Michael J. Tyler
with the assistance of the Editorial Advisory Committee
Wildlife Australia, April 1997
ISBN 0 642 21400 X
Recovery Outline No. 17: Fleay's Frog
2. Scientific Name
3. English Name
Fleay's Frog, Fleay's Barred Frog, Fleay's Barred River Frog
4. Intraspecific taxa:
5. Species survival status
Endangered. Surveys in recent years found evidence of definite declines (Corben 1991, Ingram and McDonald 1993). The species was known as a distinct taxon in 1975 but was only described as recently as 1987.
6. Former distribution
Montane rainforest above 620m extending from the Conondale Range in south east Queensland to Tooloom Scrub in NSW (28°40'S, 152°30'E) (Covacevich and McDonald 1993).
7. Current distribution
The known distribution of M. fleayi is restricted to a number of disjunct rainforest blocks within its former distribution. Targeted searches in NSW in recent years have recorded only a handful of adults and no tadpoles and no reproduction was observed. 1996 surveys, however, revealed the species in Lamington National Park and Main Range National Park (Cunningham's Gap), while none were recorded in northern NSW (M. Mahony pers. comm.). After apparently disappearing from the Conondale and Border Ranges of Queensland (K.R. McDonald pers. comm.) in the early 1990s, it has been found there in the last 12-18 months (I. Gynther pers. comm.).
Upland rainforest in leaf litter and at watercourses.
9. Reasons for decline
10. Conservation reserves on which species occurs
NSW: Border Ranges and Nightcap National Parks; Qld: Lamington and Main Range National Parks.
11. Other public lands on which species occurs
Qld: Goomburra State Forest.
12. Other lands on which species occurs
13. Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
No. There is minimal information on the ecological requirements of the species.
14. Recovery Plan objectives
14.1. To determine the factors limiting the distribution and abundance of the species and the cause of decline.
14.2. To make recommendations for habitat management designed to ensure the survival of the species and populations of the species.
14.3. To obtain sufficient biological and ecological information to monitor conservation status and to enable formulation of appropriate management strategies.
14.4. To maintain populations in all areas of forest where they currently occur.
15. Management actions completed or under way
A 3 year research program on the genus Mixophyes, including M. fleayi, has recently been completed by the University of Newcastle (M. Mahony). This research, funded by the Endangered Species Program of Environment Australia and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, consisted of the following actions:
15.1. Field survey to determine distribution and abundance.
15.2. Review of distribution using complete literature search and museum specimens.
15.3. Vegetation and water quality analysis of known sites to be used to model its distribution.
15.4. Ecological studies of selected populations, particularly to investigate reproductive success and recruitment.
15.5. Laboratory studies of tadpole growth and development to assist understanding of environmental requirements of larval stages.
15.6. Studies of genetic variation within and between populations.
15.7. On the basis of the above research a draft recovery plan is being prepared for this species, in conjunction with M. iteratus and M. balbus, as part of a recovery program for the threatened frogs of Qld and northern NSW (Coordinator: K.R. McDonald, Qld Department of Environment).
15.8. A draft Species Management Profile has been prepared by the Qld Department of Natural Resources to provide forestry field staff with information about the species and advise on any current management requirements.
15.9. State Forests of NSW are targeting this species in their northern NSW monitoring program. Species profiles and draft species management prescriptions have been jointly prepared by State Forests of NSW and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for protection of this species within production forest.
16. Management actions required
16.1. Population monitoring.
16.2. Ecological research including specific habitat requirements, movement patterns, predation, population dynamics, diet, reproductive biology and larval ecology.
16.3. Research into possible causes of decline (disease, ultra-violet radiation, pollutants).
16.4. Investigation of captive breeding potential.
16.5. Training for forest land managers to ensure mitigation of activities carried out in the habitat of the species.
17. Organisations responsible for conservation of species
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Qld Department of Environment.
18. Other organisations involved
Qld Department of Natural Resources, University of Newcastle (M. Mahony), State Forests of NSW.
19. Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
A recovery plan is currently in preparation for M. balbus, M. fleayi and M. iteratus as part of the recovery program for threatened frogs of Qld and northern NSW. Actions which may be addressed in the plan include monitoring, ecological research, research into causes of decline, captive breeding and habitat management. It is estimated that the cost of implementation would be $80K per annum over 5 years (for 3 species).
Total (average cost per species) $133K
Corben, C.J. 1991. Comments on frog decline in south east Queensland. In Report of a workshop on declining frog populations in Queensland. Unpublished report, Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.
Covacevich, J.A. and McDonald, K.R. 1993. Distribution and conservation of frogs and reptiles of Queensland rainforests. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 34(1): 189-199.
Ingram, G.J. and McDonald, K.R. 1993. An update on the decline of Queensland's frogs. pp 297-303 in Herpetology in Australia. A diverse discipline. Eds D. Lunney and D. Ayers, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.
Herpetological authorities consulted
C.J. Corben, H. Ehmann, M.J. Mahony, K.R. McDonald, W.S. Osborne, A.W. White.