This species is found in southern, western and northern Europe, ranging from Portugal and Spain, north to Denmark, southern Sweden, and as far east as western Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. There are isolated populations in southwestern Ireland and scattered parts of the United Kingdom (north to southwestern Scotland). It occurs from sea level to almost 2,540 m asl (in Spain).
Habitat and Ecology
This species is generally found in open and unshaded light sandy soils of coastal dunes, lowland heaths, semi-desert, high mountains, pine forest glades, gardens, parks, agricultural fields, sand and gravel quarries and meadows. In the daytime these animals hide in heaps of stones, in sandy soil and under debris. Spawning, followed by a short larval development period, takes place in sunny shallow temporary pools and lagoons. This is a pioneering species in much of southern Europe, sometimes temporarily colonizing new ponds; it is very much less adaptable in northern Europe.
The species is locally abundant across much of its range, especially in southern Europe. It is much more localized and is declining in the northern parts of its range (e.g., in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Estonia). While generally declining in Poland, a large breeding population of about 500 individuals was recorded in 2002 in the Slowinski National Park. It is considered generally rare in eastern parts of its range.
The main threats to this species are loss of specialized habitats (such as heaths and dunes) by natural encroachment of scrub and woodland; afforestation, acidification of breeding pools, agricultural development, infilling of breeding sites (such as temporary pools and sand and gravel quarries); increased mechanization of sand and gravel extraction and infrastructure development for tourism. In some parts of its range (e.g. in UK and Spain) chytridiomycosis is a threat. The species is considered vulnerable to climate change, particularly in southern Europe.
It is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive, and is protected by national and sub national legislation throughout much of its range. The species is listed in many regional, national and sub-national Red Data Books and Lists, and is present in many protected areas. A re-introduction program in the UK has successfully established at least six, and perhaps quite a few more populations (Denton, et al. 1997; Zippel 2005).
Pedro Beja, Sergius Kuzmin, Trevor Beebee, Mathieu Denoël, Benedikt Schmidt, David Tarkhnishvili, Natalia Ananjeva, Nikolai Orlov, Per Nyström, Agnieszka Ogrodowczyk, Maria Ogielska, Jaime Bosch, Claude Miaud, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano 2009. Epidalea calamita. In: IUCN 2014