Breeding phenology of amphibians in a Mediterranean ephemeral stream (Ardèche, France)


en Naturae 2022 (13) - Pages 235-245

Published on 07 September 2022

We present the results of the monitoring of breeding phenology of an assemblage of eight species of amphibians in a Mediterranean ephemeral stream, located in the Ardèche department, France. For most species, during 11 consecutive years, phenology was rather constant from year to year, which is rather unusual in Mediterranean temporary ponds. The occurrence of summer breeding was not rare for three species: Pelobates cultripes (Cuvier, 1829), Pelodytes punctatus (Daudin, 1803) and Hyla meridionalis Böttger, 1874. Breeding occurrence is linked to rewetting events caused by active karst resurgences, fuelled by periods of intense rainfall episodes called “cévenol” episodes. We document for the first time a triannual breeding occurrence (spring, summer, and autumn), and an in situ record of a short tadpole development period, concerning particularly P. cultripes. The ecological factors which can explain this species richness and these unusual observations are outlined. In conclusion, we encourage the conservation and monitoring of amphibian communities in ephemeral streams, as the natural and scientific interests for this type of habitat are often underestimated.

Pools, Mediterranean species assemblage, triennial breeding flexibility, shortening of larval development duration, “cévenol” episode, karst resurgence, Pelobates cultripes.
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