Monitoring “common” species

Common toad (Bufo bufo) from near the village centre (C) Matt Wilson

Common toad (Bufo bufo) from near the village centre (C) Matt Wilson

My village has a number of nice ponds, lakes, reservoirs and water channels that are used by amphibians for reproduction. Two species, the Common frog (Rana temporaria) and the Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) use a wide range of these for reproduction and can be found in very large numbers. The Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is very rare in the area but the Common toad (Bufo bufo) is confined to only a small number of breeding sites. Toads are common and widespread in my area of the country but amazingly I had never noticed them in my village until this year although I did know of good breeding sites just on the outskirts. A good way of monitoring amphibian breeding sites in a small area is by using Google Earth. This is particularly useful in trying to establish breeding sites for common toads, as they require larger water sources such as lodges, reservoirs and lakes for breeding and unlike other species the presence of fish in such water sources will not have a very negative affect on the toads breeding success. This is because many fish have learned that tadpoles of the common toad taste very unpleasant and are often ignored.

An example of a common toad breeding site from Google Earth

An example of a common toad breeding site from Google Earth

By Matt Wilson