Amphibians of Israel: A Tale of Conservation and a Miraculous Rediscovery
Israel, known for its diverse landscapes, is also home to a unique array of amphibians. These remarkable creatures face challenges due to scarce water resources and extensive human development, and their survival is a challenge depending on the ongoing efforts of conservationists. Being the southernmost habitat to its two species of salamanders, many of Israel’s natural water sources, including wetlands and ponds, have dwindled over the years, leaving amphibians with limited, fragmented habitats.
Eight distinct species of amphibians call Israel home, of which the Arabian tree frog was only recently identified as a separate species (Hyla felixarabica). Two Salamanders species occur in Israel: 1. The agile Near Eastern fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) showcases vibrant orange and black patterns, warning potential predators of its toxic skin secretions, which also reside on neighbouring countries, and 2. Southern banded newt (Ommatotriton vittatus) with orange and black colouration and distinct banded patterns display its fascinating courtship behaviour during the breeding season.
Still one of the world’s rarest amphibians, the endemic Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) holds a remarkable place in Israel’s natural history. Believed to be extinct for over 60 years, this frog was rediscovered in the Hula Valley in 2011, much to the astonishment of the scientific community. This elusive creature, with its distinct dark colouration and mottled pattern, had survived against all odds. The rediscovery of the Hula-painted frog marked a significant conservation success and highlighted the importance of preserving and protecting unique habitats. This frog once thought lost forever, serves as a reminder of the fragility and resilience of nature. Efforts are now underway to safeguard its habitat, providing hope for the future of this rare and extraordinary species.
Thank you Assaf Levy from BioDB