These frogs feed mainly on small invertebrates such as ants, beetles, insect larvae and mites. Tadpoles feed on algae and small bits of organic material.
The Southern Corroboree Frog is found only within Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. This species is found at heights of between 1,300 and 1,760 metres above sea level. Habitat critical to the survival of Corroboree Frogs includes both breeding habitat and the surrounding woodland. Corroboree frogs use pools and sphagnum bogs, wet tussock grasslands, fens and wet heath for breeding. Some water bodies dry up outside of breeding season so frogs will shelter in dense litter and under logs and rocks. Northern Corroboree Frogs are known to move over 300 metres into surrounding woodland after breeding.
Corroboree Frogs have a typical amphibian life-cycle with an aquatic tadpole stage and terrestrial frog stage. Adult males move into breeding areas in early to late summer, and call from small chambers (nests) in moss or other soft vegetation and soil at the edges of the breeding pools. The pools are often dry during the breeding season when the eggs are laid. If a female is attracted to a male, she will lay her eggs in his nest. Within the nest, the eggs develop to an advanced stage, before development stops and they enter ‘diapause’, where the embryos remain without developing further, until flooding of the nest following autumn or winter rains stimulates them to hatch.
After hatching, the tadpoles move out of the nest site and into the adjacent pool where they live for the remainder of the larval period as a free swimming and feeding tadpole. Corroboree Frog tadpoles are dark in colour, have a relatively long paddle shaped tail, and grow to 30 mm in total length. The tadpoles continue growing slowly, particularly over winter when the pool may be covered with snow and ice, until metamorphosis in early summer.
The Corroboree Frog is unusual in that this frog walks in a manner far more like a lizard than a frog and cannot hop. These frogs have no known predators due to its toxic skin secretions. Not only does it obtain pumiliotoxins from its diet, it also produces its own poisonous alkaloids, pseudophrynamines. The Corroboree Frog is a secretive creature and is often very hard to see in the wild. Adults become dormant during winter however the tadpoles remain active as the ice forms a layer of insulation that stops the bog freezing solid and they are able to survive with an extremely low body temperature, only a couple of degrees above freezing.