Midwife frog - a story of an unusual name

The midwife frog received such an interesting name due to the special behavior of the male. After mating, the father winds slippery cords with eggs around his hips and wears them until larvae appear.

Description of Midwife Frog

An adult reaches 4-5 centimeters in length, and weighs 9-10 grams. Males are slightly smaller than females. The eyes are large, the pupil is vertical in shape. Eardrum is clearly visible. The parotid glands are small.


The body is covered with warts. The most pronounced reddish warts stretch from the lower back to the tympanum. There are also wart complexes in the ankles and armpits. The color of the warts can vary from brown or black spots to olive green spots. These warts are glands that produce toxic substances.

The midwife’s lower body is dirty white, and the chest and neck are often gray.

Habitat frog habitats

These frogs are common in Central Europe, in countries such as France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. They also live in the eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Midwife toad (Аlytes obstetricans).

Midwife Frog Lifestyle

Midwives are held singly or in groups. They live exclusively in mountainous and hilly areas, preferring chalky soils, in connection with which they can be found in abandoned quarries. They also willingly live in places with dry sandy soil.

In the afternoon, these toads hide in shelters under stones, in burrows of rodents or in tree trunks.

At night they leave their shelters and begin to hunt. They wait the cold season in burrows and pits. In Central Europe, midwives froze.

Midwives frogs feed on small insects that they can swallow: crickets, bedbugs, bugs, caterpillars, millipedes and flies. Toad catches prey with the sticky tip of the tongue.

The number of males and females of midwives is not the same in nature.

The diet of tadpoles consists of plant foods. They have small horny teeth in their mouth with which they gnaw algae. But they can also eat animal food. Gradually, the frogs begin to switch to insects and eat like adults. The life expectancy of midwives exceeds 5 years.

Self-defense of midwives

The back of the toad is covered with small warts, from which poisonous liquid is released if the frog is in a state of irritation or it is attacked by a predator. This liquid has a strong odor.

It lives in forests, shrubs, in rivers, lakes with clean water, in urban areas.

This remedy is very effective, it instantly causes the enemy to abandon his victim. Thanks to this poison, midwives have virtually no natural enemies.

The poison is effective not only against predators leading a land-based lifestyle, but also against fish. And the tadpoles have poisonous glands that are undeveloped, so they cannot defend themselves as effectively as adults.

Breeding midwives

Puberty in frogs of this species occurs in 12-18 months. The mating season begins in the month of March. In the breeding season, male midwives fight violently for females.

Females throw out cords with eggs, and males fertilize them.

The male, as noted, takes care of the offspring. He carries eggs on himself until they develop. Each string contains up to 54 eggs. Cords are wound around the hind legs of males. Caring for caviar continues for several weeks. If the male fertilizes the eggs of several females at once, then he will take care of all the eggs.

Embryos developing in eggs feed on yolk reserves. The male ensures that the egg shells remain moist. When tadpoles should appear, the male, following instinct, searches for a reservoir and lowers his feet into the water. Tadpoles begin to emerge from the eggs.

Tadpoles have tails, and breathing is carried out using gills. Tadpoles develop until July-October. But sometimes development can continue for several years, in this case the tadpole hibernates, and it turns into a frog in the spring.

The threat to the midwife species is negligible today.

Related species

Most of the frogs belong to the family of real frogs, but the midwife frog is not their relative.

In North America, Western Europe and Mallorca, there are 4 species of midwife frogs. It’s not easy to notice these shy nocturnal amphibians, but you can guess their presence from sonorous singing. The sounds they make resemble the ringing of a bell.

Interesting information about midwives

• Midwives toads live in some areas of France in the dunes, where they share the same territory with reed toads;
• In most amphibians, tongues are thin and long, and in midwives, they are thick and are not thrown out;
• The body of this toad contains so much poison that if it is eaten already, his death will come in a few hours;
• Midwife 2 times were accidentally brought into England along with imported plants, thanks to this midwives live in the counties of Yorkshire and Bedfordshire;
• Midwives in the Pyrenees mountains live at an altitude of 1.5-2 thousand meters.

The only source of water in the habitats of midwives is rain puddles formed in the recesses of the rocks. In these puddles, reproduction occurs.

The number of midwives

These frogs live in a very arid climate. They chose the deep caves on the north side of the island of Mallorca. The midwife frog has a flattened body shape, thanks to which it easily penetrates between stones and any narrow crevices.

Midwife frogs are threatened with extinction, as they live in a limited small area, in the driest and driest part of the island. The danger of extinction is associated with drainage and pollution of water bodies, where reproduction occurs in frogs.

In some areas, these frogs are artificially bred in captivity and subsequently released into nature to preserve their numbers.

Watch the video: Unusual Frogs - Fact File (February 2020).

Leave Your Comment