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Australian Ground Frogs: Limnodynastidae

Physical Characteristics

Although some scientists still believe that the Australian frogs should be divided up differently, this book follows the most common arrangement with two families: the 48 species of Australian ground frogs in the family Limnodynastidae and the 121 species of Australian toadlets and water frogs in the family Myobatrachidae. This entry deals with the Australian ground frogs.

Many of the Australian ground frogs have earth-tone colors, like brown, greenish brown, tan, and gray, often with spots, blotches, or other patterns that camouflage them against the dirt and plants of the ground. They commonly have lighter colored bellies, sometimes with faint patterns on the throat. Some species, however, are quite brightly colored. The northern banjo frog, which is also known as the scarlet-sided pobblebonk, has bright yellow sides with red and orange splashes of color under its legs, and the crucifix (or Catholic) toad has a warty, yellow back centered with a thick, dark brown, cross.

Some of the Australian ground frogs, like Fletcher's frog and the giant barred frog, have a typical frog shape with long, jumping hind legs and a large head. Others, like Spencer's burrowing frog and the sand frog, have shorter hind limbs and a blunter face more associated with toads. Most of the Australian ground frogs have little or no webbing on their front or rear toes.

The different species come in a variety of sizes. The smallest grow only to 0.9 inches (2.2 centimeters) long from the tip of the snout to the end of the rump, while others can reach as much as 4.3 inches (10.8 centimeters) long. Males and females usually look much alike, but in some species, the males develop very noticeable pads on their front toes and front legs during the breeding season. Called nuptial (NUHP-shul) pads, they help the male grab hold of the female during mating.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAustralian Ground Frogs: Limnodynastidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Tusked Frog (adelotus Brevis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, AUSTRALIAN GROUND FROGS AND PEOPLE