The Howard River Toadlet is a diminutive species of burrowing frog (male snout-to-vent length < 21 mm; females < 22 mm) belonging to the Australian ground-frog family, Myobatrachidae (Anstis 2017). Colour varies from grey to grey-brown with a pale undersurface and adults have well-developed parotoid glands that vary from beige to red-brown. Dorsal skin is covered with prominent tubercles that often form a faint, pale yellow to pale red vertebral line, and the groin has shades of red to orange. The head is short and broad with a short snout, and tympanum is not visible. The eyes are relatively large for its size and iris is golden above pupil and silver grey below.
Howard River Toadlet, Davies's Toadlet |
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Uperoleia daviesae
Increased frequency of fire may also alter groundwater and surface hydrological geophysical characteristics of sandsheet heaths (see Giambastiani et al 2018) with adverse effects on frog breeding habitat.
The impacts of sustained increase in fire frequency on U. daviesae or other Uperoleia spp. are unknown.
However; marked adverse impacts of fire events and increased fire frequency on other small terrestrial semi fossorial frog species have been documented elsewhere in Australia (Driscoll and Roberts 1997 Bamford and Roberts 2002 Bower et al. 2006 Lowe et al. 2013 Potvin et al. 2017); with some evidence of habitat specific assemblages inhabiting specific seral stages post fire (Bamford and Roberts 2002).
Therefore it is plausible that sustained increased fire frequency may have adverse impacts on the entire Howard River Toadlet population.