Rattling Nursery Frog
Cophixalus hosmeri (Zweifel, 1985)

Family: Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs and Toads

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Vulnerable

Adult length: 15 mm

Uplands of the Carbine Tableland (Mt Lewis), Queensland, Australia. Records of this species from outside this range, including Thornton's Peak, may be misidentifications (Hoskin, 2004).

Rattling nursery frog. Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia
            Range            Habitat            Behaviour            Biology            Status            References
Other common names: Hosmer's frog, peeping nursery frog


Adult: Physically highly variable, easy to confuse with other Cophixalus species without a call recording. Base colour ranges from grey to brown with darker mottling. The side of the head is dark brown, and the upper eyelid iridescent green. There is a pale area just above the groin, most noticeable in darker specimens. The belly is pale or pale-spotted, and the male has a dark throat. The digits are unwebbed and lack toe discs.

Eggs: Large, pale eggs laid in a terrestrial clutch beneath leaf litter.

Call recording Jean-Marc Hero
Close-up of C. hosmeri. Note the colouration of the upper eyelid

Call: A fast, high-pitched tapping, described as "like a marble on a tile" (Queensland Museum 2000).


Similar species: Other Cophixalus species with which it shares its range, and from which it can most reliably be distinguished by its call. Smaller size and the absence of toe discs distinguish this species from the sympatric tapping nursery frog (C. aenigma). The mountaintop nursery frog (C. monticola) is closely associated with palms, which it appears to use as retreat sites, and occurs only above 1,000 m. Smaller size and the lack of webbing between the digits distinguishes this species from other small terrestrial frogs.


A species of Cophixalus, most likely C. hosmeri, alongside Fry's whistling frog.



High-altitude rainforest.

Elevation: 800 - 1,370 m



During the day, frogs rest under logs and rocks; when disturbed they will often remain motionless, relying on their cryptic colouration to evade detection.

Reproductive behaviour: Courtship in this species has never been observed, though is presumed to be similar to that recorded for the ornate nursery frog. In one instance, a male attendant has been found guarding a clutch of hatchlings. In related species, males guarding clutches may call and may attend several clutches simultaneously.



Breeding biology: In common with other members of the genus, C. hosmeri lays small clutches of terrestrial eggs which are guarded by an adult attendant and which undergo direct development. A single clutch has been recorded for this species, which when discovered contained seven hatchlings.



Hosmer's frog is listed as nationally Rare in Australia. Its Red List rating reflects the fact that this species is found in fewer than five locations; as a high-altitude species, it may also be susceptible to the impacts of climate change. However, within its range it may be among the most commonly encountered frog species.



Hero, J-M., McDonald, K., Cunningham, M., Hoskin, C., Alford, R., Retallick, R. 2004. Cophixalus hosmeri. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Hoskin, C. (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

Close-up of Cophixalus hosmeri. Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia.