Frog of the Week

Iberian Midwife Toad (Alytes cisternasii)

Iberian Midwife Toad
photo by Benny Trapp

Common Name: Iberian Midwife Toad
Scientific Name: Alytes cisternasii
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toad and Painted Frog family
Locations: Portugal and Spain
Size: Males – 1.4 inches (36 mm) | Females 1.7 inches (42 mm)

The Iberian Midwife Toad lives in the drier scrub-like environment of eastern Portugal and western Spain. The toad is rather fossorial, burrowing down into this loose dry soil.

Mating season lasts from September to March, peaking around October and November. The males call out every night on land to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Next, she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Now comes the interesting part. The male wraps the egg mass around his legs. He can then go out and mate with more females, capable of carrying up to 4 clutches at a time.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Iberian Midwife Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species has a wide range and are thought to be numerous throughout it. In some areas, the toads are disappearing due to destruction of their habitat.

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