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Australian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae

Eungella Torrent Frog (taudactylus Eungellensis): Species Accounts

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. ∎



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Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAustralian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Australian Toadlets, Water Frogs, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE