> Alytes muletensis
Alytes muletensis (Mallorcan midwife toad)
The Majorcan Midwife Toad (also Mallorcan Midwife Toad or Ferreret in Balearic Catalan and Spanish) is an Amphibian of the order Anura and in the family Discoglossidae. It is exclusively endemic to the Balearic Island of Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea. Until 1977 the species was believed to have become extinct, however its consequent discovery meant that the species could be described as a Living Fossil.
The Mallorcan midwife toad is part of an ancient lineage of amphibians, diverging from all others 155 million years ago. First identified from fossils that formed up to 5 million years ago in mainland Europe, this species was believed to have been extinct for over 2,000 years. In 1977 it was discovered in the inaccessible limestone canyons of northern Mallorca a true living fossil. Males care strings of eggs produced by the female wrapped around their hind legs for a month or more prior to hatching. The wild population of this is now increasing due to extensive captive breeding initiatives initiated in 1988. Current threats include non-native species, disease and diminishing water resources.
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