Yellow-bellied Toad

The Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata), is a species of fire-bellied toads belonging to the order of Anura, and the family Bombinatoridae. It dwells in mountainous and hilly countries in middle and southern Europe. It is widely spread across the high hill area of middle and southern Germany and the Upper Rhine River Plains, but in few places. The superior mobility of the young of the species allows spontaneous settlement of newly discovered living spaces. On land the creatures look for hiding places under stones, dead wood and in the furrows and crevices of rocks.

The Yellow-bellied Toad is small and generally gets no bigger than a few inches long. Their top side is gray-brown, often with washed-out, bright spots. Their underside, including the inner sides of the limbs, fingers and toes is gray-blue to black-blue with striking, bright yellow to orange spots or patches, usually covering more than half of the underside. Yellow-bellied toads have a compact body and a rounded snout. The pupils are heart-shaped, with the eardrums not visible.

The Yellow-bellied Toad is an amphibian closely bound to areas of water. Originally the species typically lived along brooks and rivers. It settled there dependent on the flood dynamic of temporary and continuously shifting small bodies of water. In its replacement habitats in human civilization it is still dependent on temporary small bodies of water on loamy ground, such as tractor trails, puddles and small ditches. Mostly these areas are bereft of vegetation and free of competing species and predators. Through the quick heating of small bodies of water a rapid development of spawn and larvae is guaranteed. These pioneer species can be found mainly in quarries, clay and gravel pits, and on marching grounds.

The mating call of the males can be heard in late spring and early summer, a dull but melodic “uh… uh… uh” from their mating grounds. As the species does not have a vocal bladder, in contrast to the Red-bellied Toad, its call is quite gentle. The eggs are laid in loose clutches of 2 to 30 eggs in grass or often in patches of plants. The eggs are medium brown on the top side and bright brown on the bottom. The principal spawning time lasts from May to June.

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