Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Fire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Fire-bellied Toads, Barbourulas, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT

Fire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae - Yellow-bellied Toad (bombina Variegata): Species Accounts

black males completely individual

Physical characteristics: The yellow-bellied toad is most known for its bright yellow to yellow-orange underside, which is marked with black. The amount of black differs from individual to individual. Some may have an almost completely black belly, and others may be almost completely yellow. From a top view, however, this toad is olive-green with black speckles. These colors and the pattern on the head and back match the colors and pattern of the toad's habitat and help to hide it from predators. Compared to other members of this family, it has more warts, and its belly even has a few. This toad's warts are also different from other species because those on the back are very pointy and almost make the toad look as if it is covered with small spines. The tips of its front and back toes are yellow or yellow-orange like the belly. This species can grow to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) long The yellow-bellied toad is most known for its bright yellow to yellow-orange underside, which is marked with black. The amount of black differs from individual to individual. Some may have an almost completely black belly, and others may be almost completely yellow. (Photograph by Harald Schüetz. Reproduced by permission.) from snout to rump. The males and females look much alike, except that the males have pads on their front toes. During the breeding season, the males also develop pads on their forelegs. They use the pads to hold onto the female's back during mating.


Geographic range: Yellow-bellied toads live throughout much of central and southern Europe, including Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and many other countries.


Habitat: These toads live in ponds, lakes, slow- and fast-moving streams and rivers, and pools of water in the hills and on mountainsides. They also do well near humans and can even survive in very polluted waters that would kill other types of frogs. They also spend much of their time on land in forests and/or meadows. In many places, this toad is quite common, and a person can see several toads within three feet (91 centimeters) of each other.


Diet: Unlike many other members of this family, the adult yellow-bellied toad finds almost all of its food on land. Its diet is made up of beetles, flies, ants, spiders, and other invertebrates.


Behavior and reproduction: This toad likes warmer weather and is most active during the daytime. Its schedule on a typical warm day includes time spent looking for food to eat and time resting in the water or sunbathing on land. Many cold-blooded animals, including frogs, warm themselves by such sunbathing, or basking. Like the other fire-bellied toads, the yellow-bellied toad will display the unken reflex when threatened. When the weather cools in October, it leaves the water and begins its hibernation in underground burrows or holes beneath rocks. When it awakens again the next spring, the males begin calling. Those higher in the mountains awaken last because the weather stays cold longer.

When the males and females come together, a male will climb onto a female's back and hang on just in front of her hind legs. Mating can continue off and on throughout the summer, even lasting until August. Often, a heavy rain will trigger many toads to mate at once. The female lays 45 to 100 eggs over the entire summer, but only about two dozen at a time. The eggs hatch 12 days later into tiny tadpoles. Some of the tadpoles turn into toadlets before the fall hibernation, but others wait until the following spring to make the change.


Yellow-bellied toads and people: Some people keep these toads as pets, although they are not as popular as some other species. The poison from the toad's skin, although it is not especially strong, can cause some stinging to humans who handle them.


Conservation status: This species is not considered to be at risk, but it may still be in some danger. More than a dozen populations of this toad have disappeared from the Ukraine alone, and others may soon vanish as people continue to move into and destroy their habitat. ∎

Fire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae - Philippine Barbourula (barbourula Busuangensis): Species Accounts [next] [back] Fire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae - Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (bombina Orientalis): Species Accounts

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