Michael J. Tyler
with the assistance of the Editorial Advisory Committee
Wildlife Australia, April 1997
ISBN 0 642 21400 X
Recovery Outline No. 20: Southern Corroboree Frog
2. Scientific Name
3. English Name
Southern Corroboree Frog
4. Intraspecific taxa:
5. Species survival status
P. corroboree is considered Critically Endangered using the criteria applied by IUCN since 1994.
6. Former distribution
Fragmented populations (Osborne and Norman 1991) in sub-alpine and montane areas of Kosciusko National Park.
7. Current distribution
Over the past ten years, P. corroboree has significantly declined in distribution and abundance. It is confined to sub-alpine and montane areas in Kosciusko National Park. The species has disappeared from approximately 68% of sites where it previously occurred (Osborne 1989, Gillespie et al. 1995).
P. corroboree occurs in subalpine and montane habitats between 1300 and 1760m which are subject to snow during winter. The frogs use two distinct habitat types: a breeding habitat, typically pools or seepages within bogs, short wet heath or wet tussock grassland, which is occupied for a few weeks by adults and for a longer period by tadpoles and juveniles; and an adjacent non-breeding habitat of subalpine forest, woodland or heath, used by subadults and adults.
9. Reasons for decline
A combination of factors may have contributed to the recent decline of P. corroboree. Very dry summers from 1979 to 1982, followed by drought in 1983, would have had considerable impact upon species that deposit eggs out of water, for which there is a finite maximum tolerance to dry conditions.
Siltation from tracks pollutes and destroys toadlet breeding sites. Osborne (1991) noted damage to bogs, loss of vegetative cover and soil erosion attributable to past livestock impacts (trampling and grazing).
During the construction of The Snowy Mountains Scheme, suitable habitat was destroyed and further loss took place as a result of changes to drainage.
Ski resort development including construction, clearing, slope grooming, drainage, cable-laying and vehicle use contribute to: increased erosion and siltation; habitat loss, change and fragmentation; and increased nutrient run-off and stream or seepage diversion.
10. Conservation reserves on which species occurs
NSW: Kosciusko National Park.
11. Other public lands on which species occurs
12. Other lands on which species occurs
13. Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
14. Recovery Plan objectives
To downlist P. corroboree from critically endangered to endangered within ten years based on the 1994 IUCN criteria of population size and trends, extent of occurrence and probability of extinction. The immediate objective is to prevent the continuing rapid decline in distribution and abundance.
15. Management actions completed or under way
15.1. Preparation of a management plan by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
15.2. Preparation of a draft recovery plan.
15.3. Monitoring of the species' distribution and population estimates over ten years.
16. Management actions required
Finalise and implement a recovery plan, including:
16.1. Survey, over at least three breeding seasons, known and potential breeding sites, including known extinction sites, to assess the size and geographic distribution of breeding populations.
16.2. Design and implement a rigorous, but minimal, disturbance monitoring program for populations and habitat.
16.3. Compare and analyse differences in the habitat characteristics of successful, declining, and former breeding sites.
16.4. Identify climatic characteristics which may affect breeding and non breeding habitats, including precipitation, and identify any long term trends in climate change (temperature, precipitation, snow depth and duration) which could affect the species.
16.5. Undertake population demographic research which identifies the most sensitive period of the life-history and determine the life-span by aging using skeletal chronology techniques.
16.6. Determine whether P. corroboree and P. pengilleyi tadpoles are sensitive to high levels of ultra-violet B radiation.
16.7. Implement management of habitat and include habitat management prescriptions in relevant plans and operational procedures, with particular emphasis on mitigating impacts of roads, fire and feral pigs.
16.8. Research effective techniques for artificial rearing of tadpoles and captive breeding.
16.9. Involve management staff, community groups and tertiary students in monitoring P. corroboree and its habitat.
16.10. Provide training for management staff and community groups to assist with understanding P. corroboree ecology and monitoring, and ensure compliance with protection of breeding and non-breeding habitats.
17. Organisations responsible for conservation of species
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
18. Other organisations involved
University of Canberra, Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, Perisher Blue Alpine Resort.
19. Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
The draft Recovery Plan estimates that $573,000 is required to implement high priority recovery actions identified in the plan, and immediately address the rapid rate of decline in population numbers and distribution of P. corroboree.
Gillespie, G.R., Osborne, W.S. and McElhinney, N.A. 1995. The conservation status of frogs in the Australian Alps: A review. Report to the Australian Alps National Parks Liaison Committee, Canberra.
Osborne, W.S. 1989. Distribution, relative abundance and conservation status of Corroboree frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree Moore (Anura: Myobatrachidae). Aust. Wildl. Res. 16: 537-547.
Osborne W.S. 1991. The biology and management of the Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) in New South Wales. Species Management Report Number 8, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney.
Osborne, W.S. and Norman, J.A. 1991. Conservation genetics of Corroboree frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree: population subdivision and genetic divergence. Aust. J. Zool. 39: 285-297.
Herpetological authorities consulted:
K. Green, D. Hunter, L.C. Llewellyn, W.S. Osborne.