Friday, January 4, 2013

Corroboree Frog

Pseudophryne corroboree
There are two species of Corroboree Frogs, the Northern and the Southern. Both live only in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. Both also happen to be Critically Endangered.

Corroboree Frogs are named for an indigenous Australian word that refers to a gathering where the attendees paint their faces yellow, much like the yellow blotches on these frogs.

The claim to fame of this genus is that they were the very first vertebrates discovered that produce their own toxins. most other species derive their toxicity from the foods that they eat. Not so with these frogs-- they secrete their very own poisonous alkaloid that help defend again predators. In fact, they are so toxic that they have few, if any, natural predators at all.

Habitat loss and feral animals have caused the Corroboree Frog species to teeter dangerously close to extinction, the Southern one especially. They appear in only a tiny fragment of their former range, and rejuvenating their numbers has proven difficult because they lay only about 30 eggs each year (small for a frog), they remain tadpoles for two years, and they don't even start to breed until the age of four. At one point it was estimated that there were only 64 left. Captive breeding and egg protection research is underway to help bring these rare frogs back.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : New South Wales, Australia
Size : Length up to 3cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Anura
Family : Myobatrachidae -- Genus : Pseudophryne

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