Toad Tuesday

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Pelobates syriacus)

Eastern Spadefoot Toad
photo by Omid Mozaffari
least concern

Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Syrian Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Pelobates syriacus
Family: Pelobatidae – European Spadefoot Toad
Locations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Syria, and Turkey
Size: 3.5 inches (8.89 cm)

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad lives in Eastern Europe and in Western Asia. Like all spadefoot toads, they have an inner metatarsal tubercle aka the spade on their rear feet. The Eastern Spadefoot Toad’s spade is yellow in color. They use these spades to burrow deep into the ground but they can also use rodent burrows. They come out of these burrows to hunt at night, eating insects, spiders, mollusks, and arthropods.

They breed from February to May depending on latitude. The males will start calling from temporary water bodies such as river or lakeside temporary water bodies or large permanent pools. Once the female arrives, the male will grasp her from behind in amplexus. Then, the female will lay between 5500-6500 egg while the male frog fertilizes them. Neither parent will provide any parental care for their offspring. Depending on locations, the tadpoles will either complete their metamorphosis by the fall or overwinter and complete it next spring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Eastern Spadefoot Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The toad has a wide range and a presumed large population. Though populations are doing ok, habitat destruction due to draining wet lands to make room for villages.

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