Amphibians. Although frogs, toads and newts lay their eggs in water and their larvae (tadpoles) develop there, outside the breeding season adults and juveniles spend much of their time on land foraging, sheltering and hibernating. Sensitive to their environment, amphibian populations have declined and are lost in many places, especially the Great Crested Newt and Common Toad.
Five of Britain's seven native amphibian species are found in Barnsley: Great Crested Newt and Common Toad, both national priority species because of the severity of their decline, and Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Palmate Newt.
Common Frog is the most widespread and common amphibian and tends to be associated with fish-free, shallow-edged pools for breeding producing clumps of frog-spawn, often using garden ponds.
Common Toad has a drier, warty skin with a blunt nose, in contrast to the smooth moist skin of the frog. Toads crawl whereas frogs jump in a faster movement. Common toads prefer deeper water bodies than frogs in which to breed and have strings of toad-spawn.
Because toads are more selective than frogs and possibly more ‘site-faithful' they are more at risk from pond loss; destruction of a toad breeding site can eliminate the species over a relatively large area. They are also more sensitive than frogs to changes in habitat.
Great Crested Newts are considerably larger than our other two native newt species, dark brown or black in colour with a distinct ‘warty’ skin. The underside is bright orange with irregular black blotches. Their eggs are individually laid and wrapped inside the leaves of pond plants. Following a massive historic decline, there are signs of recent improvements but they remain vulnerable. Good populations are found in Barnsley in at several sites.
Smooth Newt. Although the most widespread newt, Smooth Newt has declined in numbers with populations sill found in suitable habitats across Barnsley.
Palmate Newt has only been recorded locally in the Wharncliffe Wood area.
For further information on the Great Crested Newt, and distribution, conservation and actions for amphibians, please follow the following links …
In our region 67% of ponds surveyed included Common Frog, whereas this dropped to 48% Common Toad, 39% Smooth Newt, 26% Palmate Newt, and only 12% Great Crested Newt.
Local Priority Species include the national priority species:
These are local priority species due to their national status and because there are sites in Barnsley with good populations.
Sites with good assemblages of amphibian species including the Common Frog and the other newts, are also a local priority: