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The reproduction of the Apennine yellow-bellied toad (Bombina pachypus) in central Italy

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Amphibians are declining worldwide and many species are threatened for unknown reasons. In fact, information on ecology of several species are not available due to the lack of studies. The Apennine yellow-bellied toad (Bombina pachypus) is an Italian endemic species in progressive decline in many areas, often for unclear reasons. A two-year study of 116 temporary ponds in a grazing area of the Majella National Park (central Italy) from 2001 to 2002 revealed that: (a) Apennine yellow-bellied toads reproduced in small ponds characterized by high desiccation risk; (b) breeding activity occurred for a prolonged period (at least from May to the beginning of August), during which females spawned clutches of very few eggs in several, successive events; (c) the reproductive success was very low especially because of high egg mortality; and (d) the main cause of mortality was the desiccation of ponds. Consequently, the characteristics of breeding areas (i.e., small, ephemeral ponds) are the most important feature influencing the reproduction. The safeguard of temporary ponds is crucial for the conservation of this amphibian and could preserve also the other species using these pools.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Biology, University “Roma Tre”, Viale G. Marconi 146, 00146 Rome, Italy; 2: Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Viale dell'Università 32, 00185 Rome, Italy; 3: Department of Environmental Biology, University “Roma Tre”, Viale G. Marconi 146, 00146 Rome, Italy;, Email:


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