RAUK - Archived Forum - Alytes obstetricans

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Alytes obstetricans:

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Niven
Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
No. of posts: 4


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Posted: 06 Aug 2009

Where would I find reliable and up to date information on the U.K. geographic distribution of Alytes obstetricans (Midwife toad)?

Conservation status is also of interest.  I have found a population in Mid Wales.

Internet references prefered.

Thankyou,

NVN.


Caleb
Forum Coordinator
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009
I've heard of recent sightings from London, and from the Bedford, Oundle, York and Worksop colonies.

Bedfordshire Natural History Society and the HCT's 'Alien Encounters' project have been appealing for records recently- I don't think either have published any results yet, though.

Not sure what you mean by conservation status- as an introduced species, they don't get any legal protection. General opinion seems to be that they don't pose any threat to native wildlife, and they don't seem to be spreading far from their introduction sites.

Any more detail on your Mid Wales site? Is it a garden, and do you know the origin of the animals? The vast majority of the UK colonies seem to have come from the Bedford stock.


Vicar
Senior Member
Joined: 02 Sep 2004
No. of posts: 1181


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009
As far as I know, there is no focussed effort on determining the distribution of introduced herp species, although there are interested parties - ARC, NE, Non-native species secretariat etc.

The exception is the Wall lizard project, which does just that.

If anybody is interested in 'adopting' the research for a particular introduced species, I could knock up a web-tool which collates and displays the data.

Email me (link in signature block), if interested.

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Niven
Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
No. of posts: 4


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009

Dear Caleb,

I didn't realise Alytes obstetricans was an introduced species.  I have strong childhood memories of references in field guides (maybe refering to european species).  How long ago was it introduced?

I Found a specimen two days ago at a plant nursery which has patches of wet marshy ground (Just south of Llandrindod Wells).   To the West of the site are feilds used for raising sheep and the Eastern boundary is bordered by a small wooded area, this containing the banks of a fast flowing stream.  This stream runs parallel to the adjacent North/South railway line which in turn runs parallel to the "A" road beyond.

I am fairly certain now that I had been unwittingly hearing the toad's vocal calls for some time.  I was very curious about this unfamiliar high pitched hooting sound.  This call was reminisent of tree frogs etc that I have heard abroad and I remember commenting at the time, "If I didn't know better I'd say that was some kind of exotic frog's call". The sound was kind of directionless and, unable to locate the origin, I dismissed it as the call of an unfamiliar bird.

Anyway, I was subsequently excited to happen across an individual and immediately recognised that it was neither a common frog nor common toad.  Thinking it to be a rare native species I didn't poke it around too much so didn't get a view of it's ventral surface (no labia were apparent but as I said I didn't examine it closely).  It had frog-like facial features the snout being much more pointed than any toad I have seen but it's entire dorsal surface had a warty appearance. 

I have got photographs in the pipeline (I used a 20p coin for scale) but the animal was stressed during photography so the pictures were very rushed and taken on a camera without proper macro facility (I felt it important to release the toad where I found it immediately).

The toad was found inside a polytunnel and the nursery in which it was found lies at the Northern boundary of a village called Howey, this site being immediately adjacent to the A483 and on the West side of the road.

I have no idea of the origin of the animals, have you any suggestions as to how I may find out?


Caleb
Forum Coordinator
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009
Midwife toads were introduced in the early 1900s to Bedfordshire, and toads from that stock have been introduced in various other places since then.

Apparently the Howey colony is already known- this BBC Wales article from 2007 mentions it, along with a few other nearby sites.

The only way of finding out the origin would be to try and track down the person responsible for introducing them. As it's actually illegal to release them, they might not be keen to come forward.

Would be good to see the photos...
Niven
Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
No. of posts: 4


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009

Oki dokey. Will attempt to post them on this site when they are available.  Clues on the necessary technique for posting pix would be useful.  Otherwise I could just attach them to an appropriate e-mail.

Directions please.

Thank you very much for your comprehensive assistance.

NVN


Iowarth
Admin Group
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 222


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Posted: 07 Aug 2009
Hiya
To post an image you can simply upload it from your PC using the next to last button on the right - picture of a little tree with an upward pointing arrow.
Please use your photo-editing software to re-size it first - somewhere around 800-1000 pixels max dimension should be fine (you don't want to break my web server after all - do you? )
If problems you can email pics to me - admin@......

All the best

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Niven
Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
No. of posts: 4


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Posted: 09 Aug 2009

Dear Chris,

On reflection it may be best for me to e-mail all of them to you and then you can make an executive decision on their worth, maybe just publishing what you consider to be the best one.

I haven't seen them yet but I have been informed that they have now been transposed to disc.......I am awaiting delivery.

Being a newcomer to this site and the internet in general I am struggling to find the appropriate e-mail address, I would be gratefull if you would furnish me with the complete address you indicate.

Many thanks,

Niven.

Lapsed zoologist.


Iowarth
Admin Group
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 222


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Posted: 09 Aug 2009
Hi Niven

No problem - simply send them to admin@herpetofauna.co.uk. If they are large file sizes please send as separate emails.

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Iowarth
Admin Group
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 222


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Posted: 11 Aug 2009
Below can be seen a few of Niven's photographs of the Midwife Toad - actually taken by Fay Ramsden and posted by me on Niven's behalf.
A lovely little animal I am sure you will all agree - and at least there is no current evidence that this alien represents a threat to our native species.
Chris











Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme

- Alytes obstetricans

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