Robust Whistling Frog
Austrochaperina robusta (Fry, 1912)

Family: Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs and Toads

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Adult length: 35 mm
Robust whistling frog. Paluma Range National Park, Queensland, Australia
RANGE

Confined to tropical northern Queensland, Australia. The species' range covers approximately 9,000 m2 from the Atherton Tableland south to the Cardwell and Paluma Ranges.

DESCRIPTION

Variable and hard to distinguish from other Austrochaperina species. The genus is characterised by frogs with a rounded, robust body and no distinct neck. A. robusta typically exhibits cryptic dark brown, reddish-brown or mottled grey body colouration. Ventral colouration is creamish or white, and the belly is lightly speckled or mottled. Toe discs are reduced, and digits are unwebbed.

Similar species: In southern parts of its range, A. robusta can be distinguished from related species by its distribution, being the only member of the genus to occur south of Ingham. More northerly populations overlap with A. pluvialis. This species is unknown above 200 m, and is characterised by a white stripe above the canthus rostralis. The rounded, robust body and lack of webbing on the digits distinguish Austrochaperina species from other small terrestrial frogs.

Call: A three-toned sharp whistle.

Call recording © Jean-Marc Hero

 

HABITAT

Montane rainforest and cloud forest.

Elevation: Above 360 m

 

BEHAVIOUR

During the day, frogs rest under logs and rocks; when disturbed, their reaction is frequently to actively attempt escape.

Reproductive behaviour: During the breeding season, typically following heavy rain, males call from the ground on or below leaf litter. Courtship has never been observed, but adults of indeterminate sex have been recorded guarding terrestrial clutches from predators. Eggs are laid beneath cover objects such as logs. In related species, males guarding clutches may call and may attend several clutches simultaneously.

 

BIOLOGY

Breeding biology: In common with other Australian microhylids, Austrochaperina robusta is presumed to exhibit direct development in terrestrial eggs, with no tadpole stage.

 

STATUS

The speciesí population is presumed to be large and stable, with no immediate threats to its habitat, much of which is protected. However, Australian microhylids may be threatened by climate change if, as predicted, rainforest habitats become less reliably moist. Nationally classified as Rare in Australia. The species is not CITES listed.
 

REFERENCES

Amphibians of the World Online 3.0
Amphibiaweb, University of California
Frogs of Australia
Global Amphibian Assessment
Hoskin, C. J. (2004) Australian microhylid frogs (Cophixalus and Austrochaperina): phylogeny, taxonomy, calls, distributions and breeding biology. Australian Journal of Zoology 52: 237-269
Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland, The Queensland Museum 2000

Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            Biology            Status            References