The natural distribution of this species is in the western Mediterranean. It is present in southern France, Monaco, coastal northwestern Italy (Ligury and southern Piedmont), Spain, Portugal, and in northern Africa (Morocco, northern Algeria, and northern Tunisia). In the drier parts of its range (for example in parts of north Africa and Iberia) its distribution is fragmented due to limited available habitat, and it has a small Area of Occupancy within its wider Extent of Occurrence. The species is also present on the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal) (it was introduced in antiquity on these islands). It is introduced on Menorca (Spain). The distribution in Algeria and Tunisia is poorly known but several authors have mentioned that the species ranges south of the Tell Atlas (D. Donaire-Barroso pers. comm.). It is generally found at low to mid elevations from sea level, rarely up to 2,650m asl (Morocco).
Habitat and Ecology
This species may be found in trees, shrubs, orchards, vineyards, and grasses generally near to freshwater habitats; the species can occur at high densities within suitable vegetation. Breeding and larval development take place in ponds, springs, irrigation ditches, temporary pools, flooded meadows, lagoons, cattle pools, wells and even swimming pools. It is sympatric in some areas with Hyla arborea (and produces infertile hybrids).
Generally, it is common across its range. Populations in southeastern Spain and isolated populations in the Basque country, Spain, are declining mostly through loss of breeding habitats. It is locally threatened in Italy.
The species is locally threatened by terrestrial habitat loss (intensification of agriculture; infrastructure development), aquatic pollution (agriculture; mosquito control), and loss of breeding sites (e.g.. drinking troughs). The introduction of predatory Louisiana Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), and fishes (such as Gambusia holbrooki) to breeding sites is a serious threat to this species. The species appears to show a greater resilience to eutrophication than many other species, possibly as the eutrophic waters promote the growth of reed mace and other favorable vegetation.
The species is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is recorded in a number of national and sub-national Red Data Books and Lists and is protected in parts of its range by national and sub-national legislation. The species occurs in many European and North African protected areas.
David Donaire-Barroso, Trevor Beebee, Pedro Beja, Franco Andreone, Jaime Bosch, Miguel Tejedo, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Tahar Slimani , El Hassan El Mouden, Rafael Marquez 2009. Hyla meridionalis. In: IUCN 2014