AMPHIBIAWEB
Pseudophryne corroboree
Corroboree frog
family: Myobatrachidae
subfamily: Limnodynastinae
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

 

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Description
A very distinctive yellow frog with lustrous black stripes running longitudinally on the back and continuing on the limbs and flanks. This is especially characteristic in the southern color morph, as the northern form deviates slightly in having rather narrow yellow to greenish stripes (Barker et al. 1995). Ventral surface is smooth and patterned black and white/yellow, or occasionally pale blue. Above, the skin is slightly granular and marked with low warts (Cogger 1996). Male body length ranges from 22 to 28 mm, while females are generally larger, with a size range of 24 to 30 mm. There is a tendency for mean body size of both males and females to increase with altitude (Pengilley 1973).

The calls of P. corroboree, are very similar to P. bibroni and P. dendyi, although in general the pulse number is shorter and the call duration is longer (Pengilley 1971). The call is best characterized as an upward inflected 'ark' (Barker et al. 1995).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Australia

 

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Found in the Australian Alps of New South Wales near the border of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), distributed throughout Kosciusko National Park and the Brindabella Range. Their habitat extends throughout the high alpine country and its extensive sphagnum bogs, typically including a herbaceous layer of snow grass (Poa caespitosa), a woodland (generally Eucalyptus), and a wet heath or bog with sphagnum moss (Pengilley 1973). Below treeline, the frogs can be found under stones or fallen logs, or in vegetation, and above treeline in the grassy marshland. In the breeding season, males take residence in burrows found in the sphagnum bogs, which flood during winter rains, and non-breeding season habitat consists primarily of woodland and heath.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The breeding season is relatively short because it depends on the alpine climate, usually running between January and March. They are terrestrial breeders, depositing eggs (10 to 38) in deep burrows in the local substrate, usually in spaghnum moss, grass or sedges, that tend to become inundated seasonally (Pengilley 1973). Males arrive as early as 4 to 8 weeks before breeding commences. Males typically construct the burrow, or utilize old ones, and this serves as a calling site during the breeding season. Males are also known to stay with the eggs, up to 2 to 4 weeks after egg laying. Larval period ranges from 180 to 210 days, and it tends to take 3 years for Corroboree frogs to reach sexual maturity.

The Corroboree frog is a sit and wait predator which feeds primarily in leaf litter and around fallen logs. Their prey is predominately small and slow moving items, consisting mainly of ants and termites. There is extensive food niche overlap between P. corroboree, P. dendyi, and P. bibroni (Pengilley 1971).

Trends and Threats
Due to their restricted geographic range and climate-sensitive life history, it may not be surprising that the Corroboree frog is threatened with decline. While conducting a study during the drought year of 1965, Pengilley's (1973) research highlighted the sensitivity of P. corroboree breeding to climatic conditions, particularly the importance of temperature in reproductive activity and the presence of water in breeding habitats.

Although the conservation status of the Corroboree frog is relatively secure because of its location in the Kosciusko National Park, the population size and trends demonstrate its fragile status. This is especially evident in the southern population, which was restricted to only ten breeding sites and steadily declining during the four-year study conducted by Osborne (1989). Even though separated from the northern population by only 10 km, inter-population dispersal seems unlikely due to the unsuitable breeding environment between them (Osborne 1989). Furthermore, the southern form seems at risk because of its low levels of heterozygosity (Osborne and Norman 1991).

Comments
Due to the morphological distinction between the southern and northern forms, the Corroboree frog is sometimes split into P. corroboree and P. pengilleyi, the former corresponding to the southern form. Osborne and Norman (1991) conducted an allozyme survey on seven polymorphic enzymes, and their results clustered P. corroboree into two distinct genetic groups corresponding to the northern and southern populations. However, based on hybridization experiments and the lack of fixed genetic differences, they maintained that the two geographic populations are conspecific, proposing instead that two subspecies be recognized. A later study by Osborne et al. (1996), reevaluated several morphological characters and the advertisement calls of the two populations, and proposed the recognition of the northern form as a separate species (P. pengilleyi).

Featured in Amazing Amphibians on 23 September 2013

References

Barker, J., Grigg, G. C., and Tyler, M. J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons, New South Wales.

Cogger, H. G. (1996). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books Australia, Port Melbourne.

Osborne, W. S. (1989). ''Distribution, relative abundance and conservation status of Corroboree Frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree Moore (Anura: Myobatrachidae).'' Australian Wildlife Research, 16, 537-547.

Osborne, W. S., Zentelis, R. A., and Lau, M. (1996). ''Geographical variation in Corroboree Frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree Moore (Anura: Myobatrachidae): A reappraisal supports recognition of P. pengilleyi Wells and Wellington.'' Australian Journal of Zoology, 44, 569-587.

Osborne, W. S., and Norman, J. A. (1991). ''Conservation genetics of Corroboree Frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree Moore (Anura: Myobatrachidae): Population subdivision and genetic divergence.'' Australian Journal of Zoology, 39, 285-297.

Pengilley, R. (1973). ''Breeding biology of some species of Pseudophryne (Anura: Leptodactylidae) of the Southern Highlands, New South Wales.'' Australian Zoologist, 18(1), 15-30.

Pengilley, R. K. (1971). ''Calling and associated behaviour of some species of Pseudophryne (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Journal of Zoology, London, 163, 73-92.

Pengilley, R. K. (1971). ''The food of some Australian anurans (Amphibia).'' Journal of Zoology, London, 163, 93-103.



Written by J.-M. Hero; W. Osborne; L. Shoo; M. Stoneham, S. Schoville (m.hero AT mailbox.gu.edu.au), Griffith University
First submitted 1999-09-02
Edited by Sean Schoville, Meredith J. Mahoney, J.-M. Hero; updated by Ann T. Chang (2013-09-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2013 Pseudophryne corroboree: Corroboree frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/3585> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 18, 2017.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Oct 2017.

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