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Corroboree frog

Australia

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Pseudophryne corroboree

Endangered

  • Death from the disease chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus
  • Habitat disruption and damage caused by wildlife animals and human activities
  • Unsuitability of breeding grounds and shading ponds due to proliferation of exotic plants
  • Climate change

The Corroboree Frog belongs to the rarest and most iconic creatures of Australia in such a way that it produces its own poisonous alkaloids instead of acquiring it from its food source. This small ground dwelling amphibian that is endemic to the sub-alpine bogs of the Southern Tablelands secretes the poison from its skin as a shield against predators and microbe-causing diseases. The poisonous alkaloid, named pseudo-phrynamine, is highly lethal to mammals if ingested.

It is characterised by alternating striped colours of black and yellow on its back and belly. The Corroboree Frog, which produces a distinct sound called ‘squelch’, only grows up to 3 cm in length during adulthood and won’t participate in the breeding ritual until it reaches four years of age.

There are several reasons why the critically endangered Corroboree Frog is struggling to increase in numbers. First, its high mortality rate can be attributed to being infected by the fungal disease Chytridiomycosis. Second, its breeding grounds and shading ponds are continuously disturbed or damaged by feral pigs and horses as well as the use of recreational 4WD vehicles. Third, as its habitat sites become choked by exotic plants, it disrupts the breeding cycle and delays its significant developmental events. Fourth, droughts and increased UV radiation brought about by climate change also play a major role for the rapid decline of this frog species population.

Even with Taronga Zoo’s many successes with breeding and releasing these iconic creatures, the Corroboree Frog is still critically endangered.