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Contribution to the knowledge on the reproductive biology of Bufo spinosus in Morocco

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The Bufo bufo species complex (Arntzen et al.,
2013) is comprised by several Palearctic species
both in the Eurosiberian and Mediterranean
biogeographic regions. Recent studies show the
presence of two distinct North African lineages
of Bufo spinosus (Recuero et al., 2012), which should
be considered as different units for the conser-
vation of the whole species diversity. Regarding
herpetological diversity, Morocco is one of the
best known countries in North Africa, but data
on natural history, such as reproductive biology,
are scarce for some species in the region, as in the
case of B. spinosus (Schleich et al.,1996).
Moroccan populations of B. spinosus are con-
fined to the wettest and coolest zones of the coun-
try, especially in mountain areas as the Rif, Midd-
le Atlas and the High Atlas, where it seems to be
relatively common (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Beukema et
al., 2013). It is also found on the Moroccan Medi-
terranean coast, and on the north Atlantic coast,
where it is rare (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Barnestein et al.,
2012). The most meridional record of B. spinosus
in North Africa is in Jbel Sirwa (between High At-
las and Anti Atlas mountains; Bons & Geniez, 1996).
In August 2012 an adult female with a yellow pig-
mentary anomaly was observed during the day in
the proximities of a stream (Figures 1a and 1b).
This datum is important because lower latitude
populations are supposed to be at higher extinc-
tion risk by climate change (Franco et al., 2006).
The reported breeding activity of B. spinosus in
Morocco takes place in spring in the High Atlas (at
2.650 masl), where post-metamorphic individuals
have been observed in July (Salvador, 1996). In Tuni-
sia, its breeding season begins in early March and
runs through mid-April (Ben Hassine & Escoriza, 2014).
The reproductive habitat of B. spinosus in
North Africa has been described in: Algeria
(temporary ponds vegetated with Ranunculus;
Samraoui et al., 2012); Tunisia, (lotic environments,
such as backwaters areas of streams that lack ve-
getation and in stream pools; Ben Hassine & Noui-
ra, 2012; Ben Hassine & Escoriza, 2014), and Morocco
(a relatively large permanent vegetated pond in
the Middle Atlas; El Hamoumi et al., 2007).
During a field expedition conducted in
2015 in the Rif mountains, northern Moroc-
co, on 2 May we found two B. spinosus clutches
Alberto Sánchez-Vialas1, Octavio Jiménez-Robles2, Gabriel Martínez del Mármol3 & Raúl León4
Contribution to the knowledge on the reproductive biology
of Bufo spinosus in Morocco
1 Colección de Herpetología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC). Cl. José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2. 28006 Madrid. Spain.
C.e: alberto.alytes@gmail.com
2 Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC). Cl. José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2.
28006 Madrid. Spain.
3 Cl. Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, 34. 18002 Granada. Spain.
4 Cl. Estanislao Cabanillas, 43. 2º. 13400 Almadén, Ciudad Real. Spain.
Fecha de aceptación: 9 de julio de 2016.
Key words: distribution, Jbel Sirwa, lotic environment, Natrix maura, pigmentary anomaly, reproductive habitat.
RESUMEN: Se disponen de escasos datos acerca de los lugares de reproducción de Bufo spinosus en
Marruecos. Aquí aportamos un nuevo registro donde se reproduce la especie en la cordillera del
Rif, durante principios de Mayo de 2015. El hábitat reproductivo se caracteriza por ser lótico y
sin vegetación acuática, similar a los ambientes que usa en Túnez. Así mismo, constatamos su
presencia en la localidad más meridional para la especie.
Historia Natural
Bol. Asoc. Herpetol. Esp. (2016) 27(2)
19
in a lotic environment at 1.027 masl, 9 km
SW Moulay Abdeslam, Parc naturel régional
de Bouhachem (Figure 2a). Both clutches
were laid among dead branches and over al-
der (Alnus glutinosa) roots in a rocky stream
that lacks aquatic vegetation. The section of
the stream where the clutches were observed
was in shade due to the canopy of alders. The
reproductive habitat in this locality is similar
to the environments used in Tunisia by the
other North African lineage of B. spinosus
(Ben Hassine & Nouira, 2012; Recuero et al., 2012;
Ben Hassine & Escoriza, 2014), but in contrast, in
Morocco they are known to use more types of
reproductive habitats (Salvador, 1996; El Hamou-
mi et al., 2007). This reflects the lack of infor-
mation on the natural history of B. spinosus
Moroccan populations, and the ecological
plasticity that this species shows for reprodu-
cing in different habitats.
In one of these clutches found in the Rif,
an adult of Natrix maura was sitting among
the strings of eggs (Figure 2b). In Spain, B. spi-
nosus eggs have been observed to be predated
by N. maura (Meijide & Salas, 1989). Therefore, it
is quite likely that the same trophic interaction
occurs in North Africa. However we did not
observe any evidence of damage on the eggs
or any try to ingest them, maybe because the
snake felt disturbed by our presence.
Figure 1: (a) Habitat in Jbel Sirwa, Morocco, where B. spinosus was observed. (b) Female B. spinosus with a yellow
pigmentary anomaly found in Jbel Sirwa, Morocco.
Figura 1: (a) Hábitat en Jbel Sirwa, Marruecos, donde se observó B. spinosus. (b) Hembra de B. spinosus con anomalía
pigmentaria encontrada en el Jbel Sirwa, Marruecos.
Figure 2: (a) Lotic environment where the clutches of B. spinosus were found, near Moulay Abdeslam, Morocco.
(b) Natrix maura sitting on the clutch of B. spinosus near Moulay Abdeslam, Morocco.
Figura 2: (a) Ambiente lótico donde se encontraban las puestas de B. spinosus, cerca de Moulay Adeslam, Marruecos.
(b) Natrix maura sobre una puesta de B. spinosus cerca de Moulay Adeslam, Marruecos.
Photos Raúl León
Photos Octavio Jiménez-Robles
a
a
b
b
Bol. Asoc. Herpetol. Esp. (2016) 27(2)
20
More studies about B. spinosus biolo-
gy in North Africa will be necessary to
properly carry out conservation actions
for these relict populations that could be
considered as Near Threatened (Reques et
al., 2013).
REFERENCES
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Fox, R, Huntley, B. & Thomas, C.D. 2006. Impacts of climate
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Hassine, J.B. & Escoriza, D. 2014. Bufo spinosus in Tunisia:
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logy. Herpetological Bulletin, 127: 22.
Meijide, M. & Salas, R. 1989. Observaciones sobre el com-
portamiento depredativo de algunos colúbridos ibéricos
en estado salvaje. Doñana, Acta Vertebrata, 16: 329-332.
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Arntzen, J.W., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Kidov, A.A., Cogalni-
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a status report. Basic and Applied Herpetology, 27: 23-50.
Samraoui, B., Samraoui, F., Benslimane, N., Alfarhan, A. & Al-
Rasheid, K.A.S. 2012. A precipitous decline of the Algerian
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and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz Sci. Books. Koenigstein.
La dieta de los adultos de Triturus mar-
moratus durante la fase acuática está bien do-
cumentada en la bibliografía (Bas, 1982; Lizana
et al., 1986; Bea et al.,1994; Villero et al., 2006). Está
compuesta por invertebrados (crustáceos,
larvas de dípteros, tricópteros y efemerópte-
ros) que son las presas más abundantes en
los cuerpos de agua, aunque también apro-
vechan otros recursos tróficos como puestas
y larvas de otros urodelos y larvas de anuros
(Montori, 1990; Lizana & Martín-Sánchez, 1994;
Diego-Rasilla, 2003; Montori & Herrero, 2004;
Villero et al., 2006). También se ha citado la
depredación sobre adultos de otras especies
Abel Bermejo & Rosa Otero
Intento de depredación de un ejemplar de Triturus marmoratus
sobre un juvenil de Pelophylax perezi
Ciudad de la Juventud, 106. 34192 Grijota. Palencia. España. C.e: herpeto31@hotmail.com
Fecha de aceptación: 16 de julio de 2016.
Key words: predation attempt, Pelophylax perezi, Triturus marmoratus, northern Spain.
... Within the Oriental Region, the species has been scarcely report- ed; there are doubtful records in the Beni-Snassen and Nador surroundings (Mellado Mateo, 1992;Beukema et al., 2013). Moroccan populations of B. spinosus are confined to the wettest and coolest areas of the country, where it breeds in permanent or mostly permanent water bodies (Bons Geniez, 1996;Sánchez-Vialas et al., 2016). During our surveys, we found a single adult male in the Gourougou Mountain (locality N10, Table S1) close to a small and semi-temporary stream. ...
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Anfibios y Reptiles de Marruecos (Incluido Sahara Occidental) Atlas Biogeográfico. Asociación Herpetológica Española
  • J Bons
  • P Geniez
Bons, J. & Geniez, P. 1996. Anfibios y Reptiles de Marruecos (Incluido Sahara Occidental). Atlas Biogeográfico. Asociación Herpetológica Española. Barcelona.
Observaciones sobre el comportamiento depredativo de algunos colúbridos ibéricos en estado salvaje. Doñana, Acta Vertebrata
  • M Meijide
  • R Salas
Meijide, M. & Salas, R. 1989. Observaciones sobre el comportamiento depredativo de algunos colúbridos ibéricos en estado salvaje. Doñana, Acta Vertebrata, 16: 329-332.