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Distribution, ecology and conservation of the parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) in Italy (Amphibia, Pelodytidae)

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Abstract

In Italy, the parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) readies the eastern limit of its distribution range along the Mediterranean coast in Liguria and in southern Piedmont. The status of the Italian populations was analysed on the basis of a complete survey of known breeding sites. Since 1993. the reproduction of P. punctatus has been observed in only 15 sites, several of which were discovered during the monitoring project. Spawning sites were mainly small temporary pools, small streams and artificial tanks in Mediterranean habitats. The number of breeding females was estimated indirectly counting egg strings both in spring and autumn, from 2000 to 2002. Populations appeared isolated and made up of an extremely low number of reproductive females (range 2–19. mean 9). In Italy, P. punctatus populations show a fragmented distribution and appear threatened mainly by the drying up of pools or habitat destruction. For each reproductive site, the conservation status was evaluated, and a general conservation strategy was proposed. Active management of breeding sites, with the maintenance and/or creation of small temporary water bodies should be planned. The collaboration of private landowners and local administrations was requested, and in one case, active management of a relevant breeding site obtained.
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Distribution, ecology and conservation of the parsley
frog (Pelodytes punctatus) in Italy (Amphibia,
Pelodytidae)
Sebastiano Salvidio
a
, Luca Lamagni
b
, Pierluigi Bombi
c
& Marco A. Bologna
c
a
Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse , DIPTE.RIS, Università di
Genova , Corso Europa 26, I-16132, Genova, Italy E-mail:
b
Pro Natura Genova , Via Brigata Liguria, 9, I-16121, Genova, Italy E-mail:
c
Dipartimento di Biologia , Università Roma Tre, Roma , Viale Marconi, 446, I-00146,
Roma, Italy E-mail:
Published online: 19 May 2010.
To cite this article: Sebastiano Salvidio , Luca Lamagni , Pierluigi Bombi & Marco A. Bologna (2004) Distribution, ecology
and conservation of the parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) in Italy (Amphibia, Pelodytidae), Italian Journal of Zoology,
71:S1, 73-81, DOI: 10.1080/11250003.2004.9525540
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11250003.2004.9525540
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Hal. J. Zool., 71. Suppl.
1:
73-81 (2004)
Distribution, ecology and conservation
of the parsley frog
(Pelodytes
punctatus)
in Italy (Amphibia, Pelodytidae)
SEBASTIANO SALVIDIO
Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse
DIPTE.RIS, Università di Genova,
Corso Europa 26,
1-16132
Genova (Italy)
E-mail: salvidio@dipleris.miige.il
LUCA LAMAGNI
Pro Natura Genova,
Via Brigata Liguria, 9,
1-16121
Genova (Italy)
E-mail: malpolon@libero.it
PIERLUIGI BOMBI
MARCO A. BOLOGNA
Dipartimento di Biologia. Università Roma Tre. Roma.
Viale Marconi, 446,
[-00146
Roma (Italy)
E-mail: botnM9unirotna3.il; bologna@uniroma3.it
ABSTRACT
In Italy, the parsley frog
(
Pelodytes punctatus) readies the east-
ern limit of its distribution range along the Mediterranean coast in
Liguria and in southern Piedmont. The status of the Italian popu-
lations was analysed on the basis of a complete survey of known
breeding sites. Since 1993. the reproduction of /'. punctatus has
been observed in only 15 sites, several of which were discovered
during the monitoring project. Spawning sites were mainly small
temporary pools, small streams and artificial tanks in Mediter-
ranean habitats. The number of breeding females was estimated
indirectly counting egg strings both in .spring and autumn, from
2000 to 2002. Populations appeared isolated and made up of an
extremely low number of reproductive females (range 2-19. mean
9).
In Italy. /'. punctatus populations show a fragmented distribu-
tion and appear threatened mainly by the drying up of pools or
habitat destruction. For each reproductive site, the conservation
status was evaluated, and a general conservation strategy was
proposed. Active management of breeding sites, with the mainte-
nance and/or creation of small temporary water bodies should be
planned. The collaboration of private landowners and local ad-
ministrations was requested, and in one case, active management
of a relevant breeding site obtained.
KEY WORDS: Pelodytes punctatus - Distribution - Ecology -
Conservation - Monitoring.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We wish to thank the following naturalists who helped us dur-
ing the field work. Riccardo Jesu. Carla Marangoni. Dario Ottonel-
lo,
Monica Pitzalis, Donatella Rosilici, Emiliano Trucchi, Federica
Turco.
INTRODUCTION
The genus Pelodytes Bonaparte, 1838 distributed in
the north Mediterranean and Colchidian area, only in-
cludes three species: P. caucasicus Boulengcr. 1896
from Georgia and northern Turkey, P. ibericus Sànchez-
Hérraiz, Barbadillo, Machordom. Sanchiz, 2000, from
southern Spain and southern Portugal, and
P.
punctatus
(Daudin, 1802) (Fig. 1). The distribution of the parsley
frog
P.
punctatus ranges from central and eastern Spain,
to France and NW Italy (Toxopeus et al., 1993- Guyé-
tant, 1997). Peracca (1886) firstly cited this species in
Italy. It reaches its eastern limit of distribution in south-
ern Piedmont (Peracca, 1886; Sindaco & Andreone,
1988) and Liguria (Sindaco, 1994). In Liguria and Pied-
mont, the historical, stable localities identified are less
than twenty (Table I) (Torchio, 1963; Hotz, 1971; Bruno,
1977;
Lanza, 1983; Doria, 1887; Sindaco & Andreone,
1988;
Boano & Delmastro, 1989; Jesu et ai, 2000a).
Thus,
the parsley frog represents one of the lesser
known amphibians in Italy, deserving special research
and management efforts.
In recent decades, with the exception of a few studies
(Torchio, 1963; Sindaco & Andreone, 1988), scarce field
surveys have assessed the distribution and ecology of P.
punctatus in Italy. Field surveys have recently been
conducted in the framework of the regional herpetolog-
Ical atlases of Liguria (Doria & Salvidio, 1994) and Pied-
mont (Andreone & Sindaco, 1999). These studies veri-
fied some of the historic sites, and identified a few new
localities (Sindaco, 1994). Moreover, some practical con-
servation activities such as habitat management and
captive breeding programmes were started (Jesu el al..
2000a. 2000b). However, information on biology, habi-
tat preferences and threats to parsley frog populations
in Italy remain scarse (but see Jesu et al., 2000a), and
the need to assess its conservation status and propose
specific management actions is required.
Eig. 1 - Adult of Pelodytes punctatus ham Ml. Mao. Bergeggi
(Photo L. Lamagni).
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74
S. SALVIDIO, L LAMAGNI. P. BOMBI, M. A. BOLOGNA
TABLE I - Published and original records q/"Pelodytes punctatus in Italy.
The
geographical coordinates are approximated for conserva-
tionistic reasons.
Locality (Province)
Piedmont Region
Between Càstino and
Cortemilia, Alba (CN)
Tana del Forno, 114/Pi,
Serra di Pamparato (CN)
Mombaldone. Asti (A'D
Mornese (AL)
Liguria Region
Roverino, M. Fontana,
Camporosso (IM)
Ospedaletti, Sanremo (l.V
Pompeiana, S. Bernardo
chapel (IM)
Road Cipressa-Pompeian
about 700 m E of Case
Zunchi (IM)
Elevation
(m
a.s.l.)
1045
360
390
0
367
a 470
Coordinates
44°38'N-08°45'E
43°48'N-07°36'E
43°51'N-07°53'E
43°51'N-07
o
54'E
References
Peracca (1886), Vandoni (1914),
Tortonese (1941), Bruno (1977), Andreone
& Sindaco (1999), Jesu et al. (2000b)
Morisi (1972, 1983), Bologna & Vigna
Tagliami (1985), Sindaco (1994), Andreone
& Sindaco (1999), Jesu et al. (2000b)
Sindaco & Andreone (1988), Andreone &
Sindaco (1999), Jesu et al. (2000b)
Sindaco et al. (2002)
Jesu et al. (2000a, 2000b) as "Ciaixe"
Kohler, 1916 in KJingelhòffer (1956)
Icitation not verified], Bruno (1977),
Jesu et al. (2000b)
This paper
This paper
Notes
One specimen,
I.IV.
1886
M. G. Peracca
leg.,
in the Museo Regionale di Scienze
Naturale of Torino, An663 (Tortoncse,
1941;
Elter (1982), Cavetti & Andreone,
1993) No other data (Sindaco, 1999).
Cited as "one juvenile" but no specimen
conserved; site doubtful - to verifiy
(Sindaco et al., 2002).
One juvenile in the Museo Civico di
Storia Naturale of Genoa, MSNG 29743,
VI.1920, S. Molini leg. No other data
(Sindaco, 1999).
Adult specimens observed and
photographed (Sindaco et al., 2002).
Breeding site unknown
X.1996 R. Jesu & A. Grasso obs.; 1 egg string
and tadpoles 29.IV.2000 M. Bologna & P.
Bombi; several tadpoles 28.IV2001 M.
Bologna, L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio (about 100
transferred in an artifical tank, 300 m S,
because the pond had almost dried up).
No tadpoles, pond almost dry or dried up
19.111.2000 L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio, 13.V1.2000
M. Bologna, P. Bombi, 7.X.2000 M. Bologna,
P.
Bombi, L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio, 12.IV.2002,
18.V.2002, and 12.X.2002 M. Bologna,
P.
Bombi, M. Pitzalis, F. Turco, E. Trucchi.
No specimen conserved. No other data in
spite of periodic surveys in an old artificial
tank fed by a perennial stream
(Fosso dell'Acqua Marcia) populated by
three other species of amphibians, and
in several other tanks for agriculture.
Tadpoles 12.VI.20OO M. Bologna, P. Bombi,
D.
Rosilici; 1 male 7.X.2000 M. Bologna, P.
Bombi, L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio; 1 male and 3
egg strings 9.XI.2000 S. Salvidio; young and
mature tadpoles in both tanks 25.III.2O01 M.
Bologna; 9 egg strings 20.1V.2001 S. Salvidio,
Tribocco; 2 egg strings, about 100 young and
some mature tadpoles and 4 individual just
metamorphosed still in the water 27.IV.2001 M.
Bologna, L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio; 2 males
12.IV.2002 M. Bologna, P. Bombi, M. Pitzalis,
E. Trucchi; a few tadpoles 27.IV2002 M.
Bologna & C. Marangoni; both young and
mature tadpoles 17.V2002 M. Bologna,
P.
Bombi, E. Trucchi.; 5 males also in call,
2 egg strings 11.X.2002 M. Bologna,
P.
Bombi, M. Pitzalis, F. Turco.
One mature tadpole 25.111.2001 M. Bologna;
several young and one mature tadpoles
27.IV.2001 M. Bologna, L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio.
Pond dry 12.1V.2002 and 27.IV.20O2 M.
Bologna & C. Marangoni. Pools with water but
no specimens, 11X2002 M. Bologna, P.
Bombi, M. Pitzalis, F. Turco.
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DISTRIBUTION AND ECOLOGY OF
PELODYTES PUNCTATUS
IN ITALY 75
TABLE
I -
Continued.
Continued
Locality (Province)
Cipressa 3 ponds near
gas-pipeline pump (IM)
Lucinasco, laghetto di
S. Stefano, (IM)
Salea, Rio Fanfane,
Albenga (SV)
Albenga (SV)
Campochiesa,
Albenga (SV)
Rio Ibà, Peagna,
Ceriale (SV)
Cava Pattarello, Borghett
S. Spirito (SV)
Grotta inferiore di S. Luci;
59/Li, Toirano (SV)
Monte Grosso fountain
near Quagliodromo (SV)
Monte Grosso pond and
lank near perdix cages
(SV)
Cava S. Ambrogio,
Borgio Verezzi (SV)
Elevation
(m
a.s.l.)
350-417
509
60
120
200
o 57
i, 200
265
280
243
Coordinates
43°51'N-07°55'E
43°57'N-07°57'E
44°05'N-08°11'E
44°05'N-08°11'E
44
o
05'N-08°ll'E
44°06'N-08°13
,
E
44°08N-08°12'E
44°10'N-08°17'E
44°09'N-08°17'E
44°09'N-8°18'E
References
This paper
Lanza (1983), Jesu et al. (2000b);
erroneously cited (Capula, in verbis 2000)
as "Borgomaro" by Sindaco & Andreone
(1988),
Sindaco (1994) and Jesu et al.
(2000b)
This paper
Sindaco & Andreone (1988)
Jesu et al. (2000a, 2000b)
Jesu et al. (2000a, 2000b)
This paper
Doria (1887), Dellepiane (1924), Brian
(1938,
1940, both as "Batraci"), Franciscolo
(1955),
Bologna & Vigna Tagliami (1985),
Sindaco (1994), Jesu et al. (2000b); cited as
"Toirano" by Capocaccia (1956), Bruno
(1977),
and probably as "Loano" by Vandoni
(1914),
Capocaccia (1956), Sindaco &
Andreone (1988)
This paper
This paper
This paper
Notes
2 egg strings (and residual of 4 other egg
strings),
several very small tadpoles 25.111.2001
M. Bologna (third pond); several tadpoles
31.III.2001 L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio (first pond);
several tadpoles 27.IV.2001 M. Bologna,
L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio (firstpond; other two
ponds dried). Ponds dry 12.IV.2002 and
27.IV.2002 M. Bologna & C. Marangoni; some
tadpoles 17.V.2002 M. Bologna, P. Bombi,
E. Trucchi (first pond). Pools with water but
no specimens, 11.X.2002 M. Bologna,
P.
Bombi, M. Pitzalis, F. Turco.
One specimen not preserved in M. Bologna
coll., 2.IV.1972 M. Bologna; one male in Museo
La Specola of Firenze 16600 MZUF, 18.IV,1981,
M. Borri, P. Agnelli & L. Malenotti; one male in
M. Capula coll.,
IV.
1984
at nigth M. Capula. No
other data in spite of periodic surveys from
March 1999 to October 2002.
Tadpoles, autumn 1999; several tadpoles
22.IV.2001 and 19.V.2001 L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio;
dried pond X.2000 M. Bologna, P. Bombi.
Adult in Museo Civico di Storia Naturale of
Genova, MSNG 37175, V.1958 A. Margiocco
2 egg strings
IV.
1996
L. Cortesogno,
L. Lamagni, S. Ortale. No more observations
until 8.X.2001.
10 egg strings IV.1996 L. Lamagni, S. Ortale;
one male, about 10.111.2001 L. Lamagni;
no specimens 23-111.2001 M. Bologna,
L. Lamagni; 1 egg string and young tadpoles
14.IV.2001 L. Lamagni.
15 egg strings 28.111.2001 L. Lamagni,
S. Salvidio; tadpoles IV.201 L. Lamagni;
tadpoles 31X.2002 L. lamagni. Several
tadpoles were transferred to Campochiesa
6.V.2000 because this pond was drying up.
One adult in the Museo Civico di Storia
Naturale of Genoa, MSNG 29745, 10.VIII.1883,
A. lssel; perhaps other specimens collected by
A. Vacca and cited by Brian (1940) are
preserved in the Genoa Museum.
2 gravid females in a small water tank
23.111.2001 M. Bologna & L. Lamagni. Neither
males nor eggs were observed: this is probably
not a breeding site.
Numerous tadpoles 13-V.2000 L. Lamagni;
numerous tadpoles and 2 egg strings
23.111.2001 M. Bologna & L. Lamagni; tadpoles
IV. 2002 L. Lamagni, D. Ottonello, S. Salvidio:
1 calling male 2.X1.2002 D. Ottonello
One male in mating call 19IH2000 L. Lamagni;
5 egg strings 23.IV.2000 L. Lamagni; 1 male in
mating call and 1 gravid female 23.III.2001 M.
Bologna & L. Lamagni
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76
S. SALVIDIO, L. IAMAGNI, P. BOMBI, M. A. BOLOGNA
TABLE I - Continued.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Distribution
other localities where only adults were identified. Each site was
geographically coded by a GPS; altitude and habitat characteris-
tics were also described.
Field surveys were carried out monthly in the reproductive pe-
riod (March-June; October-November), and also occasionally in
other months from 1999 to 2002, along the entire coastal and sub-
coastal western Liguria and in some areas of southern Piedmont
(the Tanaro and Pennavaira valleys, Ovadese). By exploring the
territory using detailed maps and seeking information from the lo-
cal people, we checked a large number of suitable habitats, such
as temporary ponds, streams, tanks, springs. Extensive research
was particularly developed in the Imperia province, where only
two reliable records were known before the monitoring work.
The distribution database includes the breeding sites as well as
Breeding sites description
Breeding sites were defined as water bodies in which the presence
of parsley frog egg strings or tadpoles were observed. Thus, terrestri-
al sites where adult frogs were found were not considered reproduc-
tive habitats. The identification of P. punctatus tadpoles was con-
firmed in the laboratory, where specimens preserved in 5% formalde-
hyde were examined under a dissecting microscope, determined ac-
cording to identification keys (Boulenger, 1897-98; Lanza, 1983;
Nollert & Nollert, 1995), and compared with reference tadpoles.
Locality (Province)
Calizzano (SV)
Rio Porto, Capo Noli,
Finale Ligure (SV)
Le Manie, near Manic-
village, and ponds on
the SE slope of the
plateau Finale Ligure
(SV)
Cava Voze, Noli (SV)
Monte Mao, Bergeggi
(SV)
Monte S. Elena, Bergeggi
(SV)
Rio Rialasco, Cremeno
(GE)
Rapallo
Rio Tuia, Rapallo (GE)
Elevation
(m
a.s.l.)
175
290-300
289
279
256
90
30
Coordinates
44°irN-08°24'E
44°12'N-08°25'E
44°14'N-08°25'E
44°14'N-08°26'E
44°28'N-08°55'E
44°21
'N-09°14E
References
Bonadonna, spring 1971 (in Sindaco &
Andreone, 1988), Jesu et al. (2000b)
Jesu el al. (2000a, 2000b)
Torchio (1963), Hotz (1971), Bruno (1977),
Sindaco & Andreone (1988), Boano &
Deimastro (1989), Sindaco (1994),
Jesu et al. (2000b)
Sindaco & Andreone (1988), Boano &
Deimastro (1989)
Jesu et al. (2000a, 2000b)
Jesu et al. (2000a, 2000b)
Sindaco & Andreone (1988), Sindaco (1994),
Jesu et al. (2000b). Cited as "Bolzaneto,
Val Polcevera" by Vandoni (1914),
Capocaccia 0956), Bruno 0977)
Vandoni (1914), Bruno (1977); Lanza (1983
also as "Portofino")
Casu in Sindaco (1994), Jesu et al. (2000b)
Notes
No specimens conserved, site to be verified.
III.1994 L. Lamagni, C. Lovisolo-, VI.1996
A. Mamone; 1 male in mating call, 2 egg
strings 11.IV.2000 L. Lamagni, S. Orlale,
S. Salvidio; mature tadpoles 12.V 2001
S. Salvidio.
One male and one female and 2 others in
mating call 14.IV.1963, about 100 tadpoles
25-28.IV.1963 M. Torchio; tadpoles in other
ponds, last days of May 1963 M. Torchio
(Torchio, 1963). Male mating calls 9/10.IV.1969
11.
Hotz (Hotz, 1971). VI.1996 A. Mamone.
Two juveniles in the Museo Civico di Storia
Naturale of Genoa, MSNG 41559, 6.VI.1968,
H. Hotz.
5.
& 11/12.
IV.
1987
R. Sindaco obs 5 larvae
and 8 subadults from eggs
11.IV.
1987
in Museo
di Storia Naturale of Carmagnola; 5 egg strings
28.111.2000 L. Lamagni, S. Salvidio and a new
egg string 11.IV.2000 L. Lamagni, S. Orlale,
S. Salvidio. No specimens 14.VI.20OO
M. Bologna P. Bombi, L. Lamagni and dried
pond 5.V.2O01.
V.1995.
IV.1996 L. Lamagni; 19 egg strings, 8
males and 1 female 11.IV.2000 L. Lamagni,
S. Oliale, S. Salvido; one male in mating on
Hyla meridionalis, and iwo other males in
mating call, 7 egg strings (4 just opened),
several young tadpoles 23.111.2001 M. Bologna,
L. Lamagni; 27.V11I.2002 3 calling males and 1
egg string L. Lamagni.
1V.1996,
IX.
1996 L. Lamagni, R. Marocco.
Introduced tadpoles from Mao Ml. site
20.V.20O0. Last breeding observed in 1999.
One male in the Museo Civico di Storia
Naturale of Genoa, MSNG 36402, 20.111.1887,
R. Barbieri leg.. No other data in spite
of periodic surveys fron 1992 to 2000.
One male in mating call M. G. Peracca
(Vandoni, 1914).
III.
1991
Casu. Last breeding observed in 1993
in spite of periodic surveys until 2001.
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DISTRIBUTION ANI) l-COI.OOY OI
;
PlitOnriliSPUNCTATUS IN ITALY
~
The breeding urn rohal>i(al (i.e., the water body in which eggs
and tadpoles were found) was briefly described on (he base of its
natural or anthropogenic origin. The drying up pattern of each
site was assessed on (he base of several surveys concluded in
dif-
ferent seasons and years. The general habitat surrounding the
breeding sites was described, according to the prevailing vegeta-
tion communities, using the Corine biotopes manual (European
Community Commission, 1991) as a reference.
I-stimate
of reproductive populations
In P punctatUS, the abundance of breeding females may be es-
(imatcd indirectly by counting egg strings (Toxopeus et ai, 1993;
Guyétant et ai, 1999). The accuracy of this procedure has Ix-en
questioned, as in captivity, one female may spawn up to three
egg strings (Hartley, 1990). However, according to Guyétant et ai
( 1999), strings laved at more than lO cm from each other should
be considered spawned by different females. Thus, egg counts
were made using this criterion, in the spring and autumn from
2000 to 2002 to obtain replicate estimates. This procedure was
used to assess the feasibility of a regional monitoring scheme,
which in the case of Italian populations of P. punctatus corre-
sponds to a national population assessment. However, as different
sites may differ in their physical characteristics (i.e., vegetation
cover, water depth and transparency) and accessibility, egg
counts should not IK- used in comparing different breeding sites.
but mainly to compare temporal trends within one single site.
RESULTS
Geographic and ecological distribution
The published records of
P.
punctatus in Italy are given
in Table I, with complete references and notes, together
with the new localities found during the present study.
Overall, the parsley frog was identified in 28 locali-
ties,
4 in Piedmont and 24 in Liguria (Table I; Fig. 2).
These sites comprise hibernation habitats (e.g., natural
caves),
and in some cases, were not precisely described
or localised, and thus could not be verified in previous
surveys (Sindaco. 1999; Jesu et ai, 2000a) nor during our
field surveys.
Some well known sites (i.e. Lucinasco lake, Rio Ria-
lasco and the artificial tank along the Rio Tuia) were peri-
odically surveyed, but no frogs, tadpoles or eggs strings
were found, suggesting that these populations are now
probably extinct. In particular, the small natural Lake Lu-
cinasco, fed by a spring, was partially modified along the
banks about ten yars ago, and allochtonous fish (Caras-
sius sp.) and terrapins
(
Tracbemys scripta) were intro-
duced. Afterwards (see Table I), other specimens were
collected in 1981 (Table I; Lanza, 1983) and in 1984 (M.
Capula, in verbis, 2000; erroneously cited by Sindaco &
Andreone, 1988, as "Borgomaro"; see Table I). Several
surveys have been unsuccessfully carried out in Luci-
nasaco in the last ten years, also if suitable habitats (artili-
cial tanks fed by springs), utilised by other amphibians,
were identified close to the lake.
On the other hand, the presence of this species in
Piedmont (Peracca, 1886; Morisi, 1972) was only recently
confirmed, though not in old known data of the Cuneo
and Asti provinces, by the identification of one male
adult P. punctatus near Mornese (Alessandria Province)
(Sindaco et ai, 2002) in 2000. However, the exact breed-
ing site of this population has not been found, in spite of
several surveys in the area (E. Biggi. personal communi-
cation). The citation of Morisi (1983) in the Cuneo
province is doubtful (Sindaco et ai, 2002).
Fig. 2 - Sites of presence of Peloclyles punctatus in Italy.
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78
S. SAI.V1DIO. L LAMAGNI, P. BOMBI, M. A. BOLOGNA
Bruno (1977) summarised the knowledge on this
species, and published 23 additional localities; the com-
ments of Sindaco & Andreone (1988) on this research
should be taken into consideration. These localities
were all possible habitats but none were personally
confirmed in several surveys (L. Lamagni witness). The
following localities cited by Bruno (1977) were not con-
sidered in the present database: Montezemolo, Belbo
river marshes; Bossolasco, Belbo River (both in the Cu-
neo Province); Ventimiglia near Trucco-, Baiardo, Rio
Bonda; Bordighera surrondings; Impero River under
1'oggialto
(cited as Poggio Alto); the surrounding area
of Evigno (all in the Imperia Province); Albenga, Rocca
Barbena (cited as Barbera); Loano; Osiglia Lake; Pian
dei Corsi; Cengio; Buratto Mt.; Cadibona pass; Stella in
the Letimbro River valley; Savona Santuario; Savona
bosco delle Ninfe; Savona Legino; Piampaludo; S. Gior-
gio Mt.; Sassello, S. Giovanni; Beigua Mt. Arrestra spring
(all in the Savona Province).
According to Vandoni (1914) P. punctatus is also dis-
tributed in Mentone, just along the Italian border, and in
Nizza (both in the Alpes Maritimes Department).
Breeding habitat characteristics
Jesu et al. (2000b) reported only 8 breeding localities
known up to 1996. On the basis of recent intensive
field surveys, its reproduction has now been verified in
other seven sites, making a total of 15 (Table II). These
results suggest that the distribution range of P. puncta-
tus is probably still underestimated. Additional field
work could obtain a more complete knowledge of the
parsley frog distribution.
In NW Italy, the reproduction of the parsley frog has
been observed mainly in small, temporary pools with
aquatic vegetation. In a few cases however, breeding oc-
curs in small streams and artificial reservoirs (Table II).
In general, this species seems to prefer temporary body
water for reproduction. It seems to be well adapted to
ephemeral water habitats, and consequently well related
to Mediterranean ecosystems, where it can colonise mar-
ginal habitats. Another typical adaptative strategy is the
presence of two reproductive periods, one in spring and
the other in autumn, with hibernant tadpoles.
Near Cipressa, where a perennial pond deriving from a
small spring is associated to a complex of temporary
ponds produced by rain, P. punctatus only utilised the
temporary habitat for oviposition, where several eggs
strings or tadpoles repeatedly essicated. In other cases, as
in the S. Ambrogio quarry, it oviposited both in tempo-
rary laminar ponds and in an almost perennial deep tank.
In 2002, at the Ml. Moro site, the first autumnal reproduc-
tion occurred on August 30. after a period of intense rain.
The altitudinal distribution of breeding sites ranged
from 60 to 460 m a.s.l., in Mediterranean habitats (i.e..
Evergreen oak mattoral, Olive yards. Pine mattorals),
and in cultivated or perturbated environments, such as
gravel and stone quarries (Table II). In all cases, P.
punctatus reproduced syntopically with some other am-
phibian species. In eight of the corfimed sites, it repro-
duced with both the Common toad Bufo bufo and the
Mediterranean tree frog Hyla meridionale. In tree sites,
it reproduced along with the agile wood frog Rana dal-
matina. while in another site with the green toad B.
viridis. a species reaching its western range limit near
Savona, and with the introduced R. kuertmuelli.
The main threat to breeding sites was the frequent
drying up of the breeding pool during reproduction:
this was observed in 10 sites corresponding to 75%. In
addition, reservoir cleaning and habitat disturbance
were also reported (Table 111.
Estimate of breeding popuUnions
In Liguria, the parsley frog displays two distinct
spawning periods, one in late winter or early spring
and the other in autumn (Sindaco & Andreone, 1988;
Jesu et al.. 2000b). Repeated surveys of breeding sites
showed that parsley frog populations strongly depend-
ed on heavy rainfall for egg laying, and that local cli-
matic variations induced variations in spawning activity.
Thus,
egg deposition (Fig. 3) varied geographically in
different areas within the same season, in accordance
with the local rainfall patterns.
Table III gives the results of repeated egg counts ob-
tained for four consecutive breeding periods, from Feb-
ruary 2000 to October 2002. Female estimates regard
nine populations, though in six sites eggs strings were
never observed. The number of egg strings laid in the
same site appeared consistent with successive censuses,
indicating that the methodology used was probably ade-
quate in estimating female numbers. The highest number
of females estimated in one site was 19, with an overall
mean of nine. These data could underestimate true fe-
male abundances, as egg strings could go undetected in
sites of difficult access, or females could breed annually
though in different seasons (only in spring or autumn).
Fig. 3 - Egg .siring of Pelodytespunctatus from Mt. Grosso. Pietra
Ligure (Photo L. Lamagni).
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DISTRIBUTION
AND
ECOLOGY
OF
PELODYTES PVNCTATUS
IN
ITALY
79
TABLE
II -
Charachteristcs
of
breeding
sites
o/Pelodyles
punctatus.
*. noi
confirmed
sites.
Threat
level
Threat
Hydroperiod
Other breeding
amphibians
Breeding
microhabitat
Habitat
Site
Very
high
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Hyla
meridionale
Pool
Pine
mattoral
32.14
1.
M.
Fontana
Low No
apparent
threat
Stable
Hyla
meridionalis
Artificial
pool
Olive
groves 83-11
2.
Pompeiana
Very
high
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Hyla
meridionalis Pools
Pine
mattoral
32.14
3. Cipressa Gas-pipeline pump
Not
known
Drying
possible
Intermittent
Bufo
bufo
Pool
Pine
mattoral
32.14
4.
Road Cipressa-Pompeiana
Extinction?
Alien
species
(fishes
and
terrapins, see
text)
Stable
Bufo
bufo
Rana dalmatina
Rana kuertmuelli and
Hyla
meridionalis now apparently
extinct
but present in
close
water
tank
Natural
lake,
partially
modified
by man
Olive
groves 83.11
and
Quercus woodland
5.
Lucinasco*
Moderate
Infrequent
drying
Intermittent
Bufo
bufo
Rana dalmatina
Rana kuertmuelli
Stream
Pine
mattoral
32.14
6.
Salea
High
Frequent
cleaning
Stable
Bufo
bufo
Hyla
meridonalis
Rana dalmatina
Artificial
pool
Olive
groves 83.11
7.
Campochiesa
High
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Bufo
bu/o
Stream
Evergreen
oak
mattoral
32.11 8.
Rio
Ibà
Very
high
Frequent
drying
Habitat
destruction
Intermittent
Bufo
bufo
Pools
Quarries
86.41 in Evergreen
oak
mattoral
32.11
9.
Cava
Pattarello
Low?
Not
known
Stable
Hyla
meridionalis Pool
Maquis
10.
Monte
Grosso II
High
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Hyla
meridionalis
Artificial
pool
Quarries
86.41 in Evergreen
oak
mattoral
32.11
11.
Cava
S. Ambrogio
Moderate
Infrequent
drying
Intermittent
Bufo
bufo
Stream
Aleppo
pine
forests
42.84
12.
Capo
Noli
Very
high
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Rana dalmatina (episodic) Pool
Quarries
86.41 in Evergreen
oak
mattoral
32.11
13.
Cava
Voze
Low?
Not
known
Intermittent
Bufo
bufo
Hyla
meridionalis
Artificial
pool
Field
crops
82.11
14.
M. S.
Elena
High
Frequent
drying
Intermittent
Bufo
riridis
Hyla
meridionalis
Pool
Quarries
86.41
in
Maquis
15.
Cava Monte Mao
Extinction?
Infrequent
drying
Intermittent
Bufo
bujo
Hyla
meridionalis
Stream
Field
crops 82.11
16.
Rio Rialasco'
Not
Known
Frequent
cleaning
Stable
Bufo
bufo
Artificial
pool
Field
crops
82.11
17.
Rio
Tuia
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80
S. SALVIDIO, L LAMAGNI, P. BOMBI, M. A. BOLOGNA
TABLE III - Female abundance estimated by egg strings counts in several
P.
punclalus breeding sites (see
text).
Breeding site
1.
M. Fontana
2.
Pompeiana
3.
Cipressa
4.
Cipressa-Pompeiana
S. Salca
6. Campochiesa
7.
Rio Ibà
8. Cava Fattarello
9. Monte Grosso
10.
Cava S.Ambrogio
11.
Capo Noli
12.
Cava Vozc
13-
M. S. Elena
14.
Cava Monte Mao
15.
Rio Tuia
Mean number of females
Spring 2000
1
Discovered in autumn 2000
Discovered in 2001
Discovered in 2001
No
No
No
15
Tadpoles
5
2
5
No
19
No
No.
Autumn 2000
1
2 (Tadpoles)
Discovered in 2001
Discovered in 2001
No
No
No
Tadpoles
Not censused
Not censused
Not censused
2
Tadpoles
17
No
egg strings
Spring 2001
2
9
Tadpoles
Tadpoles
Tadpoles
No
2
Tadpoles
16
No
Tadpoles
7
No
17
No
Autumn 2002
No
2
No
No
Tadpoles
No
No
7
No
?
1
f
No.
females per site
2
9
Not known
Not known
Not known
Not known
2
15
16
5
2
7
Not known
19
Not known
9
DISCUSSION
This species is protected in Italy by several laws: (a)
Berne Convention, Appendix III (1979); (b) Habitats Di-
rective 1992/43/CEE (recent proposal to insert the Ital-
ian population); (c) Piedmont Regional Law 29/1984,
Article I; (d) Liguria Regional Law 4/1992, Article 11.
The Italian populations, which are marginal and al-
most isolated, are greatly endangered (Bologna &
Venchi, 1998). Arillo et al. (1975) cited P. punctatus as
an endangered species in the Liguria Region.
The habitat suitability of the sites is estimated in Table
II.
Some sites are situated in areas proposed by the Ital-
ian Government as SIC (Sites of Communitary Interest),
as defined by the Habitats CE Directive (1992/43). They
could be established in the near future as ASC (Special
Areas of Conservation) by the European Community.
Casarino et al. (2000) proposed Lucinasco as an "area of
herpetological interest", on the basis of Regional Law
4/1992. All these sites, considered in the Bioitaly project
will be included in the 2000 Network and provided
with management plans.
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... Fossil evidence indicates its existence further to the north in the past . In Italy, it is distributed in coastal Liguria (Salvidio et al. 2004), and in Piedmont (Boulenger, 1897) where it has recently been rediscovered (Andreone & Sindaco 1998;Sindaco et al. 2002). In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). ...
... In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). In France and Italy, P. punctatus inhabits plains (Guyétant et al. 1999;Salvidio et al. 2004;Pottier 2008), is absent from most of the French Pyrenees (Boulenger, 1897;Guyétant & Geniez 2013) and only exceeds elevations of 1,000 m in the Massif Central and in the Alpes Maritimes (Salvidio & Bologna 2007). The fossil record suggests an ancient presence of P. punctatus at the east of its present distribution (Blain & Bailón 2003;Delfino 2004). ...
... The sex ratio within a population is close to 1:1 (Toxopeus et al. 1993). The IUCN threat status of P. punctatus is Least Concern (Denoël et al. 2009); however, in the edge of its range (north of France, Italy and east of Spain), the species is generally scarce and highly threatened, due to the loss of breeding sites, close to local extinction in some areas (Parent 1989;Salvidio et al. 2004;Escoriza 2015). Advertisement call and reproductive behavior. ...
Article
Parsley frogs (Pelodytes) comprise the only genus in the family Pelodytidae, an ancient anuran lineage that split from their closest relatives over 140 million years ago. Pelodytes is a Palearctic group restricted to Western Eurasia including three extant species: the eastern species P. caucasicus, endemic to the Caucasus area, and two closely related species inhabiting Western Europe: the Iberian endemic P. ibericus and the more widespread P. punctatus. Previous studies based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers have revealed the existence of two additional lineages of Parsley frogs in the Iberian Peninsula, which have been flagged as candidate species. Here, we integrate novel molecular, morphological and bioacoustical data to assess the differentiation of the four western Parsley frog lineages. Species trees and Bayesian population assignment analyses based on nuclear markers confirm previous studies and concordantly delineate four parapatric lineages with narrow hybrid zones. Mitochondrial divergence is low (< 2% pairwise distances in the 16S rRNA gene), in line with previously reported low mitochondrial substitution rates in non-neobatrachian frogs. Based on concordance between mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we conclude that four species of Parsley frogs occur in Western Europe: Pelodytes punctatus, distributed from northern Italy to northeastern Spain; Pelodytes ibericus, inhabiting southern Spain and southern Portugal; Pelodytes atlanticus sp. nov., from the Portuguese Atlantic coast; and Pelodytes hespericus sp. nov., occurring in central and eastern Spain. However, bioacoustical and morphological differentiation of these species is low, with no obvious and qualitative diagnostic characters allowing full species discrimination. Differences in the relative size of metacarpal tubercles exist but this character is variable. Pelodytes ibericus and Pelodytes atlanticus are smaller than the other two species, and P. ibericus has shorter limbs and various distinctive osteological characters. Bioacoustically, the pattern by which two different note types are combined in advertisement calls separates P. hespericus from the remaining species. Despite these differences, we emphasize that the taxonomic status of all four western Parsley frogs requires additional investigation, especially the patterns of genetic admixture across contact zones. While a status of separate species best conforms to the currently available data, alternative hypotheses are also discussed.
... Pelodytes punctatus es muy flexible en el uso de los hábitats acuáticos (Fig. 3). Habitualmente utiliza charcas temporales para la reproducción (Gosá y Bergerandi, 1994; Guyétant et al., 1999; Boix et al., 2001; Grillas et al., 2004; Salvidio et al., 2004; Tatin, 2010), aunque puede también ocupar balsas permanentes, incluyendo estructuras artificiales (Soler et al., 2008; Verdiell-Cubedo, 2012), y arroyos de curso lento (Escoriza, datos no publicados). En el nordeste de la península Ibérica, estos hábitats acuáticos se caracterizan por mostrar una superficie media de 1813 m 2 (rango 8–15410 m 2 ), una profundidad de 31 cm (4–82 cm) y una pendiente de 5.5 grados (0.8–17.2), con un pH del agua de 8.05 (6.0–9.6), 10.6 mg . ...
... Su abundancia se ha estimado en algunas poblaciones periféricas (Liguria y extremo noroeste de Francia; Toxopeus et al., 1993; Salvidio et al., 2004), oscilando entre las 2–46 hembras reproductoras por masa de agua. En algunas regiones de la península Ibérica muestra una ocupación casi total de los medios acuáticos disponibles (Ruhí et al., 2014) lo que sugiere que es una especie bien distribuida localmente. ...
... Categoría para España IUCN (2002): Preocupación Menor (LC) (Barbadillo, 2002). Luiselli, 2000; Salvidio et al., 2004; Ottonello et al., 2010), por lo que las poblaciones italianas se consideran amenazadas de extinción (Bologna y Venchi, 1998). En España el sapillo moteado puede estar localmente amenazado, particularmente en regiones muy alteradas o bajo condiciones climáticas adversas, donde las poblaciones están muy fragmentadas (Gónzalez-Miras et al., 2003; Egea-Serrano et al., 2006a; Paños et al., 2011). ...
... Fossil evidence indicates its existence further to the north in the past . In Italy, it is distributed in coastal Liguria (Salvidio et al. 2004), and in Piedmont (Boulenger, 1897) where it has recently been rediscovered (Andreone & Sindaco 1998;Sindaco et al. 2002). In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). ...
... In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). In France and Italy, P. punctatus inhabits plains (Guyétant et al. 1999;Salvidio et al. 2004;Pottier 2008), is absent from most of the French Pyrenees (Boulenger, 1897;Guyétant & Geniez 2013) and only exceeds elevations of 1,000 m in the Massif Central and in the Alpes Maritimes (Salvidio & Bologna 2007). The fossil record suggests an ancient presence of P. punctatus at the east of its present distribution (Blain & Bailón 2003;Delfino 2004). ...
... The sex ratio within a population is close to 1:1 (Toxopeus et al. 1993). The IUCN threat status of P. punctatus is Least Concern (Denoël et al. 2009); however, in the edge of its range (north of France, Italy and east of Spain), the species is generally scarce and highly threatened, due to the loss of breeding sites, close to local extinction in some areas (Parent 1989;Salvidio et al. 2004;Escoriza 2015). Advertisement call and reproductive behavior. ...
... The closely related common parsley frog (P. punctatus) is known to use caves as wintering sites and summer shelters (Thomas & Triolet, 1994;Salvidio et al., 2004); it is also known from Pleistocene cave deposits (Delfino, 2004;Blain et al., 2014). However, although most (possibly all) of P. caucasicus range lies in areas of extensive limestone karst (Adamia et al., 2011), this species has never been reported to occur in caves. ...
... Invertebrate numbers are known to be much higher in caves inhabited by bats (see for example Howarth, 1983). The frogs might also stay in the caves for hibernation, as the closely related common parsley frogs often do (Thomas & Triolet, 1994;Salvidio et al., 2004), and leave them only for breeding. The absence of significant correlation with other parameters of the caves is probably due to small sample size. ...
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The Caucasian parsley frog (Pelodytes caucasicus) is a patchily distributed endemic of Turkey and the Caucasus. What is known about its habitat preferences mostly refers to the breeding sites; unlike other Pelodytes species it has never been reported to occur in caves. This paper presents observations showing that caves, particularly those with bat colonies, are an important habitat for this obscure species.
... Nel 2009 oltre ai 17 siti riproduttivi noti in letteratura (cfr Salvidio et al. 2004 e Tabella 1) è stata confermata l'assenza della specie da tre siti "storici" in cui la riproduzione non è osservata da anni: il laghetto di Santo Stefano (Lucinasco, IM), il Rio Rialasco (Genova) e il Rio Tuia (Rapallo, GE) ( Salvidio et al., 2004; Ottonello e Oneto, dati non pubbl.). Dal monitoraggio è emerso che i siti in cui la specie si è riprodotta con successo nel biennio 2009-2010 sono 9 sui 17 indagati. ...
... Nel 2009 oltre ai 17 siti riproduttivi noti in letteratura (cfr Salvidio et al. 2004 e Tabella 1) è stata confermata l'assenza della specie da tre siti "storici" in cui la riproduzione non è osservata da anni: il laghetto di Santo Stefano (Lucinasco, IM), il Rio Rialasco (Genova) e il Rio Tuia (Rapallo, GE) ( Salvidio et al., 2004; Ottonello e Oneto, dati non pubbl.). Dal monitoraggio è emerso che i siti in cui la specie si è riprodotta con successo nel biennio 2009-2010 sono 9 sui 17 indagati. ...
Conference Paper
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The conservation status of the Italian populations of the Parsley Frog Pelodytes punctatus has been updated. Since 2004, three new sites have been discovered but five historical sites were destroyed or apparently deserted by the species. Man-made habitat modification and periods of severe drought were possibly responsible for the absence of the species. In three sites the female reproductive population appeared stable. In Italy, the species' range is clearly shrinking westwards, while several populations are disappearing even within the actual range, at cause of a combination of human and climatic events. In Italia, l'areale storico di Pelodytes punctatus (Daudin, 1802) sembra essere delimitato ad Est da Rapallo (GE) a nord da Castino (CN) e Mombaldone (AT), mentre ad occidente le popolazioni sembrano in diretta contiguità con quelle della Provenza (Castanet e Guyétant, 1989; Salvidio et al., 2004). Le popolazioni italiane, occupando una zona marginale dell'a-reale, sono considerate minacciate (Doria e Salvidio, 1994) o in pericolo di estinzione (Bo-logna e Venchi, 1998). In questo lavoro, sono presentati i dati relativi al monitoraggio effet-tuato nel biennio 2009-2010 al fine di verificare, e se possibile quantificare, la presenza della specie nei siti riproduttivi noti in letteratura. La fenologia riproduttiva della specie implica due campagne di monitoraggio all'anno (una primaverile e una autunnale), sebbene non tutte le popolazioni conosciute presentino un periodo riproduttivo autunnale (Salvidio et al., 2004; Ottonello, dati non pubbl.). In base alle capacità di dispersione della specie, i siti riproduttivi presenti in biotopi separati da meno di 500 metri sono stati considerati come appartenenti ad un'unica metapopolazione. Nel periodo 2009-2010 per ogni sito sono stati effettuati tre sopralluoghi al fine di verificare il successo riproduttivo della specie. La stima del numero di femmine riproduttive è stata effettuata indirettamente attraverso il conteggio delle ovature (Toxopeus et al., 1993), considerando quelle poste ad una distanza superiore ai 40 cm come deposte da femmine differenti (Guyétant et al., 1999).
... Per quanto riguarda le popolazioni italiane del pelodite punteggiato, il cui areale di distribuzione comprende la Spagna e Francia (dove non è considerato vulnerabile) e, in Italia, il Piemonte meridionale e la Liguria centro-occidentale, lo status di conservazione appare tutt'altro che buono (Salvidio, 2006). La popolazione italiana, marginale e isolata rispetto alle altre, è considerata in pericolo di estinzione e appare in grande difficoltà in alcuni dei siti di presenza "storica": ciò, almeno in parte, è dovuto a fluttuazioni naturali ma anche a molteplici cause antropiche che vanno dall'alterazione degli habitat elettivi alle captazioni idriche, dall'immissione di ittiofauna alla pulizia di pozze e stagni ( Salvidio et al., 2004). Il monitoraggio dei principali siti riproduttivi e l'inclusione di alcuni di questi all'interno dei Siti di Interesse Comunitario (istituiti grazie alla Direttiva 92/43/CEE "Habitat"), oltre alla protezione fornita dalle leggi regionali di Liguria (n. ...
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After an extensive review of the ecological literature on the Italian amphibians and reptiles, the authors furnish the guidelines for monitoring the most threatened species, discussing criteria and methods suitable to seven major groups defined in taxonomic and ecological terms: salamanders, newts, frogs, terrapins tortoises, lizards and snakes. Each major group is analysed separately, in order to choose the most adequate techniques for achieving information on: (1) habitat distribution and preference, (2) population size and density, (3) home range size, (4) reproductive biology, (5) use of space and time, (6) feeding habits. The aim of the paper is to provide wildlife managers with tools and knowledge for conserving amphibians and reptiles at regional and national level.
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We describe a new species of the genus Pelodytes from the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The new species, the third known living species of Pelodytidae, is distinguished on the basis of external morphology, osteology, morphometrics, and allozymes.
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The reproductive biology and population dynamics of Pelodytes punctatus were studied at the breeding season over a three year period in a coastal dune system located at the extreme northwestern border of the species' range. Adult population size estimates ranged from about 100 in the first year to 60 in the third year. Males were remarkably sedentary near the pond under artificially provided shelters. Many were observed during the most of the breeding season which lasted from mid-March or the end of March to the end of April or mid-May. Most spawning took place in the second half of March or early April. In two years out of three a second period of spawning involving fewer animals was observed in the first half of May. Both periods of spawning coincided with, or shortly followed, periods of rising median air temperature. Egg-clutches were deposited in the deepest parts of pond, mainly on submerged vegetation not reaching the surface. An average sized clutch contained approximately 360 eggs. Development of the embryos until hatching took from 4 to 14 days, depending on the ambient temperature. Larval development and growth were fast. Recently metamorphosed froglets at a size of around 18 mm were found from the end of May onwards. Juveniles may reach adult size in the autumn of the year that they were born. Adult frogs did not show a strong fidelity to the breeding pond between years. In the study area the population structure of Pelodytes punctatus seems to be best described by a source - sink model in which flourishing populations in the dunes give rise to short lived satellite populations outside the dunes.