Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Small stocky frog with a short head. Males attain a snout-vent length of up to 36 mm, whereas females grow up to 42 mm. The eyes are large and have a vertical slit-shaped pupil. Parotoid glands are small, and the tympanum is clearly visible. One or two rows of small, often reddish warts are present on the upper eyelids. The skin is warty, and a row of large warts extends from the tympanum to the groin area. Other large gland complexes are present on the underarms and the ankles. There are two metacarpal tubercles. The limbs are shorter than in other species of Alytes. The coloration is usually brownish with more or less pronounced dark spots. Warts are mostly red in color. The eyes are often connected with a light colored band. The underside is an unspotted dirty white (Noellert and Noellert 1992).

Males are smaller than females. Other features that distinguish males and females are: distance between nostrils, head width, lower jaw length, vertical diameter of tympanum and tibia-fibula length. These variables should be corrected for the size of the animal (Bosch and Marquez 1996).

  • Bosch, J. and Marquez, R. (1996). ''Discriminant functions for the sex identification in two midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans and A. cisternasii).'' Herpetological Journal, 6, 105-109.
  • Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.
  • Honegger, R. E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.
  • Marquez, R. and Verrell, P. (1990). ''The courtship and mating of the Iberian midwife toad Alytes cisternasii (Amphibia: Anura: Discoglossidae).'' Journal of Zoology, London, (225), 125-139.
  • Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is restricted to southern and eastern Portugal and western and central Spain, from 100-1,300 m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

Alytes cisternasii is endemic to the Iberian penninsula, inhabiting the south-western and central parts of this region. Presumably derived from an Alytes obstetricans-like ancestor, this species has adapted to lower and drier environments, having acquired a more markedly fossorial lifestyle than the two congeneric species, Alytes obstetricans and Alytes muletensis. In Portugal, it occupies the whole country south of the Lousa-Estrela mountain system, extending north through the oriental regions of the provinces of Beira Baixa, Beira Alta and Trás-os-Montes. In Spain, to the north of the Central mountains, Alytes cisternasii is distributed over the provinces of Zamona, Salamanca, Avila, Valladolid, Segovia, and to the south of the Central mountain system, over the regions of Madrid, Guadalajara, Toledo, Caceres, Badajoz, Ciudad Real, Huelva, Sevilla, Cordoba and Jaen (limited in the south-east by the Quadalquivir river).This amphibian is, generally, associated with xeric environments, with sclerophyte vegetation of the Mediterranean type - open forests of Quercus ilex, Q. rotundifolia, Q. suber, - and with brushwood of Q. coccifera, Cystus ladanifer and C. monspeliensis. It prefers soils that are not very consistent, usually sandy-granitic, wherein it buries itself. Especially in the south of its distribution range, it lives in the vicinity of streams of a temporary nature, which frequently regress in summer.

In Portugal, the species is predominantly found between 100 and 600m, reaching its maximum altitude in the Serra de Monchique (Algarve), at 750m. In Spain, although more frequent in low altitudes, it can be found above 1000m (1200m, Presa de Voltoya, Avila; 1110m, Villacastin, Segovia)(Gasc 1997).

  • Bosch, J. and Marquez, R. (1996). ''Discriminant functions for the sex identification in two midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans and A. cisternasii).'' Herpetological Journal, 6, 105-109.
  • Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.
  • Honegger, R. E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.
  • Marquez, R. and Verrell, P. (1990). ''The courtship and mating of the Iberian midwife toad Alytes cisternasii (Amphibia: Anura: Discoglossidae).'' Journal of Zoology, London, (225), 125-139.
  • Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is closely associated with meadows and open oak (Quercus) forests, most often in sandy areas. Reproduction and larval development generally takes place in temporary waterbodies (most often stream habitats), occasionally in permanent waterbodies; larval development is relatively long in this species and may last more than one season. The species is not very adaptable.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Alytes cisternasii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Pedro Beja, Jaime Bosch, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen, Rafael Marquez, Carmen Diaz Paniagua

Reviewer/s
Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years), thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.

History
  • 2004
    Near Threatened
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Population

Population
It can be locally common in suitable habitat, and is more abundant in the western part of its range. Population declines have been observed in Spain, potentially because of introduced predators.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

These frogs are well known for the parental care behavior of males. The females can produce up to four clutches per breeding season. Mating season is between September and March, with its peak in October/November. Males produce advertisement calls for several hours every night during the breeding season. The females reply by calling back with a lower intensity than the males. The following account of the mating behavior of A. cisternasii has been altered from Marquez and Verrell (1990). A more detailed account can be found there.The female seeks out the male and presents herself to him. The male grabs the female in the lumbar region. The female responds by rocking her body side-to-side. The male pedals with his hind legs against the substratum, resulting in a vigorous forward-backward movement of the male's body. The male then rocks his body slightly backward and forward, in a much less intense way as the pedaling motion. After some time, the male suddenly constricts the female's flanks. She extends her hind legs and adopts a posture much like the antipredator "unkenkrampf" (unken reflex) as seen in the genus Bombina, and ejects an egg mass into the trough between her thighs. The male then releases his lumbar grip, takes an axillar hold and inseminates the eggs with a quantity of liquid sperm mass. After 10-15 minutes, the male distends the egg mass with his hind legs, applies them alternatingly to his body and extends them again until the strings of eggs are wound around his ankles. A male can copulate anew and carry up to four clutches around his legs with a total of 180 eggs or more (Noellert and Noellert 1992). Eggs are 2.6-3.5mm in diameter directly after laying and grow to 4.3-4.4 mm (likely through uptake of water). Males keep the egg mass moist by microhabitat choice, or by taking short baths. The males seek out small water bodies to discard the egg strings with the hatching larvae. Upon hatching, the larvae are about 13 mm and metamorphose when they have reached a maximum length of 70 mm, after 110 to 140 days at a development temperature of 20ºC. Newly metamorphosed toadlets have a snout-vent length of 2 4mm. Sexual maturity is reached at an age of at least 2 years.

  • Bosch, J. and Marquez, R. (1996). ''Discriminant functions for the sex identification in two midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans and A. cisternasii).'' Herpetological Journal, 6, 105-109.
  • Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.
  • Honegger, R. E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.
  • Marquez, R. and Verrell, P. (1990). ''The courtship and mating of the Iberian midwife toad Alytes cisternasii (Amphibia: Anura: Discoglossidae).'' Journal of Zoology, London, (225), 125-139.
  • Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threats are the loss of suitable Mediterranean forest habitat, the introduction of predatory fishes and Louisiana Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), and the loss of suitable aquatic habitats through pollution, canal construction, dams, and urbanization. A potential future threat is chytridiomycosis, which has already affected the related Alytes obstetricans in Spain.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Honnegger (1981) reports that the populations of A. cisternasii are declining for unknown reasons.Portuguese populations of A. cisternasii do not seem to be particularly endangered. In fact, this is one of the most common amphibian species south of the Tagus River. Similarly, Spanish populations are not, in general, threatened. However, in some areas, for example around Madrid, the species is a victim of the accelerated destruction of the Mediterranean forest (Gasc 1997).

  • Bosch, J. and Marquez, R. (1996). ''Discriminant functions for the sex identification in two midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans and A. cisternasii).'' Herpetological Journal, 6, 105-109.
  • Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.
  • Honegger, R. E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.
  • Marquez, R. and Verrell, P. (1990). ''The courtship and mating of the Iberian midwife toad Alytes cisternasii (Amphibia: Anura: Discoglossidae).'' Journal of Zoology, London, (225), 125-139.
  • Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is known to occur in Cabañeros and Doñana National Parks, Spain, and is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is protected by national legislation in Spain, and is recorded in a number of national and sub-national Red Data Books. Given the potential future threat of chytridiomycosis this species should be monitored closely.
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Wikipedia

Iberian midwife toad

The Iberian midwife toad or Sapo Partero Ibérico (Alytes cisternasii) is a species of frog in the Alytidae family (formerly Discoglossidae). It is found in Portugal and western Spain.

Its natural habitats are temperate forests, temperate shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, intermittent rivers, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, and aquaculture ponds. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Description[edit]

The Iberian midwife toad grows to a length of about 40 mm (1.6 in), males being rather smaller than females. The snout is rounded and the eyes large, with vertical slit pupils. There are tiny, often orange, warts on the upper eyelids. The parotoid glands are relatively small and the tympani distinct. There are many tubercles on the body and concentrations of glandular warts under the arms, in the groin area and on the ankles. The limbs are fairly short. The colour of the upper surface is brownish-grey with dark spots, and the warts are often reddish. The underparts are unspotted and greyish-white.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Iberian midwife toad is native to Portugal and western Spain at altitudes of up to 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) above sea level. Its preferred habitat is Mediterranean-type scrub, rough grazing and light oak woodland.[1]

Biology[edit]

Mating takes place in the autumn and the eggs are laid on land. The male then gathers up the egg mass and wraps it round his legs, carrying it around until the developing embryos are ready to hatch. He can carry as many as 180 eggs resulting from four clutches laid by different females. The male deposits the hatching tadpoles in suitable water bodies where they continue their development. Metamorphosis occurs about four months later when the tadpoles measure about 70 millimetres (2.8 in) in length.[2]

Status[edit]

The IUCN lists this species as being "Near Threatened". The main threats it faces are the degradation of suitable terrestrial habitat, pollution and loss of suitable breeding pools, and the introduction of the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii and non-native fishes which prey on the tadpoles. It is also threatened by the fungal disease chytridiomycosis.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pedro Beja, Jaime Bosch, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen, Rafael Marquez, Carmen Diaz Paniagua (2008). "Alytes cisternasii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  2. ^ a b Arie van der Meijden; Vance Vredenburg; Meredith Mahoney (2002-05-25). "Alytes cisternasii". AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
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