Amazing Algarve amphibians

Not being a fan of the build up to the Christmas holidays I have decided to make a return trip to the Algarve in Southern Portugal between 8th-14th December together with Carl Corbidge (UK) and Gertjan Verspui (NL). In many ways this will be a repeat of my last visit to the area in February 2011 which predominately focused on observing the 12 species of amphibian that reproduce in the beautiful  coastal areas of Portugal. In particular,  we are interested in the Parsley frogs (Pelodytes sp.nov) which inhabit this area. So far these frogs are not assigned to either a variant of punctatus or the more westerly occurring ibericus as ongoing research has shown there are sufficient differences in vocalization as well as other traits that could assign the parsley frogs from this area as their own species.

During our last Winter visit to the Algarve we did in fact not have a single drop of rain, but despite this we found all 12 amphibian species although not in the large numbers that some rainfall would have produced. Aside from those occurring in Portugal we hope to spend some days in the western parts of Andalusia (Spain) to search for the endemic subspecies of Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra longirostris) characterized by it’s pointed snout, as well as the Iberian parsley frogs (Pelodytes ibericus), a species I last observed in 2008.

By Matt Wilson

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