Start of the breeding program 2019

22.05.2019 Despite the drought and the lack of water in the ponds, another 2.500 tadpoles of the fire-bellied toad moved into the breeding station.

At Easter, the fire-bellied toads along the river Elbe started breeding. The first eggs could be found in mid-April already. Until mid-May, 2.500 eggs were collected from the two project areas in the parish of Neuhaus and from the Elbe marshlands around the village of Gartow.

The particular feature this year was, that the toads avoided many of the traditionally visited breeding ponds due to the drought or poor water quality. The toads moved to neighbouring ponds, that had not been used for breeding previously. This shows again how important it is to have a high number of different types of water bodies available for the toads in one location, so that there is a chance for reproduction in every year.

Until the completion of the metamorphosis into young toads, the fire-bellied toads are kept at the breeding station to be brought into their target areas later on.

At least 10 percent of the metamorphosed young toads will be returned to the ponds they had been taken from. In nature, on average less then ten percent of tadpoles survive. So, the population providing individuals for breeding gets additional support from this program.

We are hoping for an increase of the river Elbe water level and plenty of rainfall, so that the ponds do not fall dry prematurely and the tadpoles can survive in their natural environment and metamorphose into young toads.

Photo: fire-bellied toad tadpoles feeding in the breeding station, Ute Thiergärtner, Amphi Consult