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Green toad inhabited Iberian Peninsula 1 million years ago
Date:3/31/2011

Blain.

Why did it disappear in the Iberian Peninsula?

There are various theories as to the causes that led to the green toad disappearing from the Peninsula during the Pleistocene. "Growing climate changes and in particular the cold period seen around one million years ago could be possible explanations", the scientist explains.

However, pressure from the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), "which is stronger and more competitive", may have displaced the green toad and "made it locally extinct", leaving it "trapped" in south eastern Spain. The expert says that "we will only be able to find out what really caused the local extinction of B. viridis by carrying out studies on more deposits, covering a more extensive geographical area and longer time period".

In search of its ancestor

The green toad belongs to the family Bufonidae, but its ancestor is unknown. "Molecular studies suggest that green toads had an ancestor in Central Asia, but the oldest fossil record found to date is from the Early Miocene (more than 20 million years ago) in France and Spain", explains Blain.

In Spain, the closest living toad relative of B. viridis is the natterjack toad, which is found all the way to Ukraine. In Europe, "Bufo priscus could be a good candidate for the title of the European ancestor of B. viridis", says the scientist, who believes it is necessary to carry out a "serious review of all the fossils attributed to this group in Europe, Africa and Asia".


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Green toad inhabited Iberian Peninsula 1 million years ago 
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