Jersey toad is unique species, say experts

image copyrightStates of Jersey
image captionThe Jersey toad is bigger, breeds earlier and uses a different habitat than English toads

A toad native to the island of Jersey has been revealed as a unique British species in a new study.

Collaboration between conservationists and scientists found the Jersey toads are different from toads found in England.

Expert Dr John Wilkinson said they would need tailored conservation to ensure their survival.

Jersey toads "grow larger, breed earlier and use different habitats than English toads", he said.

"Now we know they are a new species, we can ensure efforts for their conservation are directed to their specific needs," Dr Wilkinson added.

Jersey's toad populations are monitored through Jersey Toadwatch, a project jointly run by the Department of the Environment and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

image captionThe toad is a common fixture in the island, with a statue dedicated to it in the island's capital St Helier

The Crapaud

Jersey is the only channel island with native toads. There is a statue showing a toad in the island's capital St Helier.

Being the only island with toads led residents of the other islands to use the term "crapaud" to refer to residents of Jersey in a derogatory way.

Crapaud is the French word for toad.

The information is added to breeding records collected since 2005. This data gives conservationists a clearer picture on trends to inform future action.

The Department of the Environment's Principal Ecologist, John Pinel, said: "Conservation of biodiversity in Jersey has always had a high priority.

"This news will help ensure that toads continue to receive the positive action they deserve."

Mr Pinel said ongoing conservation measures include supporting and advising people who want to install a garden pond, improving where toads live and connecting different breeding sites so toad populations continue to thrive.

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