Corroboree Frog What is a Corroboree Frog?

Photo: Corroboree frog

The corroboree frog, with its striking yellow and black longitudinal markings, is one of the most visually striking frogs in the world. There are only about 50 left in the wild.

Scientific name: Pseudophryne corroboree

Corroboree Frog Description

There are two species of corroboree frogs. These are; the Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree), which is critically endangered, and the Northern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) which is classified as endangered. The key difference between the two is their home ranges, colour patterns, and skin biochemistry.

The corroboree frog has a body length of 2.5 – 3 cm with prominent black and yellow markings on top of its body and a marbled black, white and yellow belly. Males and females a similar in appearance, but the male is slightly larger than the female. This frog gets about by walking rather than hopping like most frogs.

Corroboree Frog Poison

A unique characteristic of this frog is its ability to produce its own highly toxic alkaloid (pseudo-phrynamine)poison itself, rather than extracting it from the food, such as poisonous insects, as is the case in all other frog species. This poison is secret through its skin and is a deterrence against predation and skin infections. This poison is potentially lethal to mammals if ingested.

Corroboree Frog Diet

The adult corroboree frog eats ants, beetles, mites, and insect larvae. Tadpoles feed on algae and organic material found in their pools.

Photo: Corroboree frog habitat

Corroboree Frog Habitat & Distribution

The corroboree frog lives at altitudes above 1300 metres in the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales.
During the summer breeding season, adults stay close to pools and seepages in sphagnum bogs and wet tussock grasslands. At the end of the breeding season, adults return to the surrounding heath and snowgum woodlands.
These frogs are mostly inactive during the winter, remaining under logs, dense groundcover, or litter on the woodland floor.

Corroboree Frog Reproduction & Life Cycle

Corroboree frogs breed in summer. Males build moist terrestrial nest chambers near shallow pools and seepages in wet grassland or heaths and attract females by calling out to them. Each male attracts several females sequentially and may construct a new nest when an existing one fills up with eggs. The female lays up to 40 eggs which the male fertilises by depositing sperm directly onto the eggs.

The eggs develop to an advanced stage, and then development stops and they enter ‘diapause’ where they remain in suspended animation until the autumn or winter rains flood their nest and stimulate them to hatch. Once hatched, the dark-coloured tadpoles swim into the flooded pools adjacent to their nest and live as free-swimming and feeding tadpoles.

Corroboree frogs spend a year as embryos and tadpoles and two years as juveniles and young adults. They reach sexual maturity at four years of age. They live for about nine years.

Corroboree Frog Threats and Predators

Photo: Feral horse (Brumby) damaging pools

There may be as few as 50 adult southern corroboree frogs left in the wild. The primary causes of their decline are the chytridiomycosis fungus and climate change resulting in warmer temperatures affecting their breeding pools and habitat. Feral horses and pig also damage the habitats and breeding sites of these frog, and may also carry and spread the chytridiomycosis fungus between breeding grounds.

Endangered Australian Animals