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Australian Ground Frogs: Limnodynastidae

Conservation Status

According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), one species is Critically Endangered, which means that it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, and seven others are Endangered, which means that they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild. In addition, IUCN lists two species as being Vulnerable and facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, one species as Near Threatened and at risk of becoming threatened with extinction in the future, and two species as Data Deficient, which means not enough information is available to make a judgment about the threat of extinction.

The Critically Endangered species is the Baw Baw frog, a dark-brown, warty creature that grows to about 2 inches long. It lives in tunnels in wetlands or under cover alongside streams in a small location on the Baw Baw Plateau, which lies in an area east of Melbourne. Although part of its habitat is inside the Baw Baw National Park, the frog's numbers have dropped from more than 10,000 individuals in 1985 to fewer than 250 adults in 2004. Scientists are unsure exactly what is causing the Baw Baw frogs to disappear, but they think that dangers may come from a warming climate, infection with a type of fungus, pollution, or an increase in ultraviolet radiation. The sun gives off light in different forms, such as the light humans can see and other types they cannot, like ultraviolet, or UV, radiation. UV radiation is especially strong high in the mountains, which is where the Baw Baw frog lives. Through various experiments, scientists have learned that UV radiation causes death in the tadpoles of other mountain-living frogs and think the same thing may be happening to the Paw Paw frogs. Scientists are continuing to study this species to find out why it is vanishing.

The Endangered species are Fleay's barred frog, the giant barred frog, the red and yellow mountain frog, Loveridge's frog, the mountain frog, the sphagnum frog, and one known only by its scientific name of Philoria pughi. They all live in small areas, and often their habitat is being destroyed or changed by such activities as logging, movements of cattle that can trample the frogs' foam nests, and the building of homes, businesses, and roads. At least some Fleay's barred frogs have also died as a result of infection with a fungus. On the bright side, most of these frogs now live inside reserves or other protected areas, which should limit some of the dangers they face.

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