Mountaintop Nursery Frog
Cophixalus monticola (Richards, Dennis, Trenberry & Warren, 1994)

Family: Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs and Toads

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Endangered

Mountaintop nursery frog. Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia.
Adult length: 21 mm

Uplands of the Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia. Specimens previously regarded as Cophixalus monticola from Thornton Peak have since been redescribed as a novel species, C. concinnus (Hoskin, 2004)



Adult: Physically highly variable, easy to confuse with other Cophixalus species without a call recording. Base colour ranges from reddish to yellow-brown, with or without darker mottling on the back. There are two pale areas above the groin, and a band may be present down the length of the back. Belly colour variable from yellow or reddish-brown to white, with a darker throat. The digits are unwebbed and toe discs are slightly expanded.

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


Call: A short trill, described as faster-pulsed than a tapping call but slower than a buzz (Hoskin 2004).


Call recording Jean-Marc Hero


Similar species: Most other Cophixalus are smaller, with a distinct tympanum (indistinct in C. monticola) and longer hind legs. The species' restricted range limits possible confusion with most other species, as does its largely arboreal habit and microhabitat preference.





High-altitude rainforest, where it inhabits understorey dominated by Linospadix palms.


Elevation: Above 1,100 m.





Adults call from the leaves and axils of palms, and occasionally other understorey plants. Adults can be found in these habitats, and wedged between crevices in roots, branches and rocks.


Reproductive behaviour: In common with other Australian microhylids, the mountaintop nursery frog guards clutches of eggs until shortly after hatching.





Breeding biology: This species exhibits terrestrial direct development, but clutch sizes are unverified.





Cophixalus monticols has the second most restricted range of any Australian frog, after C. concinnus. It is listed as being nationally Rare due to its small area of occurrence. This species is highly susceptible to the predicted effects of climate change, which include further range restrictions or extinctions for species confined to high-altitude habitats. Listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to its small extent of occurrence and predicted declines due to global warming.





Hero, J.-M., Hoskin, C. & McDonald, K. 2004. Cophixalus monticola. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 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
Williams, S. E., Bolitho, E. E. and Fox, S. (2003) Climate change in Australian tropical rainforests: An impending environmental catastrophe. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 270: 1887-1892

AmphibiaWeb. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. .

Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland The Queensland Museum 2000

            Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            Biology            Status            References

Cophixalus monticola. Carbine Tableland, Queensland, Australia.