Creaking Frog
Cophixalus infacetus (Zweifel, 1985)

Family: Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs and Toads

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Creaking frog. Carbine Tableland (Mt Lewis), Queensland, Australia
Adult length: 17 mm
RANGE

Patchily-distributed among the eastern slopes of the Atherton Tableland and the Kirrama Range, Queensland, Australia.

            Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            Biology            Status            References
Other common names: Inelegant frog, creaking nursery frog

DESCRIPTION

Adult: Physically highly variable, easy to confuse with other Cophixalus species without a call recording. Base colour brown with darker markings, typically including a faint 'W' on the upper back. The side of the head is darker. The belly is lightly mottled. The digits are unwebbed and toe discs are slightly expanded.


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

Call: creaking sound reminiscent of a "rusty hinge" (Queensland Museum 2000)

Call recording Jean-Marc Hero

 

Similar species: Other species of Cophixalus, most of which only occur at higher altitudes with the exception of the ornate nursery frog (C. ornatus), At higher elevations, there may be some overlap with Hosmer's frog (C. hosmeri).  C. infacetus can most reliably be distinguished by its distinctive call. In addition, C. ornatus has fully expanded toe discs while C. hosmeri lacks toe discs altogether. Other small Australian ground frogs within this range may be distinguished by more robust bodies or webbing between the digits.

 

 

HABITAT

 

Fully terrestrial in rainforest, exhibiting a preference for rocky substrates against which it can be very difficult to detect.

 

Elevation: 0-900 m

Example of a typical creaking frog calling site. The frog is offset from centre, adjacent to the tip of a frond.

 

 

 

 

 

BEHAVIOUR

 

Reproductive behaviour: Courtship in this species has never been observed, though is presumed to be similar to that recorded for the ornate nursery frog. Males are known to attend clutches, and one instance has been recorded of a single male guarding two clutches simultaneously.

 

 

BIOLOGY

 

Breeding biology: In common with other members of the genus, C. infacetus lays small clutches of terrestrial eggs which are guarded by an adult attendant and which undergo direct development. Four clutches have been recorded for this species, each containing between 6 and 14 eggs.

 

 

STATUS

 

The creaking frog is listed as nationally Rare in Australia due to its restricted distribution. It is uncommon in most areas where it occurs, and apparently confined to areas with suitable rocky substrates. There is no evidence of decline, and populations of this species occur within protected areas of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Alford, R., Cuningham, M., Hoskin, C. and McDonald, K. 2004 Cophixalus infacetus In: IUCN 2008 2008 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

Cophixalus infacetus. Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia. Note the expanded toe discs.