European green toad (Bufo viridis)

7 April 2015
Bufo-viridis-foto

The scientific name of this toad has been under debate for a long time [12, 15, 17] and it is not yet established. The proposal for the Pseudo epidalea genus was subsequently denied and changed into Epidalea. [13, 14] After that it was changed again into Bufotes. The scientific name of Bufo viridis will still be used until the taxonomy of the species is established.

It is a highly spread species. It can be found from Eastern France and Italy to Central Asia and also in Northern Africa and several Mediterranean islands. [1, 6, 7]

Distribution of Bufo viridis in Europe [8]

Distribution of Bufo viridis in Europe [8]

It is one of the most common species of amphibians in Romania and it can also be found in urban areas. [2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 16]

Distribution of Bufo viridis in Romania [3]

Distribution of Bufo viridis in Romania [3]

Morphology. It is a massive species with a boxy body. Its head is more developed in width than in length. The eyeball is horizontal and the eardrum is distinct. The digits of the front legs are short with a round ending. The third digit is the longest, the second and the third digits are equal. The hind legs are relatively long; the tibio-tarsal joint of the stretched leg reaches the eye or a place between the eye and the nostril in males and in females it reaches a place between the shoulder and the eye. In right angle with the axis of the body, the legs touch or slightly overlap when bended. The digits of the hind legs are not very long; the inter-digital membrane connects the digits up to half of the longest digit. They present two meta-tarsal tubercles, an internal one which is prominent and has an oval shape and an external one which is smaller and has an oval or round shape. On the inside of the tarsus there is a well highlighted horny skin fold which the toad uses for digging. On the dorsal side of the body the tegument is covered by numerous warts. A row of larger warts stands out from the lumbar region to the mouth apex. The parotids are large and pear-shaped, slightly convergent to the base. The ventral side is granular. The male differs from the female. It is smaller in size and has powerful front legs with nuptial callosities during the reproduction season. Their inter-digital membranes are more developed and they also have a large internal vocal sack placed in the sub-jugular area. [6, 7]

Color. The color is slightly variable on the dorsal side but typical for the species. The background is yellowish-white, greenish-grey or yellowish with shades of pink. Large, irregular, green or olive spots occur on this background. On the ventral side the color is dirty white with or without darker spots. The color of the iris is vermicular greenish-yellow with black. [6, 7]

Ecology. The European green toad is a terrestrial species and it is more common than the common toad (Bufo bufo). It can be found from the sea level up to the altitude of 1700m. It is crepuscular-nocturnal species. After the sun sets or when the versant is no longer exposed to the sun it comes out for food. It can also be diurnal in semi-adult development stages. During the day it stays hidden in subterraneous galleries made by rodents or by itself, in rock cracks or under stones, tree trunks, leaves or grass shrubs. It feeds on invertebrates like insects, centipedes, spiders, snails, earthworms, bugs and ants. It moves very fast and jumps more easily than the common toad. [6, 7]

Reproduction. It has a more aquatic activity than Bufo bufo during the reproduction season and it can be found in water from April to June. Amplexus is axillary. The eggs are smaller than those of the common toad. They are black and set in jelly strings which can have up to 10,000-12,000 eggs. Two to four rows of eggs can be observed if the strings are not tangled around the underwater vegetation. The larvae develop relatively fast, in 2-3 months and are larger than those of Bufo bufo. [6, 7]

Legislation. In Romania the species is protected by Law no.13 of 1993, by which Romania ratifies The Berne Convention (Annex II), by European Directive no.92/43/EEC (Annex IV), by Law no.462/2001 on the statute of natural protected areas, the conservation of natural habitats, of wild flora and fauna (Annex IV) and also by Government Emergency Ordinance no.57/2007 regarding the statute of natural protected areas, the conservation of natural habitats, of wild flora and fauna, approved with subsequent amendments and supplements (Annex IVA), being considered a community interest species which requires strict protection. [18, 19, 20, 21]

According to the IUCN classification, the species has a statute of least concern at a world level (LC), and in the Red Cart of Vertebrates in Romania the species is mentioned as threatened (NT). [9, 22]

References

1. Bologna M.A., Giacoma C., (2006): Bufo viridis Laurenti, 1768. In: Sindaco, R., Doria, G., Razzetti, E., Bernini, F. (eds.), Atlante degli Anfibi e dei Rettili d’Italia / Atlas of Italian Amphibians and Reptiles, Societas Herpetologica Italica, Edizioni Polistampa, pp. 306-311.

2. Cogalniceanu D., Aioanei F., Bogdan M., (2000): Amfibienii din România, Determinator. Editura Ars Docendi, Bucharest, Romania.

3. Cogălniceanu D., Szekely P., Samoilă C., Iosif R., Tudor M., Plăiaşu R., Stănescu F., Rozylowicz  L., (2013): Diversity and distribution of amphibians in Romania, Zookeys 296:25-57.

4. Covaciu–Marcov S.D., Ghira I., Venczel M,. (2000): Contributions for the study of the herpetofauna of Oradea. Nymphaea, Folia Naturae Bihariae 28: 143–158.

5. Covaciu-Marcov, S.D., Ghira, I., Cicort-Lucaiu A.S., Sas I., Strugariu A., Bogdan H.V., (2006): Contributions to knowledge regarding the geographical distribution of the herpetofauna of Dobrudja, Romania. North-Western Journal of Zoology 2: 88-125.

6. Fuhn  I. E.  (1960):  Amphibia. In: Fauna  R.P.R.,  Vol.  XIV,  Fasc.  1, Ed.  Academiei R.P.R., Bucureşti. [in Ro]

7. Fuhn, I.E. (1969): Broaște, șerpi, șopârle. Ed. Ştiinţifică, Bucureşti. [in Ro]

8. Gasc J.P., Cabela A., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, Domen D., Groessenbacher K., Haffner P., Lescure J., Martens H., Marinez Rica J.P., Maurin H., Oliveira M.E., Sofianidou T.S., Veith M., Zuiderwijk A., (1997): Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle Paris.

9. Iftime A., (2005): Reptilia. In: Botnariuc & Tatole (eds): Cartea Roşie a Vertebratelor din România, Ed. Acad. Române, București. [in Ro]

10. Kovacs, H., Sas, I. (2010): Aspects of breeding activity of Bufo viridis in an urban habitat: a case study in Oradea, Romania. Biharean Biologist 4: 73-77.

11. Kovacs, H., Sas, I. (2009): Cannibalistic behaviour of Epidalea (Bufo) viridis tadpoles in an urban breeding habitat. North-Western Journal of Zoology 5: 206-208.

12. Litvinchuk, S. N., Rosanov, J. M., Borkin, L. J.. Skorinov, D. V. (2007): Molecular, biochemical and cytogenetic aspects of microevolution in anurans in Russia and adjacent countries. In: Ananjeva, N. B. & Lada, G. A. (eds.), Voprosy Gerpetologii, Proceedings of the Third Conference of Herpetological Society of A. M. Nikolsky, St. Petersburg, 247-257.

13. Sos T., (2008): Review of recent taxonomic and nomenclatural changes in European Amphibia and Reptilia related to Romanian herpetofauna, Herpetologica Romanica, Vol. 2: 61-91.

14. Speybroek J., Crochet P.A., (2007): Species list for the European herpetofauna – a tentative update. Podarcis 8(1/2): 8-34.

15. Stöck, M., Moritz, C., Hickerson, M., Frynta, D., Dujsebayeva, T., Eremchenko, V., Macey, J. R., Papenfuss T. J., Wake D. B., (2006): Evolution of mitochondrial relationships and biogeography of Palearctic green toads (Bufo viridis subgroup) with insights in their genomic plasticity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41: 663-689.

16. Strugariu A., Gherghel I., Hutuleac-Volosciuc M.V., Puscasu C.M., (2007): Preliminary aspects concerning the herpetofauna from urban and peri-urban environments fromn North-Eastern Romania: a case study in the city of Suceava. Herpetologica Romanica 1:53-61.17.

17. Vences M. (2007): The Amphibian Tree of Life: Ideologie, Chaos oder biologische Realität? Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 14: 153–162.

18. ***Legea 13 din 1993 prin care România ratifică Convenţia de la Berna. [in Ro]

19. ***Directiva Europeana 92/43/EEC. [in Ro]

20. ***Legea nr. 462/2001 privind regimul ariilor naturale protejate, conservarea habitatelor naturale, a florei şi faunei sălbatice. [in Ro]

21. ***Ordonanţa de Urgenţă a Guvernului nr. 57/2007 privind regimul ariilor naturale protejate, conservarea habitatelor naturale, a florei şi faunei sălbatice, aprobată cu modificări şi completări ulterioare. [in Ro]

22. *** www.iucnredlist.org

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