News June 2024

Milestone reached in common spadefoot toad breeding

INBO has been rearing common spadefoot eggs into large larvae and juveniles for translocation every year since 2020 on behalf of the Agency for Nature and Forests. The rearing is done at the Research Centre for Aquatic Fauna in Linkebeek. To increase both genetic diversity and the number of translocated animals, a collaboration with Dutch and German colleagues started in 2023 to bring common spadefoot eggs to Flanders.

If we can have full reproduction in captivity, we will no longer depend on the small and endangered wild populations. This is why we also keep a few animals each year from breeding that we continue to raise in the nursery. Expectations were high this spring, as the first common spadefoot toads born in 2020 became sexually mature. We optimised the breeding setup on the advice of several experts from abroad. After a final cold snap in April, the adult common spadefoot toads were transferred to the breeding pool in early May. Great was the joy when we found the first clutches the next day.

This initial success makes us hope that in a few years, completely independent of input from the wild, we will be able to carry out translocations. It is an important milestone that makes the future of the common spadefoot toad in Flanders a little brighter.


Loïc van Doorn, Daan Van Eenaeme, Johan Auwerx, Jeroen Speybroeck


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