The Painted Frog (Scientific: Discoglossus pictus pictus; Maltese: Iż-Żrinġ) is the only native amphibian in the Maltese Islands, and is found only in these islands and in Sicily.
With a variable colouration and a thick round tongue, it is distributed throughout the islands, namely in valleys, agricultural land and places with an abundance of freshwater. It prefers shallow pools in valleys and water reservoirs, where it rests in the water, leaving its head above the surface. While the young – tadpoles, are both herbivorous and carnivorous, the adults feed on a large variety of invertebrates, younger frogs/tadpoles and geckoes.
The Painted Frog was once common in all localities with some freshwater. However, its distribution became more restricted along the years, mostly prior to the publishing of legislation. This was especially the result of habitat destruction, pollution and capture (mostly by children). The rarity of freshwater habitats and resources across the islands, and the drought period during the dry season, also affect species such as this, which depend on a supply of freshwater.
It is crucial to note that this species is protected by international, regional and national legislation. This implies that, amongst other activities, it is illegal to deliberately disturb, capture or kill, attempt to kill, keep or transport any specimen of this species, without a prior official permit from the Maltese Environment and Planning Authority.