Monitoring of the yellow-bellied toad

The yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) is a small amphibian, not bigger than 5 cm in length and it is included within the species of community interest in Annex I and II of the Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC. The yellow-bellied toad reproduces in temporary small ponds. It lives in the central and subalpine area of the Province of Trento, at an altitude between 200 m and 800 m. In the Adige Valley we can find the most important species left. Today, due to the disappearance of adequate habitats, its populations are endangered in all Europe. Therefore the creation of small humid environments is extremely important for their survival. 

The aim of the monitoring process was to identify the sites where the species lived in order to find a way to preserve them such as creating reservoirs to help the yellow-bellied toad and other amphibians to reproduce. 

Concerned areas :

  • Malga Brigolina, Malghet (Monte Bondone)
  • Brusadi, Comun e Stapiana (Terlago-Sorasass)

Monitoring methods

The monitoring has been conducted in 7 sites with small ponds distributed in meadows and pastures in Malga Brigolina, Malghet, S. Anna, Prada and Vela ponds. Extensive studies based on repeated counting and capture-marking-recapture methods have been carried out in all ponds located in agro-pastoral environments. The first method is faster and consists in identifying the number of specimens without capturing them; the method is repeated in the same sites for 4 times during different days. While the second method consists in capturing the animals and trying to recognise them from the spot patterns on their belly. The latter method is more complex but it is a more precise way to count the number of species existing. The capture enables to weight them and identify their length and gender alongside with the taking of biological samples in order to identify possible chytridiomycosis infestations, useful to evaluate the composition and state of health of the populations. At the end of the research the yellow-bellied toads are released in their natural environment. 

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