The Southern Corroboree Frog is distinctive and easily recognised because of its striking dorsal colour pattern consisting of bright yellow longitudinal stripes alternating with black stripes (Cogger 2000). The ventral surface is boldly marked with black and yellow and white blotches. A large flat femoral gland is present on each hind limb, and the inner metatarsal tubercle is low and round. Adults reach a length of between 25–30 mm (Barker et al. 1995). Tadpoles are dark in colour and have a long paddle shaped tail that grows to 30 mm in total length (Anstis 2002).
Southern Corroboree Frog |
Status: Critically Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Listing Advice, Pseudophryne corroboree
Description of Threats Threats to corroboree frogs include disease; fire; climate change; feral animals; weeds; habitat disturbance and degradation.
For example; warmer temperatures and less rainfall due to climate change might modify corroboree frog breeding habitat.
Climate Change Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on corroboree frogs (Osborne and Davis; 1997).
Climate change modelling suggests that higher elevation areas of the Australian Alps will experience warmer temperatures and a decrease in precipitation (both as rainfall and snow) (Hennessey et al.; 2003).
Given the strong tendency for corroboree frogs to breed in highly ephemeral pools (Osborne; 1990 Hunter et al.; 2009b); the most immediate and direct impact of climate change will result from increased rates of pool drying prior to metamorphosis.
Whilst climate change is expected to have an impact on corroboree frogs; it is still uncertain whether the magnitude of such changes will be sufficient to cause the extirpation of this species.
Depending on the rate and magnitude of climate change; it is possible that its effect on the species may be ameliorated to some extent through behavioural or genetic adaptation. 9.
These conditions might also increase the frequency of fire in alpine environments; which in turn will also modify breeding habitat.
Fire Wildfires and prescribed burns have the potential to impact on the frogs by burning vegetation and peat in breeding and non breeding areas (Clark; 1986).
Osborne (1991) considered that autumn fires burning through woodland and heath surrounding breeding sites had the greatest potential influence.
Higher temperatures might also be expected to result in a contraction of the lower altitudinal limit for this species; whereas higher temperatures and less precipitation; combined with an expected higher fire frequency; might result in a change in the hydrological functioning of wetlands and a reduction of suitable breeding habitat (such as sphagnum moss communities becoming wet sedgeland; grassland or heathland) (Scheele; 2010).
Small populations are increasingly vulnerable to extinction as they are more susceptible to the effects of demographic and environmental stochasticity and to catastrophic events such as drought; wildfire and disease that may lead to their extinction (Leigh; 1975 Leigh; 1981 Shaffer; 1981 Gilpin and Soule; 1986 Gilpin; 1987).
Prolonged drought that results in lack of recruitment for several years is likely to have widespread and significant impacts on corroboree frog populations; the effect of which may be compounded by fewer breeding adults due to the amphibian chytrid fungus.