It is spring and the chances of finding an amphibian in the olive grove increase. The most probable thing is that if we do, we will run into a corridor toad (Epidalea calamita) or a henbane (Pleurodeles waltl), the two most frequent amphibian species in this environment.
But … why are they?
The answer can be found in their reproductive behavior, able to adapt to a medium in principle so hostile to an amphibian as the olive grove, an agrosystem where water is the main limiting factor, something that makes it difficult for these animals so linked to water and that they depend completely on it in its first phases of life.
But … how are they able to inhabit and reproduce in a place where ponds and water points are so scarce?
Here each one, he manages as he can…
Putting toad runner
In the case of the runner, the adaptation is based on speed. Their sets, arranged in two rows of small eggs, are usually placed in simple temporary puddles formed by spring rains. If there is luck and the water does not dry, in just 6 – 12 weeks the tadpoles, able to withstand high temperatures and low concentrations of oxygen, will have metamorphosed and will be releasing their new lungs, being released in part from their aquatic slavery.
The gallipato, however, has preferred to reproduce prematurely in these parts. While in more northern territories the reproduction takes place in spring, in the southernmost corners of the peninsula this species reproduces in autumn and winter, thus ensuring for its layouts a greater availability of water.
Amphibians are the most threatened vertebrates on the planet, climate change, pollution, the release of invasive species in their ponds and various diseases such as chytridiomycosis, caused by a fungus, have put in check these magnificent beings. Caring for them and respecting them is everyone’s task.
Do not forget to greet them when you find them in the olive grove!