Corroboree frogs are one of Australia's most iconic amphibian species and are among the most visually spectacular frogs in the world.
They can be easily distinguished by the bold yellow and black longitudinal stripes on the top, sides, and legs. Its belly is mottled in black, white and yellow.
Although other poison frogs They display their colors as a warning to predators that stalk them, the Corroboree frog is not poisonous.
Both males and females have the same coloration, but females are slightly larger than males.
Where is it located?
These frogs are found in marshes and sclerophyllous forests beneath logs and subalpine swamps of southeastern New South Wales and the ACT.
Taking a look at these impressive creatures is rare and exciting. They are largely nocturnal, but are also occasionally active during the day on cloudy days.
A love song
From the bogs and swamps at high altitude, the Corroboree male will call out to the female during the mating season (January - February). This song that looks more like a 'squelch' begins the life cycle of these little amphibians.
Home Sweet Home
Corroboree frogs use a variety of habitat types for breeding, including ponds and seeps in sphagnum bogs, wet scrub grasslands, swamps, and wet heaths.
They also forage and take refuge in montane forests, subalpine forests, and high heaths near breeding areas.
Corroboree frogs often breed in bodies of water that are dry during the breeding season.
Outside of the breeding season, Corroboree frogs have been found sheltering in a dense litter and under logs and rocks in nearby forests and high humid heaths.
Corroboree frogs have been found to move more than 300 meters into the surrounding forest after breeding.
Corroboree frogs have a typical amphibian life cycle with an aquatic tadpole stage and a land frog stage.
The eggs develop to an advanced stage, before development stops and they enter 'diapause', where the embryos remain undeveloped, until flooding of the nest after fall or winter rains encourages them to hatch. After hatching, the tadpoles leave the nest site and make their way to the adjacent pool where they live for the remainder of the larval period as free-swimming and foraging tadpoles.
Corroboree frog tadpoles are dark in color, have a relatively long paddle-shaped tail, and grow up to 30mm in total length. These tadpoles continue to grow slowly, particularly during winter, when the pool may be covered in snow and ice, until metamorphosis in early summer.
Fight against diseases
Chytrid is a disease that has affected frog populations globally and has been identified as the main cause of the decline in frogs worldwide. The fungus is transmitted through water or by direct contact with other frogs. It attacks your skin and affects your heart. Chytrid fungus does not cause immediate death, therefore it can spread rapidly between frog species and bodies of water.
Other threats to the Corroboree frog are the impact of exotic plants suffocating breeding grounds and shade ponds, making these spaces unsuitable for frogs.
Help the frog survive, a moral choice?
Wild animals such as pigs and Australian wild horses called 'brumbies' can also wreak havoc on frog habitats and breeding grounds.
These wild horse populations have spread rapidly in recent decades to the point of numbering in the hundreds of thousands and are considered by many conservationists to be a pest.
The impact of wild horses on the local food chain is evident. Where previously grasslands grew up to 1 meter high, just a few inches remain in the vast plains of the Australian Alps affecting the food source of other species, and the habitat of other species.
To date, plans have been initiated to eradicate thousands of these wild horses by helicopters armed with rifles to annihilate the excess population from a distance. And while the measure has yet to go into effect, the debate continues about morally acceptable and conservation.
This same situation is being debated about wild cats, which have increased in alarming numbers, destroying the populations of reptiles and birds in the wetlands that they use as hunting grounds.
This circumstance is not new for Australia. Decades ago, wild rabbits had to be controlled in order to conserve balance in the food chain.
Another example of human intervention in relation to the explosion of non-native species in their ecosystems is the Lion fish around the world, which affects corals and whose hunting is approved and encouraged by governments around the world to preserve coral chains such as the great barrier reef
There is also the possibility that these animals carry and spread the chytrid fungus between hatcheries.
In addition to being iconic Australian species, Corroboree frogs are important components of our natural heritage.
They contribute to the richness of the alpine ecosystem in which they are found, even as small tadpoles, removing algae from the beautiful alpine ponds, keeping the water crystal clear, which benefits other aquatic plants and animals.
La Taronga Conservation Society, an integral part of Taronga Zoo, is committed to amphibian conservation and we are confident that through dedication and collaboration, native frog species will continue to play an important role in Australia's ecosystems for generations to come.