Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad, Bombina pachypus
The Apennine yellow-bellied toad is found from the southern Italian peninsula to the Apennine region. The natural habitat of this toad includes temperate forests, grassland, swamps, marshes, ponds, pastures, and seasonally flooded land. The Apennine yellow-bellied toad comes out of hibernation in the spring and mates multiple times from May to September.
The coloring of this species of toad has brown spots on the top side of its body and the belly is black and white with large yellow blotches. Like most other amphibians, the Apennine yellow-bellied toad feeds on insects, mosquito larvae, and aquatic invertebrates. The average lifespan of this toad is approximately eight to ten years but some have been known to live 16 of more.
During the breeding season the female will lay a few eggs to a few dozen. These egg clutches are laid in small freshwater pools. The male saves the sperm that is produced late in the year over the hibernation period for spring time fertilization and uses sperm produced in the spring for fertilization later in the season. This process begins at sexual maturity when the Apennine yellow-bellied toad reaches three years of age.
This species of toad produces a toxin when frightened or startled that is poisonous and should not be handled. The toxin also acts as a antimicrobial and antifungal.
Do to lose of habitat and pollution, this species is on the list as endangered.
Image Caption: Bombina variegata pachypus. Credit: Benny Trapp/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)