Thursday, 12 September 2019

Lucky Amphibians

In the drought we are having amphibians are doing it tough. Many of their normal hangouts are completely dry. But any that live around a certain spot in the woods are lucky. They have access to a permanent and reliable spring. It may just seep gently out of the slope and run down to collect in a small lake, but it is enough to keep the frogs and toads comfortable. That's one of the reasons a team of local ecologists and biodiversity surveyors want to get the site listed as a protected zone (ZNIEFF).  Here are some pictures I took recently.

Spiny Toad Bufo spinosus (Fr. Crapaud épineux).
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

According to my expert colleague Benjamin, this is the newly described (2012) species Spiny Toad Bufo spinosus. He says that the convergent paratoid glands (between the eyes and the front legs) and the dark orange-red colour of the irises tells you it is most likely B. spinosus. And in any case, he adds, most, if not all, Bufo in Indre et Loire are B. spinosus. But if you go to Loir et Cher or Loiret, not very far away to the east, the Spiny Toads peter out and you get Common Toad B. bufo taking their place.

One of the green frog group Pelophylax spp (Fr. les grenouilles vertes).

There are several Pelophylax species, impossible to tell apart from photos, and a definite identification requires DNA testing.

Another individual of the green frog group.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


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Katie Zeller said...

A friend was telling us that it looked extremely dry in your area. Our ponds still have a bit of water in them but I don't remember the last rain we've had.

Susan said...

Very dry indeed. I certainly can't remember it being like this. A bit of rain at the end of August/beginning of September, but it hardly settled the dust and now the temperatures are in the 30s again.

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