally, the disease was spread across the world, Sadly, its killing off frog species right and left. However, researchers treated the areas that the toad lives in with chemicals and anti-fungal treatments. Now, they believe that they have eliminated chytrid fungus in the regions.

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