Biodiversity is under threat and there is one group which is particularly threatened: the amphibians. There are several factor linked to the decline of amphibians and chytridiomycosis, a sometimes lethal disease caused by a fungus named Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and habitat loss are considered the biggest threats to these species.
In the UK it is estimated that more common frogs live in garden ponds than in the country side. Where i live, in southern Netherlands, we have several newts such as the smooth newt, the great crested newt and the alpine newt. In my pond both alpine newt and smooth newt have been seen. This is actually not so special, there are villages where most garden ponds are teeming with newts if you create the right conditions.
Above, a female alpine newt is laying her eggs. Look at the bright belly!. She is gorgeous.
This male has a rather bluish appearance and a rather small crest. The males are a bit smaller than the females.
The common frog is abundant in my garden. On wet days, i have to watch my step carefully as they are everywhere. They are thriving because the conditions are right. Not only do i have a place where they can breed, but there is also enough food to eat. As amphibians spend most of their time outside the water, the garden needs to meet their requirements. A log pile, shrubs and lots of vegetation and ideally some leaf litter will do the trick.
Above: female smooth newt laying her eggs. You can see she is depositing an egg and folds the leaf with the egg between it. She does that with each egg. They can produce some hundred eggs!.
Amphibians play a role in the ecosystem; they tend to keep the amount of slugs at a minimum for example. My hostas look great and the frogs deal with the hosta’s enemies.