Mediterranean Amphibians

Approximately 115 species of amphibians live in the Mediterranean region, and the level of endemism is very high as the majority (64%) are found nowhere else in the world.


In the Mediterranean, one in four species of amphibian - frogs, toads, newts and salamanders - is threatened with extinction.  About 33 amphibian species are listed under one of the three IUCN Red List categories as being under serious threat (Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable), and one species is listed as Extinct: the hula painted frog Discoglossus nigriventer

At global level, almost one third of the world’s 5,918 amphibian species are threatened with extinction.

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Summary of conservation status for amphibians of the Mediterranean, 2008

Photo: IUCN

Species Richness

The greatest diversity of amphibians in the region is found in areas of the western Mediterranean with higher rainfall.

Although the percentage of threatened amphibian species is high in the Mediterranean basin, there are only very few places with concentrations of species at risk, namely Sardinia, north Algeria, west Slovenia and southwest Turkey.

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Species richness of threatened amphibians in the Mediterranean

Photo: IUCN

Main Threats

The main threats facing amphibians in the Mediterranean are primarily habitat loss and degradation, for example through water extraction. Over-exploitation, human disturbance, pollution and invasive alien species are also having a significant impact, together with natural disasters and diseases. The Chytridiomycosis Fungal Disease - first recorded in Spain in 1997 - has been partly responsible for the decline of the Mediterranean populations of the midwife toad Alytes obstetricans and the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra, and could become much more serious.

The results are detailed in the report: "The Status and Distribution of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mediterranean Basin" (eds. N. Cox, J. Chanson and S. Stuart), prepared in partnership with Conservation International and with the financial support of the Mava Foundation.


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Salamandra lanzai (France and Italy) Vulnerable

Photo: F. Andreone