This species is known from the Caucasus Mountains in the mountainous parts of Krasnodar Region, Russia through the northern slope through Georgia and small area in northwestern Azerbaijan to mountainous areas of the eastern Black sea region (northeast Anatolia) Turkey. The presence in North Ossetia and Chechnya (Russia), require verification. It is found from sea level to 2,300m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is associated with broad leaved, mixed coniferous deciduous and, rarely, coniferous mountain forests. It generally occurs in dense vegetation (bushes and grasses). Aquatic habitats of the species include the shores and banks of ponds and streams with clear and cold flowing water, and still waters. Adults can be found in shady damp areas, sheltering under stones and other cover during the day. The species breeds in slow moving streams or stagnant waters with 1,000-2,000 eggs laid during warm period (generally May to Oct and June to Aug. in mountains). It requires leaf liter and is not tolerant of leaf litter removal (i.e. clear cutting). It is a rather subterranean species only being encountered, after rain and during the breeding season.
Very abundant locally in appropriate habitat. It has apparently declined in the former Soviet Union.
Population declines of this species in the former Soviet Union are poorly known, but in addition to a general loss and pollution of habitats (including through pesticides, mineral fertilizers, and cattle), populations are increasingly threatened by predation from the introduced North America Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Within Turkey, the Uzungol Lake (Trabzon) population of this species is seriously threatened by the localized loss of suitable vegetation (especially the horsetail Equesetum telmatera) through drainage of areas surrounding the lake as part of tourism development. Other populations within the country are patchily distributed.
Listed in the Red Data Books of the USSR, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Adygea and Krasnodar Regions (Russia). The species occurs in the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve and Sochi National Park (500,000 ha). It is present in several protected areas of Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is not known as to whether or not the Turkish populations occur in protected areas, or are protected by national legislation. There is a need to eradicate raccoons from the range of this species. There is a need to monitor breeding localities to record any further changes in species abundance.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
This species is considered to be Near Threatened due to population declines resulting from the introduction of the predatory species Procyon lotor (introduced in 1970-1980) which has recently become considerably more abundant. Additional declines result from habitat destruction (clearing for forests and leaf litter). Current rates of decline are not yet sufficient to qualify for a threat category.
Ugur Kaya, Boris Tuniyev, Sako Tuniyev, Sergius Kuzmin, David Tarkhnishvili, Boris Tuniyev, Theodore Papenfuss, Max Sparreboom, Ismail Ugurtas, Steven Anderson, Güven Eken, Tuba Kiliç, Engin Gem 2009. Pelodytes caucasicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T39422A10236383. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T39422A10236383.en .Downloaded on 21 February 2019