Fire belly toad

Bombina variegata


Жолт мукач


Bretkosa barkverdhe

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Not evaluated Data deficient LEAST CONCERN Near threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Bombina variegata


(Linnaeus, 1758)


Rana variegata Linnaeus, 1758

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

LC – Least Concern

Date assessed

November 2019


Bogoljub Sterijovski

Dragan Arsovski


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Yellow-bellied Toad, though widely distributed across North Macedonia, has suffered reductions and fluctuations in area of occupancy and extent of occurrence that are likely still in effect due to its dependence on water bodies, particularly temporary ones. Nevertheless, the species is present in all neighboring countries and North Macedonian populations can thus benefit from regional rescue effects. Nationally, the species is Least Concern. Globally and in Europe, this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



Preliminary monitoring studies indicate a declining population trend within North Macedonia (unpublished data), which is mainly being caused by habitat destruction and the effects of climate change. Throughout the improper work of small hydro power plants the fluctuations and continuous decline of this species is observed.

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial|Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

It can be found in coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests, bush-lands and meadows, floodplains and grasslands. At low elevations this species lives in deciduous forests; at higher altitudes it is more often found in deciduous as well as coniferous forests and highland glades. The species uses many types of wetland, including lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, stream pools, springs (including mineral and thermal springs), puddles, reservoirs, gravel and clay pits, ditches and even water-filled wheel ruts. The breeding habitats are typically non-shaded temporary pools within, or close to, woodland. The species can tolerate slight water pollution, and on several occasions in the Skopje, Veles and Strumica regions it was observed in ponds polluted by chemical agents. It can also be found in temporary ponds in rural and urban areas. The Yellow-bellied Toad is active form mid March until beginning of October. At higher altitudes the active period can be shorter (mid April until mid September). Reproduction stars in early spring at lower elevations and as late as early summer at higher altitudes, although this may very to a large extent as a result of droughts or years of pronounced precipitation. Clutch size can vary from 50 to 100 eggs and four days later small tadpoles hatch. This is a long-lived amphibian, with a life expectancy of 10-15 years and records of up to 29 years in captivity.

Use and trade

Use and trade

There is no confirmed use and trade of this species in N. Macedonia.



The Yellow-bellied Toad is mainly threatened by habitat degradation due to the development of infrastructure, construction of hydro-power plants as well as the discharge of pollutants into wetlands. These threats to the species’ reproductive centres are both historical and current (Sterijovski 2015). Moreover, climate change can pose serious threats to this species, particularly if it affects some of its refugia such as Taor Gorge, Treska River Gorge, Crna River, along with the gorges of Raec and Blasnica Rivers, then Jama, Mavrovo-Radika region, Mt. Baba, the Ohrid-Prespa region, and the mountain range of Nidze and Kozuf (MoEPP, 2003a; 2003b). Droughts, particularly during spring can cause serious fluctuations in area of occupancy throughout North Macedonia, but particularly in the dry central and south-eastern parts of the country (Veles, Shtip, Negotino, Radovis, Strumica and Dojran regions). Recently, the construction and operational work of mini hydro-power plants pose a serious threat to this species.

The fungal threats Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans were recently detected in the Balkan Peninsula. These cause the disease known as Chytridiomycosis(Whittaker and Vredenburg 2016)in amphibians. Studies have shown that climate change facilitates the spread of this disease (Pounds 2006), and scientist suggest that pesticides may inhibit the innate immune defence, and increase susceptibility to this disease (Davidson et al. 2007). This calls for urgent preventative matters, primarily in the form of monitoring so that initial signs of the fungus in North Macedonia are caught timely and quarantined.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

The species is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and on Annexes II and IV of the EU Birds & Habitats Directive. It is protected by national legislation as it is on the List of protected wild species of North Macedonia (Official gazette No.139. 2011). Appropriate habitat management is needed to maintain wetlands and prevent succession to scrub and woodland. Life-history trait variation should be monitored against variation in threats and pressures.

According to the “Strategy for biodiversity of Republic of North Macedonia” (Ministry of environment and physical planning, 2018) swamps, particularly high-altitude swamps are affected by degradation as a result of land conversion due to the intensification of agriculture, water supply shortage, irrigation, fish stocking, lack of waste water treatment and construction activities. Action plans for the conservation of this toad’s reproductive centres, i.e. wetlands are urgently needed.

The national strategy for biodiversity prioritises the following conservation actions:

  • 10.4 Protection and restoration of swamp habitats/wetlands and riparian habitats

  • 10.4.1 Identification of the most affected lowland swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

  • 10.4.2 Identification of the most affected high-altitude swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

  • 10.4.3 Development of a plan and implementation of activities for the prevention of swamp and wetland degradation due to intensification of agriculture, irrigation, fish stocking and other activities of the economic sectors

  • 10.4.4 Implementation of pilot measures for the restoration of wetlands



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