Superb Collared Frog
Litoria (Cyclorana) brevipes (Peters, 1871)

Family: Hylidae - Tree Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Adult length: 45 mm
Superb collard frog. Townsville, Queensland, Australia
RANGE

Eastern Australia from the coast inland to central Queensland and south to northeastern New South Wales. It has been reported from the Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf of Carpentaria, but the reliability of these records has been disputed.

Other common names: Short-footed frog, blotched water-holding frog.

 

DESCRIPTION

Adult: A rotund, blunt-snouted burrowing frog with short, robust limbs. The dorsum is dark brown mottled with shades of lighter brown or yellow, and a pale, narrow mid-dorsal stripe is generally present. A broad, dark stripe runs from the tip of the snout to the base of the forearm, passing through the eye and tympanum. The belly is white, and the backs of the thighs are brown flecked with paler spots. The tympanum is large and distinct. An inner metatarsal tubercle is present and shaped like a spade; there is no outer metatarsal tubercle. Toes are less than one-quarter webbed. The pupil is horizontal, and vomerine teeth are present between the choanae. Maxillary teeth are present. The skin is finely granular in texture, with some warts on the upper surface. Sex can be determined by the texture of the throat, which is granular in males but smooth in females.

Eggs: Eggs are brown, and are laid on the water surface within a clump of clear jelly on the water surface.

Call: A long, sheep-like bleat uttered from the ground around pools.

Superb collared frog. Note the prominent dark stripes.

 

Similar species: Species of the subgenus Cyclorana can be distinguished from other Australian hylid frogs by the absence of toe discs and their fully terrestrial or subterranean lifestyle. Species of Limnodynastes and Notaden can most easily be distinguished in the field by the absence of a visible tympanum in these genera; details of the dentition also differ. Within Cyclorana, Litoria brevipes is distinguished by the combination of small size, the absence of a dorsolateral fold, the lack of extensive webbing between the toes and details of patterning. The similarly-patterned Litoria verrucosa possesses a metatarsal tubercle that is longer than the distance between it and the tip of the innermost toe; in L. brevipes the spade is shorter than this distance.

 

 

HABITAT

 

Dry savannah, woodland and forest; roadside verges often provide important breeding habitat for this species in areas impacted by agricultural development..

 

 

BEHAVIOUR

 

This is a predominantly fossorial species, and is adapted to conserve water while spending most of its adult life dormant in burrows. Animals emerge only following heavy rain, where they congregate around temporary water bodies to breed.

 

 

TAXONOMY

 

The evolutionary relationships of species within Litoria is currently uncertain. Provisionally, species previously assigned to the Australian genera Cyclorana and Nyctimystes have been reassigned to the larger genus (Frost et al, 2006). It is likely, however, that Cyclorana represents a monophyletic group within Litoria, and the genus name is retained here as a subgenus pending its possible resurrection, as suggested by Frost et al (2006) and for the convenience of individuals using field guides or papers that predate this change.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Wildlife of Tropical Queensland, The Queensland Museum 2000

Cogger, H. G. (2000) Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, 6th Edition. Ralph Curtis Publishing: 808 pp

Frost, D.R., Grant, T., Faivovich, J., Bain, R.H., Haas, A., Haddad, C.F.B., de Sá, R.O., Channing, A., Wilkinson, M., Donnellan, S.C., Raxworthy, C.J., Campbell, J.A., Blotto, B.L., Moler, P., Drewes, R.C., Nussbaum, R.A., Lynch, J.D., Green, D.M. and Wheeler, W.C. (2006) The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1-291

Hero, J-M., Clarke, J, Meyer, E. and Retallick, R.. (2008). Litoria brevipes. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Robinson, M. (1993) A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia, Reed New Holland

Litoria brevipes. Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Call recording © Jean-Marc Hero. Used with permission.
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