Azim D. Askenderov, PhD, Junior Researcher of the Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Caspian Institute of Biological Resources Dagestan Scientific Centre of RAS (45, Gadzhieva Street, Makhachkala, 367000, Republic of Dagestan, Russian Federation), Dagestan State University (43-a, Gadzhieva Street, Makhachkala, 367000, Republic of Dagestan, Russian Federation); e-mail:
Lyudmila F. Mazanaeva, PhD, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Zoology and Physiology, Dagestan State University (43-a, Gadzhieva Street, Makhachkala, 367000, Republic of Dagestan, Russian Federation); e-mail:
Roman A. Mikhaylov, Junior Researcher of the Laboratory of Population Ecology of the Institute of Ecology of the Volga River Basin of RAS (445003, Russia, Samara Region, Togliatti, Komzina Street, 10); e-mail:
Alexander I. Fayzulin, PhD, Head of the Laboratory of population ecology, Institute of Ecology of the Volga River Basin of RAS (445003, Russia, Samara Region, Togliatti, Komzina Street, 10); e-mail:

Reference to article

Askenderov A.D., Mazanaeva L.F., Mikhaylov R.A., Fayzulin A.I. 2018. Spawning water bodies and their role in conservation of rare amphibian species in the foothills of the Republic of Dagestan (Russia). Nature Conservation Research 3(Suppl.1): 83–97.

Section Research articles

Environmental conditions in spawning waters are determined by a variety of abiotic and biotic factors. They are the most significant and therefore limiting in the selection of breeding sites and spawning grounds for amphibians. For conservation of the various amphibian populations it is necessary to establish an ecological optimum of specific species. The study has been conducted in a wide range of environmental conditions typical for the mountainous regions of the Caucasus. We studied 358 water bodies in the foothills of Dagestan. There are eight species of amphibians spawning here. Bufotes variabilis and Rana macrocnemis to adverse abiotic and biotic conditions in spawning waters are resistant. Lissotriton lantzi, Triturus karelinii, Pelobates fuscus, and P. syriacus are sensitive to different adverse environmental conditions in spawning waters. Lissotriton lantzi prefers non-flowing ponds, shaded areas, depth of reservoirs 50–100 cm and lots of aquatic vegetation, but Triturus karelinii prefers flowing ponds. Pelobates fuscus prefers unshaded ponds, but Pelobates syriacus prefers deep waters. Hyla arborea and Pelophylax ridibundus prefer flowing, shaded ponds with lots of aquatic vegetation. Bufotes variabilis and Rana macrocnemis are very tolerant to the environment. On the basis of the method of multivariate statistics, the main environmental factors significantly (p = 0.001) affecting the choice of spawning grounds by different types of amphibians: shading, depth, flow and overgrowing were established. It was revealed that the spawning grounds, which are of great importance for the conservation of rare amphibian species in the foothills of Dagestan is limited, this is due to the arid climatic conditions of the region. Recommendations for the conservation of amphibians and the development of protected areas in the foothills of the Republic of Dagestan are given.


abiotic and biotic factors, Amphibia, Caucasus, Red Data Book, spawning area

Artice information

Received: 18.06.2018

The full text of the article

Abdurakhmanov G.M. (Ed.). 2009. Red Data Book of the Republic of Dagestan. Makhachkala: Daguchpedgis. 552 p. [In Russian]
Agakhanyants O.E. 1981. Arid mountains of the USSR. Nature and geographical models of florogenesis. Moscow: Mysl. 270 p. [In Russian]
Ananjeva N.B., Borkin L.J., Darevsky I.S., Orlov N.L. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles. Encyclopedia of the Russian Nature. Moscow: ABF. 576 p. [In Russian]
Askenderov A.D. 2014. Sympatric habitat of amphibians in the eastern foothills of Dagestan. Herald of the Dagestan Scientific Center 52: 52–58. [In Russian]
Askenderov A.D. 2017. Amphibians of Dagestan: distribution, ecology, conservation. PhD Thesis. Makhachkala. 223 p. [In Russian]
Ataev Z.V. 2014. Landscapes of Piedmont Dagestan. Actual problems of the humanities and natural sciences 2(2): 317–320. [In Russian]
Bannikov A.G., Darevsky I.S., Ishchenko V.G., Rustamov A.K., Shcherbak N.N. 1977. The determinant of amphibians and reptilians of the USSR fauna. Moscow: Prosveshchenie. 415 p. [In Russian]
Beebee T.J.C. 1981. Habitats of the British amphibians (II): agricultural lowlands and a general discussion of requirements. Biological Conservation 21(2): 127–139. DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(81)90075-6
Beebee T.J.C. 1983. Habitat selections by amphibians across an agricultural landheathland transect in Britain. Biological Conservation 27(2): 111–124. DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(83)90083-6
Borkin L.J., Litvinchuk S.N. 2014. Zoogeography of the Northern Hemisphere and Amphibia: the Palearctic and the Non-Arctic or Holarctic? Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS 318(4): 433–485. [In Russian]
Braak C.J., Smilauer P. 2002. Canoco Reference Manual and CanoDraw for Windows User's Guide: Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4.5). USA: Microcomputer Power Ithaca. 500 p.
Chilikina L.N., Shiffers E.V. 1962. Map of the vegetation of DASSR with an explanatory text. Moscow; Leningrad: AS USSR. 94 p. [In Russian]
Dzhamirzoev G.S., Bukreev S.A., Ataev Z.V., Abdulaev K.A. 2017. Specially Protected National Areas of Dagestan and Their Value for Saving Landscape Diversity of the Region. Dagestan State Pedagogical University. Journal. Natural and Exact Sciences 11(4): 19–28. [In Russian]
Eldarov M.M. 1984. Physical geography of foothill Dagestan. In: Interuniversity collection of publications. Rostov-on-Don: RSPI. 136 p. [In Russian]
Ermakov O.A., Fayzulin A.I., Askenderov A.D., Ivanov A.Yu. 2016. Molecular-genetic characteristics of marsh frog from the republic of Dagestan (based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data). Proceedings of Samara Scientific Centre of RAS 18(5): 94–97. [In Russian]
Fayzulin A.I. 2010. Acidity analysis (pH) of spawning reservoirs as the ecological niche parameter of anurans of the Middle Volga. Proceedings of Samara Scientific Centre of RAS 1(1): 122–125. [In Russian]
Fominykh A.S. 2008. An experimental study on the effect of alkaline water pH on the dynamics of amphibian larval development. Russian Journal of Ecology 39(2):145–147. DOI: 10.1134/S1067413608020124
Garanin V.I., Shcherbak N.N. 1989. Studies biotopes. Guide to the study of amphibians and reptiles. In: N.N. Shscherbak (Ed.): Guide to the study of amphibians and reptiles. Kiev: AS of Ukrainian SSR Publishing House. P. 110–116. [In Russian]
Griffiths R.A., Sewell D., McCrea R.S. 2010. Dynamics of a declining amphibian metapopulation: survival, dispersal and the impact of climate. Biological Conservation 143(2): 485–491. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.11.017
Gurlev I.A. 1972. Natural zones of Dagestan. Makhachkala: Daguchpedgis. 212 p. [In Russian]
Heyer V.R., Donnelly M.A., McDyermid R.V., Heyek L.-E.S., Foster M.S. 2003. Measurement and monitoring of biological diversity: standard methods for amphibians. Moscow: KMK Scientific Press Ltd. 380 p. [In Russian]
Konstantinov A.S., Vechkanov V.S., Kuznetsov V.A., Ruchin A.B. 2000. Variations in the abiotic environment as a prerequisite for optimal Rana temporaria L. larval development. Doklady Biological Sciences 371: 182–185.
Kuzmin S.L. 1999. Amphibians of the former Soviet Union. Moscow: KMK Scientific Press Ltd. 298 p. [In Russian]
Kuzmin S.L. 2012. Amphibians of the former Soviet Union. 2nd ed., revised. Moscow: KMK Scientific Press Ltd. 370 p. [In Russian]
Kuznetsov V.A., Ruchin A.B. 2001. Effect of ph and illumination oscillations on growth rate and development of Rana ridibunda larvae. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 80(10): 1246–1251. [In Russian]
Lakin G.F. 1990. Biometrics. Moscow: Vysshaya shkola. 352 p. [In Russian]
Litvinchuk S.N. 2011. Molecular-genetic analysis of evolution of North-Palearctic amphibians. In: Issues of Herpetology: Materials of the Fourth Congress of the A.M. Nikolsky Herpetological Society. Saint Petersburg. P. 154–161. [In Russian]
Litvinchuk S.N., Borkin L.J. 2009. Evolution, systematics and distribution of crested newts (Triturus cristatus complex) in Russia and neighboring countries. St. Petersburg: Evropeyski Dom. 592 p. [In Russian]
Marsh D.M., Trenham P.C. 2001. Metapopulation dynamics and amphibian conservation. Conservation Biology 15(1): 40–49. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2001.00129.x
Mazanaeva L.F. 2000. The distribution of Amphibians in Daghestan. In: L.S. Kuzmin, N. Atkinson (Eds.): Advances in Amphibian Research in the Former Soviet Union. Vol. 5. Sophia: Pensoft. P. 141–156.
Mazanaeva L.F., Askenderov A.D. 2007. New data on the distribution of eastern spadefoot, Pelobates syriacus Boettger,1889, and common spadefoot, Pelobates fuscus, Laurenti, 1768 in Dagestan (the North Caucasus). Russian Journal of Herpetology 14: 161–166.
Mazanaeva L.F., Tuniyev B.S. 2011. Zoogeographical analysis of the Dagestan herpetofauna. Current Studies in Herpetology 11(1/2): 55–76. [In Russian]
Nikolaev V.I. 2007. Some ecological features of amphibians in bogs of the upper Volga river basin. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 86(9): 1113–1118. [In Russian]
Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. Animals. Moscow: AST Astrel, 2001. 864 p. [In Russian]
Ruchin A.B. 2003. Effect of monochromatic light on the growth and development of brown frog (Rana temporaria L.) larvae. Biology Bulletin 30(5): 482–484. DOI: 10.1023/A:1025898519474
Ruchin A.B. 2004. Effects of temperature and illumination on growth and development of brown frog larvae (Rana temporaria). Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 83(12): 1463–1467. [In Russian]
Ruchin A.B. 2004. The effect of light oscillations on the growth of fish juveniles and the brown frog (Rana temporaria). Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 79(11): 1331–1336. [In Russian]
Ruchin A.B., Lobachev E.A. Influence of monochromatic light on growth and development of the lake frog, Rana ridibunda. Modern high technologies 8: 13–17. [In Russian]
Semenov D.V., Leontyeva O.A., Pavlinov I.J. 2000. Analysis of the environmental determinants of the amphibian (Vertebrata: Amphibia) distribution on the urbanized territories in Moscow City. Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists. Biological Series 105(2): 3–9.
Smirnov N.A. 2013. To the ecology of Rana dalmatina (Anura, Ranidae) in the territory of Prykarpattya (Ukraine). In: Modern herpetology: problems and ways to solve them. Abstracts of the First International youth conference of herpetologists of Russia and adjacent countries. St. Petersburg: ZIN RAS: 137–140. [In Russian]
Smith A.M., Green D.M. 2005. Dispersal and the metapopulation paradigm in amphibian ecology and conservation: are all amphibian populations metapopulations? Ecography 28(1): 110–128. DOI: 10.1111/j.0906-7590.2005.04042.x
Tarkhnishvili D.N. 1996. The distribution and ecology of the amphibians of Georgia and the Caucasus: a biogeographical analysis. Zeitschrift fur Feldherpetologie 3: 167–196.
Tarkhnishvili D.N., Gokhelashvili R.K. 1999. The Amphibians of the Caucasus. In: D.N. Tarkhnishvili, R.K. Gokhelashvili, D.N. Tarkhnishvili, R.K. Gokhelashvili (Eds.): Advances in Amphibian Research in the Former Soviet Union. Vol. 4. Sofia; Moscow: Pensoft. 240 p.
Tuniyev B.S., Beregovaya S.Yu. 1986. Sympatric amphibians of the yew-boxwood grove. Systematics and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Proceedings of the Zoological Institute AS USSR 157: 136–151. [In Russian]
Vershinin V.L. 1995. Complex of Amphibia Species in Ecosystems of a Big Industrial City. Russian Journal of Ecology 26(4): 273–280. [In Russian]