Frog of the Week

Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina pachypus)

Alpine Yellow Bellied Toad
photo by Benny Trapp
Conservation status is Endangered


Common Name: Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina pachypus
Family: Bombinatoridae – Fire Bellied Toad family
Locations Italy
Size: 1.3 inches to 2.1 inches or 35-55 mm

The Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad is a diurnal (active during the day) species of toad, which is kinda unusual for most frogs and toads. It probably has to do with the fact that the toads needs to show off its bright, yellow belly to warn predators that they are toxic. It would be hard to see if its dark out.  Other frogs and toads want to stay hidden during the day to avoid predators. When threatened by a predator, the toad will arch its back to show off its belly. This is called the unken reflex.

The Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad hibernates from November to late April. I wish I could hibernate during that time too. After waking up, the toads get to work to start breeding. They breed from May all the way to September. Mating takes place in temporary bodies of water. Males will start calling to attract females. Once the female selects a male, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. The female will then lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The female can lay a couple eggs to a couple dozen of eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

Populations of the Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad have been decreasing. It is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is thought that Chytrid Fungus is one of the culprits behind the drops. Chytrid Fungus is a deadly disease affecting amphibians around the globe. The toad was the first Italian species of amphibian to be confirmed to have Chytrid Fungus. Another reason for the declines include habitat loss due to farming.

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