Fauna Surveys of the Magnificent Broodfrog in the Cairns region

By August 7, 2018 August 22nd, 2018 Recent News

The magnificent broodfrog (Pseudophryne covacevichae) is a small frog (up to 28 mm in length), which exhibits magnificent colouration – bright yellow patches on its upper forearm, and back and marbling of black and white on its stomach. Even as small tadpoles undertaking the process of metamorphosing into frogs, these distinctive yellow markings may be seen. Despite its striking markings, the species was only described by scientists as a separate species at the museum in 1994, and very little is known of its behaviour, distribution, and ecology. The magnificent broodfrog inhabits seepage areas along small streams in open eucalypt woodlands and is known from only a few populations above 800m altitude near the townships of Ravenshoe, and Herberton in North Queensland. Recently, a small population was also discovered on the Paluma range, extending its distribution 150 km.

During the wet season, frogs use grassy tussocks and leaf litter in these seepage areas to call for a mate and lay their eggs. The short ‘ark’ of the males may be heard on warm, wet nights from October to March. Females lay eggs in leaf litter or into nests made by the males, and males often tend to the eggs during this part of their life cycle. Clutches of these eggs may contain between 6 and 82 small eggs. Larvae complete the next stage of their growth in the water and need to make their way into water to complete the tadpole stage. Scientists have no information on the diet of the magnificent broodfrog, however, it is likely to consume small ground-dwelling insects.

The broodfrog is listed as Endangered on the IUCN red list of endangered species and vulnerable nationally on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Fauna Surveys/Environmental Consulting Services at High Road Wind Farm

Environmental Consultants at 4Elements Consulting have been engaged to assist with the development of the High Road wind farm near Ravenshoe in North Queensland and are undertaking a number of surveys to improve our understanding of where populations of this species occur.

This is done by identifying potential areas the frog may be found in eucalypt woodlands and walking through these areas in the evening playing a recording of their call, this method is called ‘call playback’. Often with calling species (also known as ‘sonorific’ species) when they hear the call often animals will ‘reply’, enabling us to identify their location. This information will contribute to knowledge of its ecology, and elements of its habitat which are important for its conservation. The data will contribute to future management plans for protecting these populations, particularly around development works within the site in the future.

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