ARC is pleased to promote an interesting research project run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group (CPARG). They are investigating the origins of the UK’s midwife toad populations, using minimally invasive techniques to take DNA samples. These samples will then be analysed in a very similar fashion as when someone takes a genealogical test to explore their ancestry. The toads are non-native and have been established for over 100 years, but it is not known how many independent introductions there have been or where the toads came from. It’s often assumed that all of the toads came from France but some of CPARG’s early analysis has already disproved this.

To help locate new midwife toad populations and collect samples from the currently known ones, CPARG would like you to get in touch and report whether or not they are in your local area. They would particularly like to hear from people in the Rotherham, Sheffield, Worksop and High Wycombe areas. The toads can easily be identified by their high-pitched bell like call, small size and grey-green colouration. They may be encountered in the garden when moving plant pots or other objects that the toads may be hiding under. If you know of midwife toads in your garden or somewhere local to you then please do let CPARG know – contact details and more info on the project can be found on the CPARG blog

For more information on Britain’s introduced species, see our non-native amphibians and reptiles advice advice pages.

Download our illustrated guide to the alien amphibian and reptile species in the UK!