Amphibians were depicted on the stamps by Liechtenstein Post

June 25th, 2014

Amphibians are protected by law in Liechtenstein. Nevertheless, a sharp decline in the numbers of all species has been noted over recent decades. Three indigenous animals now appear as illustrations on self-adhesive commemorative stamps designed by the graphic artist Silvia Ruppen.

Seriously endangered is the Yellow-Bellied Toad (value: CHF 0.85), a small clay-coloured anuran with a yellow and black spotted underside and heart-shaped pupils. It lives in places which are exposed to the sun near temporary small bodies of water in areas of sparse vegetation that offer good hiding places. Such habitats can be found in Liechtenstein, sometimes in vernal ponds, quarries, landfills and floodplains of the Rhine in valleys.

Measuring 12 to 18 centimetres, the Great Crested Newt (value: CHF 2.90) is the largest native species of newt. It is also highly endangered and can be encountered in valley areas, only very occasionally in ponds and small bodies of water with rich underwater vegetation and wooded areas close to water. Characteristic of what one may call the “wedding finery” of the male is the 1-2 cm high jagged crest, which however decreases in size by the time this creature comes to leave the pond.

The Alpine Salamander (value: CHF 3.70) is active mostly during the night and in the early hours of the morning. The black land salamander with a shiny skin can grow to a length of 15 centimetres. Its young are born alive, so it is not dependent on spawning grounds. The alpine salamander is very common in the Liechtenstein alpine regions between 1200 and 2000 metres above sea level. In isolated cases, it can also be found on lower-lying slopes of the Rhine valley.