Spencer's burrowing frog

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Spencer's burrowing frog
Opisthodon spenceri.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Myobatrachidae
Subfamily: Limnodynastinae
Genus: Opisthodon
Species: O. spenceri
Binomial name
Opisthodon spenceri
Parker, 1940
Platyplectrum spenceri map-fr.svg

Limnodynastes spenceri

Spencer's burrowing frog (Opisthodon spenceri, formerly Limnodynastes spenceri) is a species of frog native to western and central Australia.


Spencer's burrowing frog is very similar in appearance to the only other species within the Opisthodon genus, the ornate burrowing frog (Opisthodon ornatus).

Spencer's burrowing frog is a short, rotund frog with a small head and large eyes. The colour and patterns of the dorsal surface vary greatly. The colour ranges from a dark brown to light grey, with darker blotches. A butterfly shaped, darker patch is often found behind the eyes. The legs and arms are striped or spotted, the tympanum is not visible, and the feet range from partially to fully webbed. The absence of webbing between the toes allows for easier burrowing.

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

Spencer's burrowing frog is a fossorial frog native to the deserts of western and central Australia. During dry periods, the frog burrows underground to avoid desiccation. After a period of heavy rain, they emerge from the ground to feed and mate, laying their eggs in temporary pools of water. To prevent the ponds from drying before the tadpoles have morphed, development of the tadpole may only take 60 days.

Spencer's burrowing frog inhabits sandy creeks and rivers. The males will call near a water source, where the call is a rapidly repeated "hoh-hoh-hoh". Eggs are laid in foam, which breaks down in a day to release the eggs into a layer on the top of the water.