How the yellow-bellied toad survives in hostile environments

The soner is easy to observe thanks to the unique design of its belly. MICHEL RAUCH/Biosphoto via AFP

DECRYPTION – When its life expectancy is shortened, the batrachian relies on reproduction and youth.

The yellow-bellied toad is not one to let down. When this little toad finds itself forced to coexist with humans, for example in exploited public forests, its life expectancy drops dramatically. But a CNRS study reveals that the amphibian has been able to adapt by accelerating its life cycle to halt its decline. “The strategy of the species is to focus its efforts on reproduction and on the survival of the young rather than on that of the adults (in scientific terms, it compensates by an increase in its rate of recruitment)”says Hugo Cayuela, ecologist at the biometrics and evolutionary biology laboratory of the Claude Bernard University in Lyon, who led this research.

This type of changes in the rate of reproduction in response to human activities “had never been observed in wild speciesemphasizes the researcher, except in birds. For the latter, the phenomenon is reversed: when they live in town…

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