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 – 2.1 inches (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. Worth wise, 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 arches its back to show off its belly. In fact, scientists named this posture 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 First, males will start calling to attract females. Once the female selects a male, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female can lay a couple eggs to a couple dozen of eggs. In addition, neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad in Danger

Populations of the Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad have been decreasing. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists the toad as Endangered. It is thought that Chytrid Fungus is one of the culprits behind the drops. The deadly disease Chytrid Fungus affects amphibians around the globe. The toad is 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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