The importance of fluvial habitats for amphibian conservation in the Mediterranean climate
The importance of standing water habitat for amphibians is widely known and recognized. However, in some arid or semiarid zones the availability of these temporal habitats is uncertain and fluvial habitats could play a very important role for amphibian conservation. For example, in the Mediterranean region many fluvial habitats have a temporary character, lacking predatory fish populations and hosting diverse amphibian communities. To compare the relative importance of various fluvial and still water habitats, we studied the breeding amphibian community over a wide area from 2006 to 2008 in southwestern Spain. All amphibian species found in the area were present in lotic habitats and the highest amphibian diversity was found in temporary stream habitats. Fluvial habitats were among the most important habitats used for reproduction by eight amphibian species of conservation concern, whereas for seven species a significant positive selection was found towards one or several fluvial habitat types as reproduction habitats. The conservation of fluvial habitats including rigorous impact assessments and management programs can be very important for the conservation of endangered amphibians in these semi-arid areas.