Rarely seen frog makes local appearance

Thursday 1 December, 2022
A rare local sighting of the Wrinkled Toadlet (Uperoleia rugosa), the December Frog of the Month as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign, was recently recorded.

A rare local sighting of the Wrinkled Toadlet (Uperoleia rugosa), the December Frog of the Month as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign, was recently recorded. 

The Wrinkled Toadlet occupies various habitats, including parts of the Goulburn Broken Catchment’s grey box grassy woodlands which are a focus of the GB CMA Linking Landscapes and Communities Project that works with landowners, communities, and Traditional Owners to improve this critical habitat. This project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Goulburn Broken CMA project officer, Janice Mentiplay-Smith, said the Wrinkled Toadlet was endangered in Victoria and was uncommon in the Goulburn Broken catchment, so the recent local discovery of a Wrinkled Toadlet at the eastern edge of the catchment was a rare occurrence.

“This small, stout frog, with its distinctive orange-red markings on its thighs and groin, is living at the southern edge of its range here in the Goulburn Broken catchment and is more widely distributed throughout NSW and into Queensland,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“It’s a rare resident of the Goulburn Broken catchment and there are very few records of it in Victoria.

“The Wrinkled Toadlet generally lives in flood-prone gullies, gilgais (shallow depressions that form in clay soils) and similar environments, awaiting inundation but there are always exceptions, and this Wrinkled Toadlet (pictured) was found safely ensconced beneath a ceramic roof tile that was placed in a rocky area, as a form of artificial habitat.”

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said the ground beneath the tile would have been cool and damp; a micro-environment irresistible to a variety of insects which are a convenience food feast for the Wrinkled Toadlet.

“Old ceramic roof tiles – I like to call them ‘rep-tiles’ – make fantastic artificial habitat,” she said.

“If you lay a few on the ground close to some form of natural habitat, they act as protective refuges for many types of critters.

“Normally reptiles such as legless lizards, small snakes and skinks will use a rep-tile, however unsurprisingly, they also provide great places for frogs, such as this little Wrinkled Toadlet.

“Rep-tiles are a tried and true method of discovering what grown-dwelling critters live on your property; however as you never know what is beneath them, lift them up with care by tilting the tile back towards you. This way any critter sheltering underneath, and one that you may not wish to have a close encounter with, can escape away from you in the opposite direction.”

Healthy, un-ploughed ground containing tussocky vegetation and an assortment of logs and branches will also appeal to a variety of frogs lizards, insects, and woodland birds that all rely on this habitat for survival.    

During breeding season, the Wrinkled Toadlet relies upon healthy, undisturbed grasslands that are subject to inundation. Single eggs are laid on submerged vegetation. Tadpoles will occupy the bottom of the water body for safety, taking around two months to develop into frogs.

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Wrinkled Toadlet by Chris Tzaros

The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

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