Australian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae
Hip Pocket Frog (assa Darlingtoni): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Also called a pouched frog or marsupial frog, the hip pocket frog is best known for the pouch above each hind leg of the male. Each of his pouches is large enough to hold several eggs, but unless they are filled, the pockets are difficult to see and only visible as small slits. Hip pocket frogs have a rather wide body, which may be brown, pinkish brown, gray, or red. They commonly have a dark brown stripe that starts behind the eye, carries over the shoulder and onto the side of the frog behind its front leg. Their legs may have dark or faded brown bands, and all four feet end in pad-tipped toes. The underside of the frog is white. Females usually grow to 0.7 to 0.8 inches (18 to 21 centimeters) long, and males are usually about 0.1 inches shorter.
Geographic range: Hip pocket frogs live in mountains along the border of New South Wales and Queensland and in northeastern Australia.
Habitat: Hip pocket frogs make their home in the mountain rainforests that are thick with trees and plants. They usually stay out of view in deep piles of leaves, under rocks, or in other hiding places on the forest floor.
Diet: They eat various arthropods.
Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know little about their behavior outside of breeding and reproduction. The breeding season begins when the males start to make their calls, which are fast, repeated, buzzy sounds. The females follow the calls to the male's hiding spot under a log or in the leaves on the ground. When a female gets closer, the male calls even more. The male climbs onto her back and mates with her as she lays her eggs, which fall onto the damp dirt and rotting leaves. The female stays with her eggs for several days until they are ready to hatch. The male then moves in and covers the hatching eggs with the front part of his body. Tadpoles wiggle out of the eggs, up his sides, and into his hip pouches. A single male can have as many as six tadpoles in each of his two pockets. The tadpoles stay inside. Each has yolk left over from its egg that it can eat and so does not need to find any other food. In 48 to 69 days, the tadpoles change into froglets and crawl out of the male's pockets to live life on their own.
Hip pocket frogs and people: People rarely see this small frog.
Conservation status: The hip pocket frog is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎
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