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European Spadefoot Toads
Temporal range: Late Jurassic – Recent[1]
Pelobates fuscus fuscus
Scientific classification

Pelobates cultripes
Pelobates fuscus
Pelobates syriacus
Pelobates varaldii

The distribution of extant pelobatids (in black).

The European spadefoot toads are a family of frogs, the Pelobatidae. There is only one living genus, called Pelobates. It has four species. They live in Europe, the Mediterranean, northwestern Africa and western Asia.

The European spadefoot toads are small to large sized frogs. They grow up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in length. They burrow in sandy soils. They have a hardened growth on their feet to help in digging. They will come out from the ground during times of rain and breed in pools, which are usually temporary.[2]

All of the species from this family have free-living, aquatic tadpoles. The eggs are laid in temporary ponds that may quickly evaporate. The tadpole stage is very short. They grow to adult form in as little as two weeks. To further speed their growth, some of the tadpoles are cannibalistic, eating their brood-mates to increase their supply of protein.[2]

Taxonomy[change | change source]

Family Pelobatidae

References[change | change source]

  1. Foster, J. (2007). "Pelobatidae indet." Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. p. 137.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)
  3. Tron, François (2005): The Eastern spadefoot Toad (Pelobates syriacus): A new amphibian species for Lebanon