November 10, 2015 Amphibians No Comments

The numbers

Queensland has 124 species of frog, more than any other Australian state.

Graceful treefrog Photo © Ed Meyer

Graceful treefrog
Photo © Ed Meyer










The wet coastal areas between Cooktown and the Queensland/New South Wales border – the area with the most rapidly expanding population in Australia – contain 75% of all Queensland frog species. Development in this area causes frog habitat loss and degradation.

In this coastal region, 48% of Queensland’s frog species live below 100m altitude. They are the species most threatened by habitat loss and degradation.

Currently, 25 Queensland frog species are listed as vulnerable to extinction or endangered, but this list is growing – 6 of these species may already be extinct.

How many more will we lose?

The threats

1. Habitat loss

Frogs need native vegetation but they are losing their habitat through:

Land clearing and urbanisation for housing, industry and associated infrastructure, especially in coastal south-east Queensland.

Intensive agriculture, especially around the coastal lowlands of the Mackay area and the wet tropics;

Clearing for pine plantations and sand mining.

Going, going

These Queensland frog species are listed as     vulnerable (V) or endangered (E):
Australian lacelid Nyctimystes dayi (E)
Bellenden Ker nurseryfrog Cophixalus neglectus (V)
Black Mountain boulder frog Cophixalus saxatilis (V)
Cape Melville boulder frog Cophixalus zweifeli (V)
Cascade treefrog Litoria pearsoniana (V)
Common mistfrog Litoria rheocola (E)
Eungella dayfrog Taudactylus eungellensis (E)
Fleay’s barred frog Mixophyes fleayi (E)
Giant barred frog Mixophyes iteratus (E)
Kroombit tinkerfrog Taudactylus pleione (E)
Little waterfall frog Litoria lorica (E)
Magnificent broodfrog Pseudophryne covacevichae (V)
Melville range treefrog Litoria andiirrmalin (V)
New England treefrog Litoria subglandulosa (V)
Northern tinkerfrog Taudactylus rheophilus (E)
Tusked frog Adelotus brevis (V)
Wallum froglet Crinia tinnula (V)
Wallum rocketfrog Litoria freycineti (V)
Wallum sedgefrog Litoria olongburensis (V)
Waterfall frog Litoria nannotis (E)

Gone – These six Queensland frog species listed as endangered are probably extinct:
Southern dayfrog Taudactylus diurnus
– last seen 1979
Southern gastric brooding frog Rheobatrachus silus
– last seen in the wild in 1981
Northern gastric brooding frog Rheobatrachus vitellinus
– last seen 1985
Mountain mistfrog Litoria nyakalensis
– last seen 1990
Sharp snouted dayfrog Taudactylus acutirostris
– last seen 1996

2. Habitat degradation

Frogs and tadpoles need clean water to breed and grow. Water bodies are becoming less suitable for frogs because:

Pollution, including nutrients, runs off from lawns, gardens and agriculture.

Pesticides, especially in urban areas, are toxic to frogs.

Weeds from agriculture are taking over frog-friendly wet forests and altering water chemistry.

Changes in stream and wetland hydrology makewetlands unsuitable for frog breeding.

Development is disturbing acid sulphate soils, which upsets the water’s pH balance.

3. Global warming

Reduced rainfall and increased temperatures will affect frog species, for example, the Bellenden Ker nurseryfrog only lives on cool mountaintops.

Rising sea levels might affect frogs in coastal areas, for example, the wallum sedgefrog lives only in south-east Queensland’s coastal sandy lowlands.

4. Disease

An introduced fungal disease is killing upland rainforest frogs as well as affecting more common species like the green tree frog.

Other exotic diseases will threaten frogs unless we exclude them from Australia.

5. Exotic fish

Mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki), introduced to control mosquito larvae, eat frogspawn and tadpoles.

Aquarium fish and other exotics are a threat to frogs if released into to the wild.

What you can do

  • Conserve frog habitats along streams, gullies and rivers.
  • Conserve wetlands, especially seasonally flooded areas and ephemeral wetlands – such as melaleuca swamps.
  • Never let soaps, detergents or pesticides flow into stormwater drains or waterways.
  • Create frog-friendly gardens by encouraging naturally occurring trees, shrubs and ground covers.
  • Lobby local and State governments to value and protect native vegetation, particularly creekside and low-lying areas.
  • Lobby local and State governments to control development including managing stormwater runoff and retaining native vegetation.
  • Reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
  • Reduce the spread of disease among amphibian populations by not moving frogs and tadpoles from one place to another.
  • Prevent the spread of exotic and aquarium fish into waterways.

Find out more

Written by Wildlifeqld