In search of the Fire-bellied toad

hungria 01We have been to Hungary with our colleagues Dr. Judith Vörös, curator of herpetology at the Museum of Natural History of Budapest, and Dr. Caitlin Gabor, a researcher at Texas State University. In this case, we will conduct an experiment in the laboratory to analyse the possible role of overwintering salamander larvae as reservoirs of chytridiomycosis in Hungary.

During our stay there, we visited the mountains of Matra (the highest point of the country) to collect eggs from the two species of Fire-bellied toad, Bombina bombina and Bombina variegata. These toads are distributed in Central Europe and are related to our Midwife toads. They are characterized by their bright ventral colours and an incredible song that echoes in the dense forests as: "unk-unk-unk", so locally the Fire-bellied toads are known as "Unkas".

On this trip we also found other species of amphibians such as Pelobates fuscus, a close relative of our Western Spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes), and species that can also be found in Spain such as Rana dalmatina, Salamandra salamandra and Rana temporaria.

Our expedition was successful, and we could collect many eggs from the two species. Now the eggs are in Spain, where we will carry out the experiment in the coming months in close collaboration with our overseas colleagues.

Many thanks to the Rangers and everyone who helped us during our visit to this amazing country that stands out because its hospitality and its inhabitants!

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