Alytes muletensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Alytes muletensis
Species Authority: (Sanchiz & Adrover, 1979)
Common Name(s):
English Mallorcan Midwife Toad, Majorca Midwife Toad, Majorcan Midwife Toad
Spanish Ferreret
Baleaphryne muletensis Sanchíz and Adrover, 1979

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Joan Mayol Serra, Richard Griffiths, Jaime Bosch, Trevor Beebee, Benedikt Schmidt, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)
Listed as Vulnerable because it is known from fewer than five locations, and its Area of Occupancy is less than 20 km2, and population declines are plausible without ongoing intensive conservation efforts. The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been detected in reintroduced captive-bred populations, and it is plausible that severe population declines could take place in the future.
2004 Vulnerable
1996 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the Sierra Tramuntana of northern Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. The present altitudinal range is from 10-850 m asl. Its area of occupancy is less than 10km², but slowly increasing as a result of intensive conservation action.
Spain (Baleares)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is approximately 500-1,500 adult pairs (Gasc et al. 1997; Arnold 2003). There are approximately 25, mostly isolated, populations. The total population is slowly increasing following coordinated recovery efforts, following a long period of decline and near extinction. The current increase, which probably started around the time that the first re-introductions were made in 1989, has been maintained even during years of drought, notably in 1999-2000. The population trend in this species is monitored through annual tadpole counts, the counts for 2004 (over 30,000 tadpoles) being the highest on record. The increase in numbers in established populations is not dependent upon continued re-introductions. However, it is unlikely that new populations would be established without re-introductions.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is currently found only in small streams deeply carved into limestone mountains. The presence of the species is positively associated with steep slopes. Breeding takes place in the small streams that persist as pools in summer. A few populations occur by man-made water sources (cattle troughs, containers, rain tanks etc.) in open mountainous country; these are within the river basins of nearby canyon-living populations. Animals are generally found in rock crevices and under stones. This species does not tolerate serious habitat degradation. The distribution of predators on the species is negatively associated with elevation, and reproductive success is positively associated with elevation.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats are predation by the introduced Viperine Snake (Natrix maura), and competition for space with Perez's Frog (Rana perezi). Development of tourism and human settlements, specifically the increased need for water resources (including damming and canalization of streams), is an additional threat. The threats are not likely to decrease, and so the current recovery programme needs to be continued more or less indefinitely. One isolated re-introduced population was impacted by an unidentified non-fungal disease in 2002 which killed some tadpoles. This disease did not recur in 2003 and 2004. Chytridiomycosis has been identified in the wild population, with the source of this chytrid infection traced to reintroduced captive-bred animals from Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, UK (Walker et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is protected by sub-national and national legislation. It is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention, on Annexes II and IV of the EU Habitats Directive, and on the national and sub-national Red Data Books. It is present in the protected areas of the Tramuntana mountains. The Balearic Government and Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust have undertaken captive-breeding, re-introduction and other conservation initiatives. At least 10 populations have been successfully reintroduced. Re-introductions of animals from the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust stopped in 2002, but a new captive-breeding facility now exists on Mallorca, and re-introductions are expected to resume. However, as a result of the recent discovery of disease, a recommendation was made in 2004 to the Balearic Government to halt the re-introduction programme. A new recovery programme for the species is now being developed. There is a need to closely monitor populations of this species, especially with regard to the recent detection of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in introduced animals (Walker et al. 2008). A systematic programme is in place to remove Natrix maura from the range of the species.

Bibliography [top]

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

Alcover, J.A., Mayol, J., Jaume, D., Alomar, G., Pomar, G. and Jurado, J. 1984. Biologia i ecologia de les poblacions relictes de Baleaphryne muletensis a la muntanya mallorquina. In: Hemmer, H. and Alcover, J.A. (eds), Història biològica del ferreret, pp. 129-15. Editorial Moll, Palma de Mallorca.

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.

Bush, S. 1996. The reproductive behaviour of the Ferreret Alytes muletensis. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española: 35-37.

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

Halliday, T. 1992. United Kingdom Aids Recovery. FrogLog: 3.

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

Lea, J., Dyson, M. and Halliday, T. 2002. The effects of cohort structure and density on larval growth and development in Alytes muletensis: Implications for conservation. Herpetological Journal: 155-161.

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.

Mejias, R. and Amengual, J. 2000. Libro rojo de los vertebrados de las Baleares (2ª ed.). Govern de les Illes Balears, Conselleria de Medi Ambient, Palma de Mallorca.

Moore, R.D., Griffiths, R.A. and Román, A. 2004. Distribution of the Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) in relation to landscape topography and introduced predators. Biological Conservation: 327-332.

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.

Roca, V., García, G., Carbonell, E., Sánchez-Acedo, C. and Del Cacho, E. 1998. Parasites and conservation of Alytes muletensis (Sanchiz et Adrover, 1977) (Anura: Discoglossidae). Revista Española de Herpetología: 91-95.

Román, A. and Mayol, J. 1997. La recuperación del ferreret, Alytes muletensis. Documents Tècnics de Conservació, II(1). Consellería de Medi Ambient, Ordenació del Territori i Litoral, Govern Balear, Palma de Mallorca.

Schley, L., Griffiths, R.A. and Román, A. 1998. Activity patterns and microhabitat selection of Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) tadpoles in natural torrent pools. Amphibia-Reptilia: 143-151.

Walker, S.F., Bosch, J., James, T.Y., Litvintseva, A.P., Oliver Valls, J.A., Piña, S., García, G., Rosa, G.A., Cunningham, A.A., Hole, S., Griffiths, R. and Fisher, M.C. 2008. Invasive pathogens threaten species recovery programs. Current Biology 18(18): R853-4.

Citation: Joan Mayol Serra, Richard Griffiths, Jaime Bosch, Trevor Beebee, Benedikt Schmidt, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Jan Willem Arntzen 2009. Alytes muletensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 June 2015.
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