Alytes dickhilleni 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Alytidae

Scientific Name: Alytes dickhilleni
Species Authority: Arntzen & García-París, 1995
Common Name(s):
English Betic Midwife Toad
Spanish Sapo Partero Bético
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Bosch, J., Tejedo, M., Lizana, M., Martinez Solano, I., Salvador, A., García París, M., Recuero Gil, E., Arntzen, J., Márquez, R., Díaz-Paniagua, C. & Podloucky, R.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Temple, H.J.
Listed as Vulnerable, because its Area of Occupancy is less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and in the number of subpopulations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the mountains of south-eastern Spain. It occurs at altitudes of 700-2,140 m asl (Sierra Nevada, Almería).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):700
Upper elevation limit (metres):2140
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Populations of this species are very fragmented, many of them confined to isolated mountains and valleys. It is relatively common in the Alcaraz, Segura, and Cazorla mountains, but it is rare in drier mountains (Filabres, Baza, Gádor), where it is associated with springs. Populations in drier areas can consist of only a few adults.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is present in pine and oak forests, most often on calciferous substrate, in open, very rocky landscapes. Adults occur in rock fissures and on stones next to water sources. Reproduction and larval development takes place in permanent mountain streams, man-made reservoirs and cattle troughs, and the larvae may take a long time to mature. Almost all known breeding habitats are human-modified water bodies.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by loss of suitable breeding habitat as a result of excessive water withdrawal, droughts, and modernization of agricultural practices leading to the abandonment of cattle troughs and other man-made water sources. A potential future threat is the fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which has already impacted the related Alytes obstetricans in Spain.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention (as part of obstetricans). It is listed in regional Red Data Books and is present in the protected areas of Parque Nacional Sierra Morena, Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, and the Natural Park of Cazorla, Segura y las Villas. Protection measures in Castilla-La Mancha, Andalusia, such as restoration and construction of new breeding habitats, are under way.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.3. Artificial/Aquatic - Aquaculture Ponds
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.7. Abstraction of ground water (agricultural use)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

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

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.

Benavides, J., Viedma, A., Clivilles, J., Ortiz, A. and Gutiérrez, J.M. 2000. Albinismo en Altyes dickhilleni y Salamandra salamandra en la Sierra de Castril (Granada). Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española: 83.

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

García-Cardenete, L., González de la Vega, J.P., Barnestein, J.A.M. and Pérez-Contreras, J. 2003. Consideraciones sobre los límites de distribución en altitud de anfibios y reptiles en la Cordillera Bética (España), y registros máximos para cada especie. Acta Granatense.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Márquez, R. and Bosch, J. 1996. Advertisement call of the midwife toad from the Sierras BéticasAlytes dickhilleni Arntzen & García-Paris, 1995 (Amphibia, Anura, Discoglossidae). Herpetological Journal: 9-14.

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.

Martínez-Solano, I., París, M., Izquierdo, E. and García-París, M. 2003. Larval growth plasticity in wild populations of the betic midwife toad, Alytes dickhilleni (Anura: Discoglossidae). Herpetological Journal: 89-94.

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., 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.

Citation: Bosch, J., Tejedo, M., Lizana, M., Martinez Solano, I., Salvador, A., García París, M., Recuero Gil, E., Arntzen, J., Márquez, R., Díaz-Paniagua, C. & Podloucky, R. 2016. Alytes dickhilleni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T979A86229986. . Downloaded on 27 October 2016.
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