Tapping Nursery-frog  |  

Cophixalus aenigma

Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list

Cophixalus aenigma (Tapping Nursery Frog) is a moderately small (snout-to-vent length 16.8– 22.6 mm) frog, belonging to the family Microhylidae. The dorsal pattern and colour of the Tapping nursery frog is highly variable, ranging from even grey, brown or sand, to mottled brown or orange, to dark brown or pale with dark flecking, to grey or dark with a gold ‘cap’ and golden ankles and elbows. Some individuals have a thin pale vertebral stripe while others have a broad dark mid-dorsal area and paler flanks. The ventral surfaces are evenly pale, grey or flushed with orange, especially in the axilla and groin. The last digits of the fingers and toes are pale and the discs are often orange or red. The pupil is bordered by a thin red line and the iris is dark but Cophixalus aenigma (Tapping Nursery Frog) Conservation Advice Page 2 of 9 heavily flecked with grey or lime green in the lower and, particularly, upper sections. The Tapping Nursery Frog can be distinguished from other Cophixalus species by a combination of the following characters: moderate size, eye to naris distance less than distance between the nares, short hind legs (tibia length/snout-to-vent length ratio is 0.36–0.44), and the tip of the first finger is disc-like though not expanded. The male call is a slow to medium-paced tapping, said to be reminiscent of a marble dropping on a tile. There is no evident sexual dimorphism. The eggs are relatively large compared to other frog species and are laid in very moist soil. The tadpole develops inside the egg and when it has completed metamorphosis it hatches from the egg as a fully formed froglet. Clutch sizes average 15 (8-21) and the eggs are laid linked in a ”rosary chain” by a thin, gelatinous cord. Newly hatched froglets average 5.0 mm and are light brown with darker brown patches over the shoulders and lower back.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Cophixalus aenigma

    Threats Threats to the Tapping Nursery Frog include climate change; habitat degradation and introduced species.
    Changes in hydrology and associated effects of climate change (e.g. reduction in food supply) may also alter the susceptibility of frogs to disease; but these impacts are likely to be variable among species and sites (DoEE 2016). 2.0 Habitat loss and degradation 2.1 Clearing; Known potential Feral pigs are responsible for riparian trampling; habitat damage and potentially cause fragmentation; adult frog mortality (Richards et al. 1993). altered hydrology 3.0 Invasive species 3.1 Yellow Crazy Ants Known potential Yellow crazy ants spray formic acid to (Anoplolepis subdue prey; which causes burns and gracilipes) irritates the skin and eyes of animals.
    The IUCN Guidelines (2017) indicate that subpopulations such as these; located at the same altitudes in identical habitat on geographically similar mountains should be interpreted as a single location for the species because they may be affected by the same most serious plausible threat in this case climate change.
    Given that the most significant threat to the species is climate change; which would likely impact the entire area virtually at once; the species can be considered to be contained at one location (IUCN Standards and Petitions Subcommittee 2017).
    A continuing decline in area of occupancy and area; extent and or quality of habitat; and therefore number of mature individuals; may be inferred based on climate change (Shoo 2005 Williams et al. 2003 Williams and Hilbert 2006).