Spanish painted frog (Discoglossus jeanneae)

Spanish painted frog
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Spanish painted frog fact file

Spanish painted frog description

GenusDiscoglossus (1)

The Spanish painted frog (Discoglossus jeanneae) is a medium-sized amphibian with quite variable colouration. Its upperparts are predominantly dark, often with spots or stripes, and the underparts are whitish or yellowish. The skin is generally smooth, but there are two lines of glandular skin running along the length of the back from behind the eyes (2).

The snout of the Spanish painted frog is fairly pointed, while the tympanum is inconspicuous and the pupils of the eyes are somewhat rounded (2) (3). The male Spanish painted frog has webbing between the hind toes, but this is absent in the female and in juveniles. During the breeding season, the male also has blackish calluses on the throat, belly, first and second fingers, and on the toe webbing (2).

Although sometimes considered to be the same species as the related Iberian painted frog (Discoglossus galganoi) (1) (2), the Spanish painted frog can generally be distinguished by its proportionately shorter snout and smaller forefeet (2). The tadpoles of the Spanish painted frog are very similar to those of the Iberian painted frog (2), which are usually dark brown, becoming lighter brown as they develop (4). The calls of the two species are also similar (2). In general, the calls of male painted frogs are described a sounding like a quiet, rolling laugh (3).

Also known as
East Iberian painted frog.
Discoglossus galganoi jeanneae.
Sapillo Pintojo Meridional.
Male snout-vent length: up to 6.3 cm (2)
Female snout-vent length: up to 5.8 cm (2)

Spanish painted frog biology

Relatively little is known about the biology of the Spanish painted frog. It appears to be active year-round and its breeding season is thought to be quite extensive (2). Like the related Iberian painted frog, the Spanish painted frog usually lays its eggs in small, shallow water bodies (1) (2) (4). Other aspects of its breeding behaviour may also be similar to that of the Iberian painted frog, in which the female produces between 326 and 687 eggs per clutch, but can lay up to 1,500 in total. The eggs of the Iberian painted frog hatch in 2 to 9 days, and the tadpoles complete their development in 20 to 60 days (4).

The diet of the adult Spanish painted frog includes insects, worms and the young of other frogs and toads (2). Like the Iberian painted frog, it may also possibly take a range of other invertebrates, including spiders, snails and slugs, and is likely to be most active at night or at dawn and dusk (4). The tadpoles of the Spanish painted frog eat plant material (2).


Spanish painted frog range

The Spanish painted frog is endemic to southern, eastern and north-eastern Spain (1) (2) (5) (6). It has a rather patchy distribution, and is generally most common in the south of its range (1) (2) (6).


Spanish painted frog habitat

This species typically inhabits open areas, such as pastures, meadows and agricultural land, and is also found in pine groves and shrubland. The Spanish painted frog is usually associated with the presence of limestone or gypsum soils, and occurs from sea level to elevations of just over 2,000 metres (1) (2) (6).

The Spanish painted frog is a highly aquatic species, and is often found in shallow pools, streams, ditches, ponds, springs, or even artificial water bodies such as drinking troughs (1) (2) (6).


Spanish painted frog status

The Spanish painted frog is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened


Spanish painted frog threats

The Spanish painted frog is quite patchily distributed throughout its range, and its population is believed to be in decline. The main threat to this amphibian is the loss of its habitat due to increasing aridity and drought, which may potentially be exacerbated by climate change. Some isolated populations are likely to have already become extinct (1) (2) (6).

Other threats to the Spanish painted frog include pollution, the loss of its habitat to agriculture, infrastructure development and the overexploitation of water resources. Introduced species such as predatory fish and the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) (1) (2) (6) may also pose a threat to the Spanish painted frog. In many areas, this species depends on the adequate maintenance of artificial breeding sites, such as fountains and drinking troughs (2).


Spanish painted frog conservation

The Spanish painted frog is listed as Near Threatened on the Spanish Red Book (6) and is protected under national legislation (1). It is also listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention (7) and on Annexes II and IV of the EU Habitats Directive (8).

This endemic frog occurs in at least one protected area, in the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada (1). Recommended conservation measures for the Spanish painted frog include determining the exact extent of its distribution (1).


Find out more

Find out more about the Spanish painted frog and its conservation:

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A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Relating to or bearing glands, organs that make and secrete substances used by the body.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Also known as the eardrum. A thin membrane that transmits sounds from the air to the middle ear.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
  2. Martínez-Solano, Í. (2009) Sapillo pintojo meridional - Discoglossus jeanneae Busack, 1986. In: Salvador, A. and Martínez-Solano, Í. (Eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. Available at:
  3. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Martínez-Solano, Í. (2009) Sapillo pintojo ibérico - Discoglossus galganoi Capula, Nascetti, Lanza, Bullini y Crespo, 1985. In: Salvador, A. (Ed.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. Available at:
  5. Frost, D.R. (2011) Amphibian Species of the World: An Online Reference. American Museum of Natural History, New York. Available at:
  6. Martínez-Solano, Í. and García-París, M. (2002) Discoglossus jeanneae Busack, 1986. Sapillo pintojo meridional. In: Pleguezuelos, J.M., Márquez, R. and Lizana, M. (Eds.) Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Dirrección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza - Asociación Herpetologica Española, Madrid. Available at:
  7. Council of Europe: Bern Convention (May, 2011)
  8. EU Habitats Directive (May, 2011)

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Spanish painted frog  

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