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Australian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae - Eungella Torrent Frog (taudactylus Eungellensis): Species Accounts

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Physical characteristics: Also known as the Eungella day frog, the Eungella torrent frog is a light brown or gray frog with dark brown markings on its head, back, and legs. The markings on its head include one wide blotch that stretches between its two large eyes. The markings on its hind legs may look like bands. Its body is rather long and thin, and it also has slender front and hind legs. The toes on each of its four feet widen out at the end into pads, and the bones inside the tips of the toes are T-shaped. The hind legs are much longer that the front pair. Its throat and belly are creamy white with a touch of yellow on the thighs and lower belly. Some have smooth backs, but others have scattered, small bumps. Males and females look similar, but the males are usually a bit smaller. Males grow to 1 to 1.1 inches (2.5 to 2.8 centimeters) long from the tip of the snout to the end of the rump, while females normally reach 1.1 to 1.4 inches (2.8 to 3.6 centimeters) in length.

This was a common species until 1985, when scientists began noticing that the torrent frogs were quickly disappearing. In the late 1980s, they feared the frogs might be extinct, but the frogs turned up again in 1992. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: Eungella torrent frogs live in a small mountainous area of mid-eastern Queensland, Australia.


Habitat: The frogs spend their days in small or large, swift mountain streams located at 490 to 3,280 feet (150 to 1,000 meters) above sea level or in the thick plants of the surrounding rainforest.


Diet: Scientists are unsure, but they think Eungella torrent frogs eat different types of arthropods.


Behavior and reproduction: Eungella torrent frogs may be active day and night, often sitting on or under rocks along the river or near waterfalls where they can feel the splash of the crashing water. They often bob their heads or wave their hind legs, apparently a way to communicate. The males may call year-round, although they tend to do more calling and mating from January to May, which is the summer and fall in Australia. The call is a soft rattle. The females lay 30 to 50 eggs at a time, and these hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles, which have suction cups around their mouths, usually move about at the bottom of the stream until they change into froglets in November, December, and January.


Eungella torrent frogs and people: Very few people have seen this rare frog.

Conservation status: According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), this species is Critically Endangered, which means that it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. This was a common species until 1985, when scientists began noticing that the torrent frogs were quickly disappearing. In the late 1980s, they feared the frogs might be extinct, but the frogs turned up again in 1992. They now live in nine spots inside Eungella National Park, and their numbers seem to be climbing very slowly. Scientists do not know what caused the frogs to decline in the 1980s and are watching this species closely. ∎


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Anstis, M. Tadpoles of South-eastern Australia: A Guide with Keys. Sydney: Reed New Holland, 2002.

Barker, John, Gordon C. Grigg, and Michael J. Tyler. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty, 1995.

Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Canberra, Australia: Environment Australia, 1999.

Cogger, H. G. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. 6th edition. Sydney: Reed New Holland, 2001.

Cogger, Harold G., and Richard G. Zweifel. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998.

Cogger, H. G., E. E. Cameron, and H. M. Cogger. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 1, Amphibia and Reptilia. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1983.

Cronin, Leonard. Key Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney: Envirobooks, 2001.

Ehmann, H., and G. Swan. "Reproduction and Development in the Marsupial Frog Assa darlingtoni (Leptodactylidae: Anura)." In Biology of Australasian Frogs and Reptiles, edited by G. Grigg, R. Shine, and H. Ehmann. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty and Sons, 1985.

Halliday, Tim, and Kraig Adler, eds. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians (Smithsonian Handbooks). New York: Facts on File, 1991.

Littlejohn, M. J., M. Davies, J. D. Roberts, and G. F. Watson. "Family Myobatrachidae." In Fauna of Australia. Vol. 2A, Amphibia and Reptilia, edited by C. J. Glasby, G. J. B. Ross, and P. Beesley. Canberra, Australia: AGPS, 1993.

Miller, Sara Swan. Frogs and Toads: The Leggy Leapers. New York: Franklin Watts, 2000.

Roberts, J. D. "The Biology of Arenophryne rotunda (Anura: Myobatrachidae): A Burrowing Frog from Shark Bay, Western Australia."

In Research in Shark Bay, Report of the France-Australe Bicentennary Expedition Committee, edited by P. F. Berry, S. D. Bradshaw, and B. R. Wilson. Perth, Australia: West Australian Museum, 1990.

Robinson, Martyn. Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia. Sydney: Reed New Holland, 1993.

Swan, Gerry. Green Guide to Frogs of Australia. Sydney: New Holland, 2001.

Tyler, Michael J. Australian Frogs: A Natural History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.

Tyler, M. J., ed. The Gastric Brooding Frog. London and Canberra: Croom Helm, 1983.


Periodicals:

Sunquist, Fiona. "Really Weird, Really Wild!" National Geographic World (February 1999): 3.


Web sites:

"Corroboree Frog." Kidcyber. http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/frog_corrob.htm (accessed on March 1, 2005).

"Frogs — Amphibia." Wildlife of Sydney. http://faunanet.gov.au/wos/group.cfm?Group_ID=36 (accessed on February 24, 2005).

"Frogs of Australia." Amphibian Research Centre. http://frogs.org.au/frogs/index.html (accessed on February 24, 2005).

"The Frogs of NSW Wetlands - Other Frogs." NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation. http://www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au/care/wetlands/facts/paa/frogs/other_frogs.html (accessed on February 24, 2005).

"Information on Protecting Australian Frogs." ASX Frog Focus. http://www.asxfrogfocus.com/ (accessed on March 1, 2005).

Jamal, Rina Abdul. "Marsupial (Pouched) Frog." AnimalFact.com. http://www.animalfact.com/article1020.htm (accessed on March 2, 2005).

"Useful Links and Frog Resources." NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Useful+links+and+frog+resources (accessed on February 24, 2005).

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