Amphibians of Western Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Amphibians of Western Australia are represented by two families of frogs. Of the 78 species found, most within the southwest, 38 are unique to the state. 15 of the 30 genera of Australian frogs occur; from arid regions and coastlines to permanent wetlands.

Frog species in Western Australia have not suffered the major declines of populations and diversity of many parts of the world. No species is recorded as having become extinct, despite over 50% of recent worldwide extinctions being Australian.

Three species are listed as Threatened, two as Vulnerable and Geocrinia alba as Critically Endangered. Threats to the species include the fungal disease Chytridiomycosis, though no infection has yet been recorded, and damage to habitat from altered land use and fire regimes. These processes have caused decline in many populations, however, some have successfully colonized newly created habitats such as dams or suburban gardens. Species such as Litoria moorei (Motorbike frog) and Limnodynastes dorsalis (Pobblebonk) are very common and well known, while others are restricted to particular habitats in their distribution range.

The frogs inhabit a wide range of habitat and many in the Southwest, such as Myobatrachidae sp., occur only in that region. The Cyclorana (Family: Hylidae) are ground dwelling and burrowing species occurring in the North of the state. These are tree frogs closely related in structure and reproductive biology to the other Hylidae genus - Litoria.

Fossil records of Amphibia have been identified in the north west of the state.[1]

Naturalised species[edit]

Currently, the only non-native amphibian naturalised in Western Australia (WA) is Limnodynastes tasmaniensis (Spotted Grass Frog), which was introduced to Kununurra in the 1970s, apparently during the relocation of several hundred transportable homes from Adelaide.[2] However, Bufo marinus (Cane Toad) occurs in the Northern Territory close to Western Australia's border, and is expected to spread into Western Australia within the next five years.[3]


Myobatrachidae contains three sub-families (some taxonomists them as individual families), two of which occur in Western Australia. Two members of Opisthodon are included here under their synonyms in Limnodynastes. The tree frog family, Hylidae, contains a subfamily, Pelodryadinae (Austro-Papuan tree frogs), and two genera occur.

Heleioporus (Gray, 1841)
Limnodynastes (Fitzinger, 1843)
Neobatrachus (Peters, 1863)
Notaden (Günther, 1873)
Opisthodon Steindachner, 1867[citation needed]
Crinia (Tschudi, 1838)
Geocrinia (Blake, 1973)
Metacrinia (Parker, 1940)
Myobatrachus (Schlegel In Gray, 1850)
Pseudophryne (Fitzinger, 1843)
Spicospina (Roberts, et al., 1997)
Uperoleia (Gray, 1841schudi, 1838)

This table is a summary of the species occurring in Western Australia, giving their common name, distribution and conservation status on the IUCN Red List.

Myobatrachidae and Hylidae
Taxa Description Distribution Red List
Genus: Arenophryne One species
Arenophryne rotunda Fossorial frog that uses strong arms to (unusually) burrow forward. Coastal, Kalbarri to Shark Bay LC
Genus: Bufo
Bufo marinus Cane toad Entering WA at 30 km per year LC
Genus: Crinia
Crinia bilingua Bilingual Froglet
Crinia georgiana Quacking Froglet
Crinia glauerti Glauert's Froglet
Crinia insignifera Western Sign-bearing Froglet
Crinia pseudinsignifera False Western Froglet
Crinia subinsignifera Small Western Froglet
Genus:Cyclorana (Family: Hylidae) Water-holding frogs. Ground dwelling and hibernating tree frogs. LC
Cyclorana australis Giant Frog (Gray, 1842) Kimberley
Cyclorana cryptotis Hidden-eared Frog (Parker, 1940) Kimberley region
Cyclorana cultripes Knife-footed Frog (Parker, 1940) Kimberley region
Cyclorana longipes Long-footed Frog (Tyler & Martin, 1977) Kimberley region
Cyclorana maini Main's frog (Tyler & Martin, 1977) Central west Australia. Range: Winning Pool, Lake Disappointment to Morawa and Laverton
Cyclorana platycephala Water-holding frog (Günther, 1873) Wide distribution in the central west.
Cyclorana vagitus Wailing Frog (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981) Kimberley
Genus: Geocrinia formerly Crinia Southwest Australia LC except:
Geocrinia alba White-bellied Frog CR
Geocrinia leai Lea's frog
Geocrinia lutea Walpole’s frog, Nornalup Frog (Main, 1963) NT
Geocrinia rosea, (Harrison, 1927) Karri frog, Roseate frog
Geocrinia vitellina Orange-bellied frog, Yellow-bellied frog VU
Genus: Heleioporus Burrowing frogs. All except H. australiacus are WA endemic. LC
Heleioporus albopunctatus (Gray, 1841) Western Spotted Frog Southwest Australia
Heleioporus barycragus (Lee, 1967) Western Marsh Frog. Southwest Australia
Heleioporus eyrei (Gray, 1845) Moaning Frog (eyrei) Southwest Australia
Heleioporus inornatus (Lee & Main, 1954) Plains Frog.
Heleioporus psammophilus (Lee & Main, 1954) Sand Frog
Genus:Litoria (Family: Hylidae) Genus of tree frog ranging from Australia and New Guinea to Indonesia. LC except:
Litoria adelaidensis Slender Tree Frog Southwest Australia
Litoria bicolor Northern Dwarf Tree Frog Kimberly region
Litoria caerulea Green Tree Frog
Litoria cavernicola Name Cave-dwelling Tree Frog DD
Litoria coplandi Name Copland's Rock Frog
Litoria cyclorhyncha Spotted-thighed Frog
Litoria dahli Dahl's Aquatic Frog
Litoria inermis Floodplain Frog
Litoria meiriana Rockhole Frog
Litoria microbelos Javelin Frog
Litoria moorei Motorbike Frog, Bell Frog.
Litoria nasuta Rocket Frog
Litoria pallida Pale Frog
Litoria rothii Roth's Tree Frog or Northern Laughing Tree Frog North west
Litoria rubella The Desert Tree Frog or Little Red Tree Frog Common to northern half of state.
Litoria splendida Magnificent Tree Frog or Splendid Tree Frog
Litoria tornieri Tornier's Frog
Litoria watjulumensis Wotjulum or Watjulum Frog
Genus: Limnodynastes
Limnodynastes convexiusculus Marbled Marsh Frog
Limnodynastes depressus Flat-headed Frog
Limnodynastes dorsalis Pobblebonk, Western Banjo Frog
Limnodynastes lignarius[citation needed] Carpenter Frog
Limnodynastes ornatus Ornate Burrowing Frog (Synonym: Opisthodon ornatus)
Limnodynastes spenceri Spencer's Burrowing Frog (Synonym: Opisthodon spenceri)
Genus: Metacrinia One species Restricted habitat
Metacrinia nichollsi Nicholl's Toadlet Occurring between Dunsborough and Albany. LC
Genus: Myobatrachus
Myobatrachus gouldi Turtle Frog LC
Genus: Neobatrachus LC
Neobatrachus albipes White-footed Trilling Frog
Neobatrachus aquilonius Northern Burrowing Frog
Neobatrachus centralis Desert Trilling Frog
Neobatrachus fulvus Tawny Trilling Frog
Neobatrachus kunapalari Kunapalari Frog
Neobatrachus pelobatoides Humming Frog
Neobatrachus sutor Shoemaker Frog
Neobatrachus wilsmorei Goldfields Bullfrog
Genus: Notaden
Notaden melanoscaphus Northern Spadefoot Toad
Notaden nichollsi Desert Spadefoot Toad
Notaden weigeli Weigel's Toad DD
Genus: Pseudophryne Toadlets LC
Pseudophryne douglasi Douglas's Toadlet
Pseudophryne guentheri Gunther's Toadlet
Pseudophryne occidentalis Orange-crowned Toadlet
Genus: Spicospina Restricted habitat
Spicospina flammocaerulea Sunset Frog, harlequin Frog, mountain road Frog Walpole VU D2
Genus: Uperoleia Toadlets Restricted habitat LC expect:
Uperoleia aspera Derby Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia borealis Northern Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia crassa Fat Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia glandulosa Glandular Toadlet (Davis, Mahoney and Roberts, 1986)
Uperoleia lithomoda Stonemason Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia marmorata Marbled Toadlet (Gray, 1841) DD
Uperoleia micromeles Tanami Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia minima Small Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia mjobergi Mjoberg's Toadlet (Andersson, 1913)
Uperoleia russelli Russell's Toadlet (Loveridge, 1933)
Uperoleia talpa Mole Toadlet (Davies & Martin, 1981)
Uperoleia trachyderma Blacksoil Toadlet (Tyler, Davies & Martin, 1981)


Fossils of Amphibians have been found in Western Australia.

Genus Scientific Name Common name/s Distribution
Deltasaurus Deltasaurus kimberleyensis Blina shale

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Warren, Anne (1987). "An Ancient Amphibian from Western Australia". In Hand, Suzanne and Michael Archer. The Antipodean Ark. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-15664-6. 
  2. ^ Martin, A. A. and Tyler, M. J. (1978). "The introduction into Western Australia of the frog Limnodynastes tasmaniensis Gunther". Australian Zoologist 19 (3): 321–325. 
  3. ^ "Advice to Western Australians on the humane killing of cane toads (Bufo marinus)". Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  • Burbidge, Andrew A (2004). "9. Amphibians". Threatened animals of Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management. pp. 129–133. ISBN 0-7307-5549-5. However, not all unlisted frogs are doing well - there has been extensive loss of habitat in cleared areas, especially in the Wheatbelt, where most wetlands have either disapppeared or become saline. 
  • "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.". International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  • "The frogs of Western Australia". the Amphibian Research Centre. Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25. There are 77 frogs listed as occurring in Western Australia.