Alytes cisternasii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Alytes cisternasii
Species Authority: Boscá, 1879
Common Name(s):
English Iberian Midwife Toad
Spanish Sapo Partero Ibérico

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Pedro Beja, Jaime Bosch, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen, Rafael Marquez, Carmen Diaz Paniagua
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years), thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
2004 Near Threatened

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is restricted to southern and eastern Portugal and western and central Spain, from 100-1,300 m asl.
Portugal; Spain
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It can be locally common in suitable habitat, and is more abundant in the western part of its range. Population declines have been observed in Spain, potentially because of introduced predators.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is closely associated with meadows and open oak (Quercus) forests, most often in sandy areas. Reproduction and larval development generally takes place in temporary waterbodies (most often stream habitats), occasionally in permanent waterbodies; larval development is relatively long in this species and may last more than one season. The species is not very adaptable.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are the loss of suitable Mediterranean forest habitat, the introduction of predatory fishes and Louisiana Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), and the loss of suitable aquatic habitats through pollution, canal construction, dams, and urbanization. A potential future threat is chytridiomycosis, which has already affected the related Alytes obstetricans in Spain.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is known to occur in Cabañeros and Doñana National Parks, Spain, and is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is protected by national legislation in Spain, and is recorded in a number of national and sub-national Red Data Books. Given the potential future threat of chytridiomycosis this species should be monitored closely.

Bibliography [top]

1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europea Herpetologica & Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Alvarez, A. and Martin, L. 2000. Fish elimination by Pond Drainage to Preserve a Toad Population in Spain. FrogLog.

Arnold, E.N. 2003. Reptiles and amphibians of Europe. Princeton University Press.

Arntzen, J.W. and García-París, M. 1995. Morphological and allozyme studies of midwife toads (Genus Alytes), including the description of two new taxa from Spain. Contributions to Zoology: 5-34.

Bosch, J. and Márquez, R. 2001. Female courtship call of the Iberian Midwife toad (Alytes cisternasii). Journal of Herpetology: 647-652.

Brown, L.E. and Crespo, E.G. 2000. Burrowing behavior of the midwife toads Alytes cisternasii and Alytes obstetricans (Anura, Discoglossidae). Alytes: 101-113.

Crespo, E.G. 1981. Contribuçao para o conhecimento da biología das espécies Ibéricas de Alytes, Alytes obstetricans boscai (Lataste 1879) e Alytes cisternasii (Boscá 1879) (Amphibia Discoglossidae). Emissoes sonoras. Arquivos do Museo Bocage. Sér. C.: 57-75.

Fromhage, L., Vences, M. and Veith, M. 2004. Testing alternative vicariance scenarios in Western Mediterranean discoglossid frogs. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 308-322.

Godinho, R., Teixeira, J., Rebelo, R., Segurado, P., Loureiro, A., Álvares, F., Gomes, N., Cardoso, P., Camilo-Alves, C. and Brito, J.C. 1999. Atlas of the continental Portuguese herpetofauna: an assemblage of published and new data. Revista Española de Herpetología: 61-81.

IUCN. 2009. European Species on the IUCN Red List. Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2009).

Malkmus, R. 1996. Die herpetofauna der Überschwemmungstümpel des unteren Rio Guadiana (Portugal). Herpetozoa: 145-154.

Malkmus, R. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Portugal, Madeira and the Azores-Archipelago. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag K.G., Ruggel (Germany).

Márquez, R. 1995. Female choice in the midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans and A. cisternasii). Behaviour: 151-161.

Márquez, R. 1996. Egg mass and size of tadpoles at hatching in the midwife toads Alytes obstetricans and Alytes cisternasii: Implications for female choice. Copeia: 824-831.

Martínez-Solano, I. and Bosch, J. 2001. Peligro para los anfibios de las canteras madrileñas de Alpedrete. Quercus: 54-55.

Martínez-Solano, I., Gonçalves, H.A., Arntzen, J.W. and García-París, M. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of midwife toads (Discoglossidae: Alytes). Journal of Biogeography: 603-618.

Pleguezuelos, J.M. 1997. Distribucion y Biogeografia de los Anfibios y Reptiles en España y Portugal. Asociacion Herpetologica Española, Las Palmas de Gran Canarias.

Pleguezuelos, J.M. and Villafranca, C. 1997. Distribución altitudinal de la herpetofauna ibérica. In: Pleguezuelos, J.M. (ed.), Distribucion y Biogeografia de los Anfibios y Reptiles en España y Portugal, pp. 321-34. Monografías de Herpetología 3. Universidad de Granada-Asociación Herpetológica Española, Granada.

Pleguezuelos, J.M., Márquez, R. and Lizana, M. 2002. Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Dirección General de la Conservación de la naturaleza-Associación Herpetológica Española, Madrid.

Reques, R. 2000. Anfibios. Ecología y Conservación. Diputación de Córdoba, Córdoba.

Rodríguez-Jiménez, A.J. 1984. Fenología del sapo partero ibérico (Alytes cisternasii Boscá, 1879). Alytes: 9-23.

Citation: Pedro Beja, Jaime Bosch, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen, Rafael Marquez, Carmen Diaz Paniagua 2009. Alytes cisternasii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
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