Mallorcan midwife toad
Perhaps more appropriately named the 'midhusband' toad, this tiny amphibian is unusual in that the male carries around the eggs wrapped round his hind legs until they hatch.
The species was discovered as a fossil in 1977, but was thought to be extinct until 1980, when a live adult toad was found in a remote mountainous region of northern Mallorca.
The main threats to the survival of the Mallorcan midwife toad are introduced predators and competitors (such as the viperine snake and green frog) and human recreational activities (such as rock-climbing and mountain biking), which cause disturbance and erosion.
Durrell started a breeding programme for the species in 1985, when a number of toads were collected from the wild. The toads bred successfully at Durrell's headquarters in Jersey and the first reintroduction of captive-bred animals was in 1989. Since then several thousand tadpoles and toads have been released at isolated sites that did not previously contain toads, but are within the known historical range of the species. Research at the Durrell Institute of Conservation Ecology in Canterbury and an education programme in Mallorca are also being carried out to maximise the recovery of the species.
In recent years this has proved a hugely successful conservation project. In fact, due to Durrell's release and management of this species, the Mallorcan midwife toad is the only amphibian that has been downgraded from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable.
Photo by Arturo Muñoz - www.bolivianamphibianinitiative.org
- Mallorcan Midwife Toad factsheet (131 kb)
Other Vulnerable Animals