In spite of its minute size, the ferreret (Alytes muletensis) caused one of the greatest sensations ever in natural research. Until the year 1977 nobody even knew something like the ferreret had ever existed.
It all began with the discovery of the remains of fossilized bones in a cave in the Tramuntana mountains in Mallorca. These remains were of an amphibian which inhabited the island thousands of years before the arrival of the first humans. Together with other remains found in other sites, researchers were able to describe a new species of fossil. But what they didn’t know was that this species still existed, and the inhabitants of the Serra de Tramuntana were familiar with it.
Years later, scientists discovered tadpoles and adult specimens of this same species.
Without a doubt, this was one of the most important discoveries of its kind in Europe of the last 25 years. So interesting is the ferreret that not long ago, the famous British writer and presenter Sir David Attenborough travelled to Mallorca in order to shoot some footage of this toad for a BBC documentary on amphibians of the world.
Ferreret population in Mallorca in 2009 reached a record high, with nearly 40,000 larvae recounted.