Alytes obstetricans (Laurenti, 1768)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Alytidae > Genus: Alytes > Species: Alytes obstetricans

Bufo obstetricans Laurenti, 1768, Spec. Med. Exhib. Synops. Rept.: 128. Type(s): Including frog named Bufo terrestris minor in "Hist. de l'Acad. Des Scienc. 1741". Type locality: not stated; designated as "Frankreich" (= France) by Mertens and Müller, 1928, Abh. Senckenb. Naturforsch. Ges., 41: 17.

Bombinator obstetricansMerrem, 1820, Tent. Syst. Amph.: 179.

Rana obstetricans —Wolf In Sturm, 1828, Deutschl. Fauna, Amph.: 3.

Alytes obstetricansWagler, 1830, Nat. Syst. Amph.: 206; Wiegmann, 1832, in Wiegmann and Ruthe (eds.), Handbuch der Zool., Amph.: 201; Leunis, 1860, Synops. Drei Naturr., Zool., Ed. 2: 146.

Obstetricans vulgaris Dugès, 1834, Rech. Osteol. Myol. Batr.: 7. Substitute name for Bufo obstetricans Laurenti, 1768.

Alytes obstetricans de l'Islei Lataste, 1879, Rev. Internatl. Sci., 2nd year, Paris, 4: 543. Type(s): Not stated, although likely originally in Lataste's personal collection and presumably ultimately deposited in the BMNH. Type locality: "parait confinée sur un territoire presque aussi restreint, en deçà de pyrenees et des Alpes, s'avançant peu au delà des limites de la France vers le nord . . . . versant français des Pyrénées", France. Synonymy by Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 449.

Alytes obstetricans obstretricansLataste, 1879, Rev. Internatl. Sci., 2nd year, Paris, 4: 543.

Alytes obstetricans boscai Lataste, 1879, Rev. Internatl. Sci., 2nd year, Paris, 4: 543. Syntype(s): 5 specimens in IRSNB, MNHNP (although not currently located), and Burdeos [= Bordeaux, museum unknown—DRF], by original designation. IRSNB 1924 (formerly I.G. 4413 Reg. 167B) designated lectotype by García-París and Martínez-Solano, 2001, Rev. Esp. Herpetol., 15: 110. Type locality: "a Méditerranée (Valencia del Cid) à l'Atlantique (Puentevedra), la péninsule ibérique, et ne pas le dépasser", Spain. Restricted to "Valencia" by Mertens and Wermuth, 1960, Amph. Rept. Europas: 38. Data associated with lectotype ""España" although the authors discussed the issue and regarded the type locality to be environs of "Tuy in the provincia Pontevedra", Spain.

Alytes obstetricans var. boscaeBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 449. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Alytes obstetricans var. BoscaeSchreiber, 1912, Herpetol. Eur., Ed. 2: 167. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Alytes campanisonus boscaiLindholm, 1929, Zool. Anz., 85: 80.

Alytes (Alytes) obstetricans obstetricansDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 12.

Alytes (Alytes) obstetricans boscaiDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 12.

Alytes obstetricans pertinax García-París and Martínez-Solano, 2001, Rev. Esp. Herpetol., 15: 105. Holotype: MNCN 23918, by original designation. Type locality: "La Tola, Municipio de Casas Ibáñez, Provincia de Albacete", Spain.

Alytes (Alytes) obstetricans pertinaxGarcía-París, Monton, and Alonso-Zarazaga, 2004, in García-París et al. (eds.), Fauna Iberica, 24: 595.

Alytes obstetricans lusitanicus Ambu, Martínez-Solano, and Dufresnes, 2024, Alytes, 41: 31. Holotype: MNCN 50839, by original designation. Type locality: "an orchard situated alongside road AV-P-711, 6.3 km from El Arenal, Ávila, Spain (40.2541495 N, 5.060717 W, 899 m a. s. l.)." Zoobank publication registration: 8ADAF817-604B-41CC-A943-BCCAA32A71B5

English Names

Nurse Frog (Wood, 1863, Illust. Nat. Hist., 3: 162).

Midwife Toad (Cochran, 1961, Living Amph. World: 55; Arnold and Burton, 1978, Field Guide Rept. Amph. Brit. Eur.: 63; Ananjeva, Borkin, Darevsky, and Orlov, 1988, Dict. Amph. Rept. Five Languages: 50; Stumpel-Rienks, 1992, Ergänzungsband Handbuch Rept. Amph. Eur., Trivialnamen der Herpetofauna Eur.: 43).

Olive Midwife Toad (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 51).

Bell Toad (Hellmich, 1962, Rept. Amph. Eur.: 61).

Common Midwife Toad (Dufresnes, 2019, Amph. Eur., N. Afr., & Middle East: 30). 


Western Europe from northern Portugal and northern and eastern Spain (excluding Catalonia) throughout France (except for the eastern Pyrenees) and through southern Belgium and extreme southern Netherlands to central and southwestern Germany and northern and western Switzerland; introduced into northern and southern England and onto Menorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain.

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland

Introduced: Spain, United Kingdom


See Arntzen and García-París, 1995, Bijdr. Dierkd., 65: 5–34, for discussion of subspecies. Grossenbacher, 1997, in Gasc et al. (eds.), Atlas Amph. Rept. Eur.: 94–95, discussed relevant literature and distribution. Barbadillo-Escrivá, 1987, Guia INCAFO Anf. Rept. Peninsula Iberica: 131–135, provided an account for the Iberian populations. Nöllert and Nöllert, 1992, Die Amph. Eur.: 249–253, provided a brief account and polygon map. García-París and Martínez-Solano, 2001, Rev. Esp. Herpetol., 15: 99–113, discussed geographic variation in Spain and named a new subspecies. Arnold, 2002, Rept. Amph. Eur., Ed. 2: 64–66, provided a brief account, figure, and map. Márquez and Rosa, 1997, in Pleguezuelos (ed.), Dist. Biogeogr. Anf. Rep. Esp. Portugal: 131–133, provided a brief account, photograph, and detailed map for Iberia. Martínez-Solano, Gonçalves, Arntzen, and García-París, 2004, J. Biogeograph., 31: 610, noted that Alytes obstetricans almogavarii appears to have been distinct for a long period but through gene flow progressively losing this distinction from the other named races of Alytes obstetricansMárquez and Bosch, 1995, J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 33: 185–192, reported on advertisement call of Alytes obstetricans boscaiLlorente, Montori, Santos, and Carretero, 1995, Atlas Amf. Rept. Catalunya Andorra: 58–60, provided an account and detailed range map for Catalunya and Andorra. Amat Orriols and Roig Fernàndez, 2003, Butll. Soc. Catalana Herpetol., 16:42–72, discussed and mapped the species in Andorra. Lever, 2003, Naturalized Rept. Amph. World: 139–140, reported on a persistent introduced population near York, England. Van den Broek and Frissen, 2009, in Creemers and van Delft (eds.), Amph. Rept. Nederland: 132–141, provided a detailed account of the species in the Netherlands. Rivera, Escoriza, Maluquer-Margalef, Arribas, and Carranza, 2011, Amf. Rept. Catalunya: 56–59, provided a brief account for northeastern Spain, Andorra, and adjacent France. Mateo, Ayres, and López-Jurado, 2011, Bol. Asoc. Herpetol. Esp., 22: 3, discussed introduced populations on Menorca. Pinya and Carretero, 2011, Acta Herpetol., Firenze, 6: 59–80, discussed the population in the Balearic Islands. Gonçalves, Maia-Carvalho, Sousa-Neves, García-París, Sequeira, Ferrand de Almeida, and Martínez-Solano, 2015, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 93: 363–379, reported on Iberian mtDNA phylogeography. Speybroeck, Beukema, Bok, and Van Der Voort, 2016, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Brit. Eur.: 118–119, provided a brief account and distribution map. Maia-Carvalho, Vale, Sequeira, Ferrand de Almeida, Martínez-Solano, and Gonçalves, 2018, J. Biogeograph., 45: 2146–2158,  reported on mtDNA phylogeography and niche modeling, which provided substantial evidence for diagnosable lineages within the Iberian peninsula in addition to what is now Alytes almogavariiAllain and Goodman, 2018, Herpetol. Notes, 11: 451–454, reported on the absence of chytrid fungus in an introduced population in Cambridge, England (UK). See Dufresnes, 2019, Amph. Eur., N. Afr., & Middle East: 30, for brief summary of range (see p. 192 for photographs and map of subspecies) and biology as well as a photograph.  Dufresnes and Martínez-Solano, 2020, Amphibia-Reptilia, 41: 105–112, excluded Alytes obstetricans almogavarii as a distinct species in Catalonia, Spain, and suggested that other nominal subspecies required careful reevaluation. Ambu, Martínez-Solano, and Dufresnes, 2024, Alytes, 41: 18–39, discussed the range and delimitation of subspecies.  

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