Monday, May 12, 2014

Leaping Lizards! It’s a frog!

The Corroboree Frog is a striking looking frog. It has distinct yellow stripes set against shiny black skin. Bumblebees would be jealous. J The name ‘Corroboree’ comes to us from the Aborigine. It means gathering, or meeting. Traditionally, attendees of the ‘meeting’ would adorn themselves with yellow markings like those of the frog.

We’ll be talking about this critically endangered frog today, but I’ll also be touching on frogs in general. Many scientists believe that frogs are a major environmental indicator. Just what do we mean by that? An environmental indicator is a signal that may announce some change in a bio diverse (bio diverse refers to many living creatures in a particular range) area or community. Animal and plant life in a given area influence each other. When there is a change in the biome, or ecological community, there may be wider effects for other life forms within that community. This is a complex subject, but the important take away is that scientists agree that something as small as a frog can be an indicator, which can provide information about an environment, and the effects a change within a particular environment may have. That impact may have an effect on other life forms near or far from the original biome.

For more information about biomes and environmental indicators I suggest the following web site:

We’ll talk a bit more about the frog as an environmental indicator in a bit, but let’s get back to the star of this week’s post, the Corroboree Frog. Corroboree Frogs are very, very small.  I think the below picture pretty much says it all. Females are larger than males, and they don’t have webbed feet.

The Corroboree Frog lives in southeastern Australia in a forest called the Kosciuszko National Park. They live 4200 feet above sea level, and they are very difficult to see in their natural environment. They like hiding under logs and rocks.

Mount Kosciusko National Park is located in the southeastern portion of New South Wales, between Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

Mount Kosciusko National Park is located in the southeastern portion of New South Wales, between Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

There has been a continual decline in the Corroboree Frog population. To counter the decline, scientists have been harvesting the frogs’ eggs and depositing them back into their natural environment. This program, which is taking place in the Melbourne Zoo, The Healesville Sanctuary and the Taronga Zoo, provides hope that the small population in Kosciusko Park will grow.

Currently, scientists believe that the main cause for the frog’s decline is a fungus called chytrid fungus. There is a particular type of chytrid fungus that has the ability to infect many of the world’s frog populations. The fungus invades the frog’s skin and causes an imbalance in the frog’s electrolytes (chemical elements that conduct electrical signals). Without these electrolytes, the frog’s organs cannot function properly, their nervous and respiratory systems are attacked and the frog dies. 

In the wild, the Corroboree Frog has a very unusual breeding behavior. The male frog builds a nest and then he starts to ‘sing.’ When a lady Corroboree Frog is attracted to the males’ song, she will lay her eggs in the nest he has built. The tadpoles grow within the eggs, but remain there for up to seven months. They will wait for the autumn rains or spring thaw to flood the nests. When the tadpoles emerge from the eggs, they go through a metamorphosis (change of shape or appearance) into an adult frog.   

Most frogs that are brightly colored, like our Corroboree Frog, are poisonous. They produce toxins in their bodies from the insects they eat. The Corroboree Frog is very unusual in that it produces its own toxin.

I once saw a display of various poison dart frogs right here in Connecticut. They are brightly colored as a warning to predators – “Don’t eat me or you’ll die!”  Here are some pictures of very small, but very poisonous frogs.

I wanted to give you one last thing to think about before we go. In researching for this post, I read that although extinction of species is a natural event, the extinction rate for amphibians around the world, including frogs, is extremely high. ‘No group of animals has a higher rate of endangerment than amphibians. Scientists estimate that a third or more of all the roughly 6,300 known species of amphibians are at risk of extinction…’ (

Now that’s something to think about!

I found I cool video about poison dart frogs. I hope you enjoy it. 

For more information about the Corroboree Frog, or frogs in general, visit the following sites:

As usual, my sincere thanks to for information.

Please come back to visit, and share this post with your family and friends.

Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, Where Endangered Animals Heroes Roam the Pages!
Available on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment