The corroboree (pronounced kəˈrɒbəri) frog is a small, rare frog living in south-eastern Australia. There are two different types of this animals, the northern and the southern corroboree frog. The difference between these two species is their yellow stripes. Northern corroboree frogs have thinner and greener yellow stripes while those of the southern corroboree frog are thicker and more yellow. The word corroboree is an Aboriginal word referring to gathering at which the attendees are traditionally decorated with yellow markings that are somewhat like those of this frog. One thing special about the stripes on these frogs is that each individual has a different pattern, just like the human fingerprint. Occasionally, individuals will have blue patches on their underside, and the reason for this is still unknown. Instead of jumping like most frogs, the corroboree frog walks everywhere it goes. This range map, which depicts New South Wales, Australia, shows the range of both species of corroboree frog. The blue represents the southern corroboree frog and the red represents the northern corroboree frog. To give you an idea of how small their range is, both the red and the blue areas combined are about as big as Rhode Island! Click here to watch a video about these animals and here to see another.
Northern and southern corroboree frogs are both very small, reaching on average one inch (2.5 cm) long. The weight of this animal is not known, although it is probably not much, due to their small size.
Because these animals are so small, whatever they eat must be even smaller. They eat mainly ants and other tiny invertebrates. During the winter, corroboree frogs eat less food, and some individuals don’t eat at all!
Corroboree frogs live in mainly in marsh areas but also in grasslands and woodlands with small pools of water. Normally in the winter the adults live further away from water sources, but breeding grounds are close to the pools or ponds young will need after hatching.
Both the northern and southern corroboree frogs are rare, but the southern corroboree frog is the rarer one. It is considered critically endangered on the IUCN redlist, while the northern corroboree frog is “just” endangered. Earlier this year, the southern corroboree frog’s wild population was estimated at less then fifty. While habitat loss, erosion, and pollution are some of the reasons for such a low population, the real frog killer is Chytrid fungus. This fungus has affected many frog and toad species around the world. Predators are not a big source of population loss for one deadly reason.
Corroboree frogs, like poison dart frogs, have highly poisonous skin. Unlike these other frogs however, the corroboree frog makes its own poison. Poison dart frogs get their poison from what they eat in the wild. Therefore in captivity, they are not poisonous. Both of these poisons are made of alkaloids, but the corroboree frog is the only known vertebrate that produces its own poison, in this case by making its own alkaloids. The fact that these frogs create their own poison is a fairly new discovery, and some sources say they get the alkaloids from their prey.
Mating, eggs, and young
The life cycle of this species is very much unlike any other frog or toad. In the late summer, the female will lay around twenty-six eggs and the female will fertilize them. A single male may fertilize the eggs of up to ten females. The young will then develop into tadpoles but stay inside their protective egg for up to seven months. The nest will eventually be flooded either by autumn rains or by the spring thaw. At this point, the eggs will wash into pools in which the tadpoles hatch and mature into frogs. It is at this point that many corroboree frogs get Chytrid fungus because the water may be contaminated. Chytrid fungus cannot grow on eggs because the eggs do not have keratin, and the fungus needs keratin to survive. Another reason for such a low population is that there are so few eggs laid, and some of the ones that are laid, are eaten either as eggs or tadpoles. Also the young females normally only survive to lay eggs once because males and females can only mate after the age of four. Some sources, however, say that these frogs can live for up to nine years.
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- Animals of the world. Tom Jackson, ISBN: 978-1780191089
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- Corroboree frog – Andrew c
- Corroboree frog range map – Poleta33
- Mystery animal – Michael Allen Smith