Bufotes variabilis
Variable Toad
family: Bufonidae
Species Description: Pallas, P. S. 1769. Spicilegia Zoologica, Quibus Novae Imprimus et Obscurae Animalium Species Iconibus, Descriptionibus atque Commentariis Illustrantur cura P.S. Pallas. Fasc. 7. Berolini: Gottl. August. Lange.

© 2016 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 53)

  hear call (362.7K MP3 file)
  hear call (882.2K MP3 file)
  hear call (882.2K MP3 file)

[call details here]

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Data Deficient (DD)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Sweden, Turkey


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


From the IUCN Red List Species Account:


Range Description

This species is mapped by Stöck et al. (2006) as ranging from Greece, eastwards through Turkey, Cyprus to Syria and Lebanon (and possibly south as fragmented populations through Israel and Jordan through western Saudi Arabia (although these populations are current unassigned to species by Stöck et al. [2006] and might represent Bufotes boulengeri). It is mapped in Iraq and Iran, and is recorded as being distributed through the Caucasus and Russia to Kazakhstan. Stöck et al. (2006) records a seemingly isolated population in Denmark, southern Sweden and northern Germany. There is a morphologically distinct population in the Kavir Desert known only from the type locality of 'Cheshmeh-ye Sefied Ab, situated about 10 km southwest of Kuh-e Ghal'e-ye Sard mountains and about 30 km south of Siah Kuh mountains in the southern part of the Kavir Protected Region about 200 km south of Teheran, Iran' (Andrén and Nilson 1979). The total range of this population consists of a single brackish spring and surrounding grass covered areas of less than 1 km2 in total (Andrén and Nilson 1979; G. Nilson pers. comm., September 2008). The distribution of Bufotes variabilis is considered to be incompletely known with further surveys needed.

Habitat and Ecology

Although additional details of natural history are needed for populations recognized as Bufotes variabilis, it seems plausible that it can be found in similar habitats to those populations indicated by Stöck et al. (2006) as belonging to Bufotes viridis, including grassland, meadows and steppe habitats, forests and shrubland, and a range of wetland areas or waterbodies. The isolated Kavir Desert population is restricted to the area of a single brackish spring and surrounding grassland within this highly arid environment.


There is little information available for populations recognized by Stöck et al. (2006) as Bufotes variabilis. The isolated population indicated by Stöck et al. (2006) from Denmark, Sweden and possibly northern Germany are considered to be rare and declining. Populations in Israel my be expanding their range with increasing irrigation of arid areas. The isolated population in the Kavir Desert is very small, possibly only 100 mature individuals, but certainly less than 1,000 animals (G. Nilson pers. comm., September 2008).

Population Trend


Major Threats

The threats to the species are poorly known, but in view of the widely reported distribution for Bufotes variabilis it is probable that there are no overall major threats. The key threats to this species in parts of its range are likely to be similar to that of Bufotes viridis, namely the loss (for instance through agricultural expansion) or degradation (pollution) of wetland breeding habitats. The Kavir Desert population is found in an extremely remote area, although there are buildings of the Game Guard Post surrounding the single spring. Although there are no current threats to this population, it is plausible that any alteration of the stream flow (for example through the creation of watering troughs for game animals) could lead to the rapid decline of this morphologically distinct population.

Conservation Actions

Additional taxonomic studies are needed for populations currently indicated as belonging to Bufotes variabilis by Stöck et al. (2006), as are studies into the natural history of these populations. Further details of the distribution are desirable. It seems probable that if Bufotes variabilis is widespread that it will also be present in some protected areas, although this requires confirmation. Further studies are needed to confirm the identity of green toad populations in Israel and Jordan. The entire range of the morphologically distinct Kavir Desert population is within the very well-protected Kavir National Park. There is a need to ensure that no development of the limited habitat of this locality is undertaken.

Red List Status

Data Deficient (DD)


Listed as Data Deficient in view of continuing problems with its taxonomy as well as absence of recent information on its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements.

Taxonomic Notes

Stöck et al. (2006) removed this name from the synonymy of Bufo viridis (now Bufotes viridis). However, the taxonomic status of variabilis remains controversial and is currently not widely accepted. We provisionally include information here on populations allocated to Bufotes (Bufo) variabilis by Stöck et al. (2006) pending further revision of the genus Bufotes. The isolated population of Bufotes from the Kavir Desert in Iran was included in the synonymy of Bufotes (Bufo) viridis kermanensis by Stöck et al. 2001. However, the species is morphologically (especially the skull) and vocally distinct from populations of Bufotes (Bufo) found surrounding the Kavir Desert (G. Nilson pers. comm., September 2008).


Aziz Avci, Boris Tuniyev, Jelka Crnobrnja Isailovic, Petros Lymberakis, Claes Andrén, Dan Cogalniceanu, John Wilkinson, Natalia Ananjeva, Nazan Üzüm, Nikolai Orlov, Richard Podloucky, Sako Tuniyev, Uğur Kaya, Göran Nilson, Mozafar Sharifi, Theodore Papenfuss & Soheila Shafiei Bafti 2015. Bufotes variabilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T153571A74506381. .Downloaded on 19 January 2019


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