World Biodiversity day 2009
Biodiversity – the web of life on which we depend – is in decline around the world. Amphibians and reptiles are more endangered than mammals in Europe, habitat loss being the greatest threat to their survival. Other threats include climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
Europe is home to 151 species of reptiles and 85 species of amphibians, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Six reptile species including the Tenerife speckled lizard ( Gallotia intermedia) and the Aeolian Wall Lizard ( Podarcis raffonei) have been classified as Critically Endangered, meaning that they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Eleven more are classified as Endangered (i.e. facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild) and 10 as Vulnerable (facing a high risk of extinction in the wild). Among amphibians, a group that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and newts, two species have been classified as Critically Endangered: the Karpathos Frog ( Pelophylax cerigensis) and the Montseny Brook Newt ( Calotriton arnoldi), Spain's only endemic newt. Five more, including the Appenine yellow-bellied toad ( Bombina pachypus) are Endangered, and 11 are classified as Vulnerable.