Corroboree Frog

Corroboree Frog

Taronga's insurance colonies are a lifeline for the Corroboree Frogs, two of Australia’s most critically endangered species.

Scientific name: Pseudophryne corroboree, Pseudophryne pengilleyi
Common name: Southern Corroboree Frog, Northern Corroboree Frog
IUCN status: CR – Critically Endangered

Show your stripes

Corroboree Frogs are Australia’s most iconic amphibian species and amongst the most visually spectacular frogs in the world. They can be readily distinguished by the bold yellow and black longitudinal stripes on its top, sides and legs. Its belly is marbled black, white and yellow. Both the males and females have the same colouration but females are slightly larger than males.

Spot the frog

These frogs are found in marshlands and sclerophyll forests under logs, and subalpine bogs of south-eastern NSW and the ACT. Catching a glimpse of these stunning creatures is a rare and exciting occurrence. They are largely nocturnal but are also occasionally active during the day on cloudy days.

Calling card

From high altitude bogs and swamps, the male Corroboree will call to the female during mating season (January – February). This song that is more like a ‘squelch’ begins the life-cycle of these tiny amphibians.

Home sweet home

Corroboree frogs use a variety of habitat types for breeding including pools and seepages in sphagnum bogs, wet tussock grasslands, fens and wet heath. They also feed and shelter in montane forest, sub-alpine woodland and tall heath near breeding areas. Corroboree Frogs often breed in water bodies that are dry during the breeding season. Outside the breeding season, Corroboree Frogs have been found sheltering in dense litter and under logs and rocks in nearby woodland and tall moist heath. Corroboree Frogs have been found to move over 300 metres into surround woodland after breeding.

Life cycles

Corroboree Frogs have a typical amphibian life-cycle with an aquatic tadpole stage and terrestrial frog stage. 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.

Fighting fungus

Chytrid fungus is a disease which has impacted on frog populations globally, and has been identified as the primary cause of decline in frogs worldwide. The fungus is spread through water or direct contact with other frogs. It attacks their skin and affects their heart. Chytrid fungus does not cause immediate death therefore can spread quickly among frog species and bodies of water.

Other threats to the Corroboree Frog include climate change, with the resulting impacts of droughts, flooding and bushfires. The impact of exotic plants include smothering breeding grounds and shading ponds rendering these spaces unsuitable for frogs. Feral animals like pigs and horses can also create havoc to frog habitats and breeding sites. There is also a possibility of these animals carrying and spreading the chytrid fungus between breeding grounds.

Alpine heroes

As well as being iconic Australian species, Corroboree Frogs are important components of our natural heritage. They contribute to the richness of the alpine ecosystem in which they're found, even as tiny tadpoles, removing the algae from the beautiful alpine ponds, keeping the water crystal clear, which benefits other aquatic plants and animals.

Taronga is committed to amphibian conservation and we are confident that through dedication and collaboration native frog species will continue to play an important role in Australia’s ecosystems for generations to come.

Come and meet us

Both Corroboree Frogs are among Australia’s most endangered frogs. Taronga’s Corroboree Frog headquarters at Taronga Zoo Sydney is where, with expert care, we are breeding these iconic frogs for wild release. 

Taronga is heavily involved in breeding and releasing Corroboree frogs into the wild in a National Recovery Program to help save the species. The Zoo’s breeding program has been so successful that we have released hundreds of frogs and thousands of eggs to increase wild population numbers in Kosciuszko National Park and Brindabella National Park. Saving the Corroboree Frogs will represent a major achievement for the conservation of amphibians globally.