Croatian Fauna - Amphibians
Fire-bellied toad or Bombina bombina (Linnaeus 1761) is an amphibian living in lowland habitats throughout central and east Europe from Denmark to Sweden in the north-west to Ural in Russia and Turkey in the south-east. It can mostly be found in lakes and ponds that do not dry out and in flooding lowlands overgrown by thick vegetation. It resides in shallow waters or close to the shore of typically clear standing waters, although it can be found in slowly flowing waters as irrigation canals. In the period of pairing, during day or in twilight the males stretched out on water surface emit sounds in order to attract potential partners. If they are successful, they will embrace a female with front limbs and fecundate eggs which the female most often lays among water plants. After hatching, tadpoles usually mostly feed on seaweed and after turning into toad they start to catch water insects and other invertebrates.
Despite of the adjective „fire-bellied” in its name, the raw skin on the back of an adult toad is usually olive green in colour with big dark patches and can be almost black. Only when it gets into trouble the orange to red colour characteristic for its belly becomes distinct on black background. The toad will turn on its back and push its belly upwards in order to warn the assailant of the poisonous substance it sends out through its skin. Though, in spite of this, some vertebrates feed on fire-bellied toad, especially birds.
Although at world scale it is not an endangered species and falls in the category of the least endangered species it is strictly protected in Croatia because it is threatened to disappear from its natural habitat due to urbanisation and agriculture development.
Fire salamander or Salamandra salamandra (Linneaus 1758) is an amphibian from the family of salamandridae. It is characterised by its black body covered with yellow spots or lines. There are also entirely black specimens and those dominantly yellow but sometimes, although rare, also specimens with admixture of red or orange colour can be found. Fire salamander is 15 centimetres long, some specimens reach up to 25 cm. It lives in moist and shadowy habitats, like deciduous woods, most often on hilly ground and in mountainous areas near water, up to the altitude of 800 meters. This slow animal is mainly active during night, though on rainy days it can be seen also at daytime.
Most of its time salamander spends in protected shelters, sufficiently moist, e.g. under stones, leaves, trunks or in holes. Salamander feeds on insect larvae, snails, spiders and other invertebrates that live on the ground in woods. In the back of his head and in the four rows along his body it has got venomous glands whose poison serves as protection from assaulters and provokes irritation of nose and mouth but is not dangerous for man. Most animals avoid the fire salamander because of its warning colours.
Specimens mate in spring and early summer and females have young larvae that further develop in water. They live 20 years in the wild and in captivity up to 50 years.
Salamanders are very sensitive to the contamination and destruction of their habitat. They are spread in central and south Europe, north-west Africa and in the Middle East.
Despite of its name (Croatian name for olm is human fish) olm or Proteus anguinus (Laurenti 1768) does not belong to the class of fishes but to amphibians. The adjective human standing before the substantive fish suggests the colour of skin of this species which is pinkish like human skin. It inhabits only fresh water of the karst underground of Dinaric Mountains and is an endemic species of Dinaric karst. Due to its peculiar look it was believed in history to be a kite’s baby. Though a real underground amphibian, it can also be found on earth’s surface, when brought by an underground torrent. It is well adapted to specific underground world. Its eyes are undeveloped (rudimentary) and covered with skin layer while its other sensors are very well developed. With its chemo receptors it can detect small quantities of food, its very sensitive hearing is further strengthened by a side line sensitive to vibrations; it also possesses an ambulatory organ by which it can sense electric field. It feeds on insects’ larvae, snails and small crabs. It is a very interesting fact that this animal, so well adapted to the underground world, when exposed to outside conditions can get darker skin and can develop the sense of sight.
Olm is unique in many aspects. It is an amphibian with the longest lifespan − it can live up to 100 years. It stays forever young-looking since it preserves the look of larvae during its whole life. This phenomenon is called neoteny and can be seen in olm on its outer gills. It is the only European amphibian adapted to life underground. About 30 centimetres long, it is the biggest cave animal in the world. In the Republic of Croatia it is strictly protected and globally it is considered an endangered species.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 08.04.2013
Designer: Tomislav Tomić, academic painter graphic artist from Zaprešić
Printer: Zrinski - Čakovec
Process: Multicolor Offset Printing
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 29,82 x 35,50 mm