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Iberian Painted Frog (Discoglossus galganoi). Great Malaga Path

Diputación de Málaga

Iberian Painted Frog (Discoglossus galganoi). Great Malaga Path

IDENTIFICATION  

This is an anura (amphibian without a tail in as an adult age) with a medium sized frog appearance (up to 6 cm total length). It has a shiny skin, spotted with small, elongated warts. Its colour pattern is very variable, even within the same population. Ochre, brown or greyish tones usually dominate. The larvae are short (up to 3.5 cm total length). They are born with a black colour or a very dark tone, which becomes clearer as the development progresses, until adopting brown tones. They have a characteristic dark reticulated design on the tail.

WHERE DOES IT LIVE (HABITAT)

This species is present in different habitats ranging from crops to meadows, and even forests. It seems to prefer wet meadows, almost always close to water points where it reproduces. The water masses are usually minor, both in depth and in size, and often consist of temporary mudslides. It also commonly uses small springs, always with herbaceous vegetation.

HOW DOES IT LIVE?

Adult Iberian painted frogs have very aquatic habits and a predominantly nocturnal activity. During the reproduction period, it is easier to observe by day. If there is enough humidity, painted frogs can be active all year round. However, in our province, it is often difficult to find them during the summer months. The adults feed on a wide variety of small invertebrates. The tadpoles consume algae or other aquatic plants and organic debris.

HOW DOES IT REPRODUCE?

The rutting period usually occurs between February and March. The males’ song (practically imperceptible to the human ear) attracts the females. During the coupling, the females lay a gelatinous mass with several hundred eggs. One week later the larvae hatch and complete their development within one or two months, giving rise after the metamorphosis to tiny 1 cm little painted frogs.

WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN MALAGA AND ON THE STAGES OF THE GREAT PATH?

It is a well distributed species among the province, except in the large agricultural areas of the regions of Guadalteba and Antequera, Guadalhorce and Axarquía. In the Great Path, we can find it on stages 6 to 15, 20 and 23 to 34.

LEVEL OF PROTECTION - THREAT (INVENTORY)

This frog is part of the Andalusian Wildlife Species under Special Protection List. The great transformations that the agrarian landscapes are suffering represent an important loss of quality for this species’ habitats, mainly due to the disappearance or serious alteration of small wetlands it needs to reproduce.

CURIOUS FACTS

The Iberian painted frog and the Betic midwife toad belong to a very primitive family of anuran amphibians: the Discoglosidians. They are characterized by having a disc-shaped tongue that they can barely move since it is attached at its base to the palate. Consequently, it can not extend its tongue to capture its prey, having to use its mouth and restrict its captures to insects passing near the animal. These amphibians do not have a very specialized lifestyle compared to other anurans. 

SIMILAR SPECIES (IT CAN BE MISTAKEN WITH...) 

It can be confused with the Perez's frog. It differs because the Iberian painted frog exhibits a longer snout, a heart-shaped pupil and its eardrum is barely visible. In addition, its inter digital membrane is very underdeveloped, in comparison with those of the frog's hind legs. The larvae are easily confused with those of the common and runner toad, due to their small size and dark colouration. As the development progresses they become clearer and the fine dark lattice in the tail, which the common and runner toad's tadpoles lack, can be noticed.

Animal Life > Amphibians
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Phenology
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Active adults Larvae in the water