Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad
© 2009 Andreas & Christel Nöllert (1 of 12)
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The clutch size ranges from a few eggs to a few tens of eggs. It is thought that each female lays a few eggs during each wave of reproduction, but in different temporary pools. However, it is not clear how often females reproduce in the wild. Female frogs in captivity showed varying reproductive activity, with one female laying several eggs multiple times during the month of June, and a few eggs during a short period in September; another female laid a few eggs during a single short period in July; a third captive female did not lay any eggs (Guarino et al. 1998).
This species is relatively long-lived, with an average lifespan of 8 years, and an apparent maximum lifespan of 16 years. Sexual maturity is attained during the third year of life (Guarino et al. 1995).
The species, like others in the genus Bombina, is toxic. The secretions are discharged through the skin when the animal is threatened or stimulated (Barberio et al. 1987). These secretions have also been found to be antimicrobial and antifungal (Barberio et al. 1987, Mastromei et al. 1991). When threatened, the animal will arch its back in response to expose its colorful yellow and black underside as a warning of its toxicity to possible predators (Bajger 1980). This arching of the body is known as the "unken reflex" and the behavior is found throughout the genus Bombina, as well as in some salamanders.
Trends and Threats
It has been postulated that sympatric water frogs of the Rana esculenta complex may act as a reservoir species for chytrid fungus and may contribute to chytrid-related declines in B. pachypus (Simoncelli et al. 2005).
The species may be declining due to the loss of wetland habitat as a result of agricultural damage (Canestrelli et al. 2006). It occurs in several protected areas in Italy, including Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Parco Nazionale Pollino and Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga (IUCN 2008). Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park began a long-term monitoring program for this species in 1999 (Ferri 2000; DiMartino and Ferri 2002).
Between 2005 and 2010, populations of B. pachypus which were associated with man-made aquatic environments(eg. troughs or washtubs) underwent greater decline than those in natural habitats. Maintenance and cleaning by agricultural workers had previously made these ideal for B. pachypus reproductive success, by removing shading and vegetation conducive to tadpole predators such as dragonflies and newts. Inland depopulation and agricultural abandonment since the 1960's, however, has resulted in the overgrowth or complete loss of these cultivated habitats, resulting in decline of B. pachypus (Stefano Canessa, FrogLog 2012).
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
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Barberio, C., Delfino, G., and Mastromei, G. (1987). ''A low molecular weight protein with antimicrobial activity in the cutaneous 'venom' of the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata pachypus).'' Toxicon, 25, 899-909.
Canestrelli, D., Cimmaruta, R., Constantini, V., and Nascetti, G. (2006). ''Genetic diversity and phylogeography of the Apennine yellow-bellied toad Bombina pachypus, with implications for conservation.'' Molecular Ecology, 15(12), 3741-3754.
Di Martino, V., and Ferri, V. (2002). Distribuzione e Iniziative Di Conservazione Di Bombina pachypus Nel Parco Nazionale Del Gran Sasso E Monti Della Laga. Proceedings of Third Conference, Save the Amphibians, Lugano, June 23-24, 2000, Penne (Pescara).
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Simoncelli, F., Fagotti, A., Dall'Olio, R., Vagnetti, D., Pascolini, R., and Di Rosa, I. (2005). ''Evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in water frogs of the Rana esculenta complex in central Italy.'' Ecohealth, 2(4), 307-312.
Stagni, G., Dall'Olio, R., Fusini, U., Mazzotti, S., Scoccianti, C., and Serra, A. (2004). ''Declining populations of Apennine Yellow Bellied Toad Bombina pachypus in northern Apennines (Italy): is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis the main cause?'' Italian Journal of Zoology 71 (Supplement 2): 5-13, 71, 5-13.
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Written by Dustin Guericke, John Cavagnaro (dustingrey AT gmail.com), Black Hills State University
First submitted 2008-12-19
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2012-04-03)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Bombina pachypus: Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/5994> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 25, 2020.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Jan 2020.
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