Western spotted frog

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Western spotted frog
Heleioporus albopunctatus (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Myobatrachidae
Genus: Heleioporus
Species: H. albopunctatus
Binomial name
Heleioporus albopunctatus
Gray, 1841

The western spotted frog (Heleioporus albopunctatus) is a species of frog in the Myobatrachidae family. It is endemic to Western Australia. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, temperate shrubland, intermittent rivers, freshwater marshes, rocky areas, granite outcrops, arable land, pastureland, open excavations, and canals and ditches. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Heleioporus albopunctatus has terrestrial egg deposition. Males excavate burrows up to 1 m deep in sandy substrates surrounding ephemeral waterbodies, and commence calling in autumn (March/April). Amplexus (mating) occurs in the burrow and females deposit a clutch of eggs embedded in foam, in a chamber at the base of the burrow. Eggs develop to mid-stage tadpoles within the eggs, but final development is dependent on winter rains filling the waterbody and flooding burrows. Tadpoles then hatch and complete development in the pond.

Some clutches of eggs have been found to be infested by the larvae of a dipteran fly Aphiura breviceps and females of this fly may reside in the burrows of this frog where they are presumed to feed on the outer capsules of the eggs.[2] In one study, around 7% of burrows were found to have eggs infested with maggots from this phorid fly and the mean egg clutch size was 391, and on average, only 2.8% of clutches were found to experience some form of egg mortality.[3]


Genetic studies have implied that there is good dispersal across the range of this species, however high levels of inbreeding were detected between some populations in the central wheatbelt region of WA, indicating that habitat fragmentation and salinity may be restricting gene flow.[4]


  1. ^ Dale Roberts, Jean-Marc Hero (2004) Heleioporus albopunctatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  2. ^ Davis, R.A. & Disney, R.H.L.D. (2002). "Natural History and description of a scuttle fly (Diptera: Phoridae) predating the eggs of frogs (Anura: Myobatrachidae) in Western Australia". Australian Journal of Entomology. 42: 18–21. doi:10.1046/j.1440-6055.2003.00322.x. 
  3. ^ Davis, R.A. & Roberts, J.D. (2005). "Embryonic survival and egg number in small and large populations of the frog Heleioporus albopunctatus in Western Australia". Journal of Herpetology. 39 (1): 133–138. doi:10.1670/0022-1511(2005)039[0133:ESAENI]2.0.CO;2. 
  4. ^ Davis, R.A. & Roberts, J.D. (2005). "The effects of habitat fragmentation on the population genetic structure of the Western Spotted Frog, Heleioporus albopunctatus (Anura: Myobatrachidae) in south-western Australia". Australian Journal of Zoology. 53 (3): 167–175. doi:10.1071/ZO04021. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lee, A. K. 1967. Studies in Australian amphibia II: Taxonomy, ecology and evolution of the genus Heleioporus Gray (Anura:Leptodactylidae). Australian Journal of Zoology. 15:367–439.