Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001a) [Recovery Plan].
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis (Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006o) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Frogs. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.3 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010h) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
QLD:Eungella dayfrog (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), 2013t) [Database].
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Taudactylus eungellensis [1887]
Family Myobatrachidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Liem and Hosmer,1973
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Taudactylus eungellensis

Common name: Eungella Day Frog

The Eungella Day Frog is a small frog growing 25 to 28 mm (males) or 27.6 to 35.9 mm (females) in length, with a bluntly acuminate snout. The dorsal surface ranges from yellowish tan to dark brown, with irregular dark brown markings. A broad band crosses the head between the eyes, with two other bands anterior to this. A dark band runs from behind the eye to the base of the forearm, and there is an irregular X-shaped marking on the back. There are crossbands on the limbs and digits. The throat and abdomen are cream coloured, and the ventral surfaces of the limbs are cream with or without dark brown spots. The skin is shagreened with tubercles above, the postero-medial portion of the thighs is granular, and the ventral surface is smooth. The fingers and toes have expanded tips, and are broadly fringed but lack webbing. Males have greyish, finely spinulated, rounded nuptial pads resembling a blister on the back of the hand at the base of the second and third fingers. Males do not possess a vocal sac. The tympanum is hidden (Liem and Hosmer 1973).

The call is a gentle rattling sound (McDonald pers. obs.), barely audible over the sound of rushing water (Winter and McDonald 1986).

The tadpole is light to dark brown, orange-brown laterally, with a prominent V-shaped marking on the dorsal surface. The body is oval and the fins narrow, with a rounded tail tip. The spiracle is sinistral (on the left). The vent is dextral (on the right). The oral disc is umbrella shaped and completely surrounded by marginal papillae. Tooth rows are absent, although there are distinct papillar ridges on the lower labium (Liem and Hosmer 1986, Retallick and Hero 1998).

The Eungella Day Frog is restricted to the ranges west of Mackay, mid-eastern Queensland, from Clarke Range in the north to Finch Hatton Gorge and Credition in the south at altitudes between 200 and 1000 m (Covacevich & McDonald 1993; Ingram 1980).

The extent of occurrence for the Eungella Day Frog is less than 500 km² (McDonald 1990).

The Eungella Day Frog was considered common across its range until January 1985 when the first signs of the decline (Winter & McDonald 1986) were observed at lower altitudes (i.e. about 400 m). At higher altitudes the frogs were common until March 1985, but were absent in June of that year. A small population was recorded in the southern region of its distribution in June 1986, but disappeared after that date. Tadpoles were present in the southern areas of the distribution until May 1987 (McDonald 1990).

After a period of apparent absence, an individual was rediscovered in 1992 (Couper 1992) and the species has subsequently been recorded at nine scattered locations within Eungella National Park (Hero et al. 1998; McNellie & Hero 1994; Retallick et al. 1997; Retallick 1998).

Populations of the species were monitored throughout 1994 to 1998 along sections of streams at altitudes between 180 and 980 m (Retallick et al. 1997; Retallick 1998). Population sizes differed noticeably between sites but appeared to be consistent over time. Interestingly, a significant proportion of each population was recaptured with each visit, which suggests that the population turnover is low, and that the population size is also low (Retallick et al. 1997).

The monitored populations are a large population at Rawson Creek, a medium-sized population at Dooloomai Falls, and a small population at Tree Fern Creek. Frogs at other sites were caught too irregularly to provide useful information. Although the numbers of frogs found at these sites are encouraging and appear to be slowly increasing (Retallick et al. 1997), at Dooloomai Falls the current number of frogs remain substantially lower than were recorded before the precipitous population declines in 1985/86 (McDonald pers. comm. in Retallick et al. 1997).

The Eungella Day Frog is known from Eungella National Park, Cathu and Mt Pelion State Forests, State Forest 62 Eungella and Gamma, and on Dalrymple Road Farm adjacent to the National Park and State Forest (Tyler 1997).

The Eungella Day Frog is known from Eungella National Park, Cathu and Mt Pelion State Forests, State Forest 62 Eungella and Gamma, and on Dalrymple Road Farm adjacent to the National Park and State Forest (Tyler 1997).

The Eungella Day Frog occurs along small creeks in rainforest as well as wet sclerophyll forest (Liem & Hosmer 1973). The immediate streamside habitat is dense rainforest with ferns, vines, palms and epiphytes in the understorey (Retallick et al. 1997). The species inhabits exposed steep, rocky sections of stream within splash zones of waterfalls and cascades (McNellie & Hero 1994; Retallick et al. 1997) and may be found under rocks and crevices or on emergent rocks in the stream (Liem & Hosmer 1973; Retallick et al. 1997).

Tadpoles are found in first to third order streams in large and relatively still mid-stream pools, or partially connected stream-side pools. Tadpoles have been observed in the benthic layer among rocks, litter, and detritus (Retallick & Hero 1998).
Rheobatrachus vitellinus, the Eungella Gastric-brooding Frog, formerly co-occurred with the Eungella Day Frog, but it is now considered to be extinct (Hero et al. 1998).

The Eungella Day Frog is a stream dwelling/stream breeding species. The frogs bask on exposed rocks, and when disturbed escape into the water, remaining submerged on the bottom for some time (Couper 1992; Liem & Hosmer 1973). The male has a soft call, but has been observed communicating by visual cues, which includes flicking and waving legs, head bobbing and distinctive hops (Winter & McDonald 1986). Males call during the day throughout most of the year with a peak in activity and calling during autumn and warmer months of the year (Retallick et al. 1997). About 30 to 50 pigmented eggs are laid, though sites of oviposition are unknown (Liem & Hosmer 1973; Retallick & Hero 1998). The Eungella Day Frog has a peak breeding season between January and May, but tadpoles of all sizes and developmental stages may be found throughout the year (Retallick & Hero 1998). Newly hatched tadpoles have been recorded in April, May and December (Retallick et al. 1997). Metamorphosis occurs between November and January. (Retallick & Hero 1998).

Experiments on the tadpoles of the species suggest that the majority of their diet is made up of detritus. The tadpoles of the Eungella Day Frog are unusual in that they do not possess labial tooth rows and this implies that they feed on soft foods growing on the substrates (like algae), rather than shredding and ingesting the substrate itself (Retallick et al. 1997). The diet of the adult Eungella Day Frog remains unknown.

The Eungella Day Frog is active during day and night (Liem & Hosmer 1973; Retallick et al. 1997). The species is a true stream-dwelling frog, and spends its entire life at the stream. Males, females and juveniles are caught consistently in the stream in nearly equal numbers. A significant proportion of each population was recaptured with each visit, and there was very little movement up or downstream, with average movements less than 20 m. Under these conditions, gene flow among populations in different catchments is likely to be minimal (Retallick et al. 1997). However, studies on genetic variation of the Eungella Day Frog populations in Eungella National Park have shown that only one of the populations examined (at Boulder Creek) is genetically semi-isolated from the other five populations in the area (Oke 1996). The possibility of gene flow between this population and the other populations is low due to site fidelity of adult frogs (Retallick et al. 1997), geographic barriers (between stream catchments) and other natural barriers such as the presence of fish. The other populations showed genetic signs of interbreeding (Oke 1996).

The methods that have successfully been used in the past to survey the Eungella Day Frog are visual encounter surveys, call surveys and larval sampling (UC 2003).

Call surveys should be conducted during the known calling period of the Eungella Day Frog, between November and May (Liem & Hosmer 1973; McDonald 1990).

Previous surveyors have expressed doubts as to the effectiveness of conducting call surveys to detect this species. According to QLD EPA (2005), Liem & Hosmer reported hearing Eungella Day Frog calls, but they were almost certainly hearing Taudactylus Liemi (which was not discovered until several years later). Eungella Day Frogs do not call frequently and when they do, the call is so soft as to be only audible up to about 1.5 m away (QLD EPA 2005).

Egg mass surveys may be effective, as this species has clearly visible eggs. The larval period of the Eungella Day Frog is from January to December (Liem & Hosmer 1973; McDonald 1990). Breeding locations for this species are unknown. Tadpoles have been recorded in large and relatively still mid-stream pools. They have also been seen among rocks, litter and detritus (Retallick & Hero 1998).

The cause(s) of the decline in the Eungella Day Frog populations remains unknown. McDonald (1990) found no obvious evidence that seasonal rarity, over-collecting, drought, floods, habitat destruction, heavy parasite loads or stress due to handling and data collection were responsible for the population declines. Sick and dying frogs have occasionally been encountered (Hero et al. 1998, 2002) and it may be that the fungal disease, Chytridiomycosis, has had an impact on the population (Berger et al. 1998). The chytrid fungus has been identified in individuals of the Eungella Day Frog collected in October 1995 (Speare & Berger 2000), and its potential role in the decline of the species is being investigated (NQTFRT 2001).

Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease affecting amphibians worldwide. The disease has been recorded in four regions of Australia, namely the east coast, south-west Western Australia, Adelaide, and more recently Tasmania. This highly virulent fungal pathogen of amphibians is capable at the minimum of causing sporadic deaths in some populations, and 100 per cent mortality in other populations (DEH 2006).

A potential threat could arise from the extraction and/or the impoundment of water from the perennial streams where this species has been located, especially in state forests (NQTFRT 2001). Forest grazing and trampling of streamside vegetation by livestock have been identified as possible threats to the species, but there is no evidence to support this (Dadds 1999). Cane toads Bufo marinus may be able to penetrate natural habitats along roadways and utilise ponds for breeding, but there is no evidence of this occurring (Dadds 1999) nor that this may affect Eungella Day Frogs (Retallick 2001, pers. comm.).

The following recovery objectives have been outlined in the Recovery Plan for the Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Eungella Region of Mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (QLD EPA 2000);

  • Population monitoring and assessment,
  • Disease investigations,
  • Population management, and
  • Public Information, community participation and consultation.

The Recovery Plan for the Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Eungella Region of Mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 outlines the recovery objectives and actions for this species (QLD EPA 2000).

The Department of the Environment and Heritage has developed a threat abatement plan which aims to :

  • Prevent amphibian populations or regions that are currently chytridiomycosis-free from becoming infected by preventing further spread of the amphibian chytrid within Australia,
  • Decrease the impact of infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus on populations that are currently infected.

The Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis can be found at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid/index.html

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Taudactylus eungellensis, Eungella Torrent Frog (Dadds, B., 1999) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Bufo marinus (Cane Toad) Taudactylus eungellensis, Eungella Torrent Frog (Dadds, B., 1999) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001a) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes in hydrology including habitat drainage Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001a) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology including construction of dams/barriers Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001a) [Recovery Plan].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001a) [Recovery Plan].

Berger, L., R. Speare, P. Daszak, D.E. Green, A.A. Cunningham, C.L. Goggin, R. Slocombe, M.A. Ragan, A.D. Hyatt, K.R. McDonald, H.B. Hines, K.R. Lips, G. Marrantelli & H. Parkes (1998). Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rainforest of Australia and Central America. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. 95:9031-9036.

Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia - 6th edition. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Couper, P.J. (1992). Hope for our missing frogs. Wildlife Australia. 29:11-12.

Covacevich, J.A. & K.R. McDonald (1993). Distribution and conservation of frogs and reptiles of Queensland rainforests. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 34:189-199.

Dadds, B. (1999). Taudactylus eungellensis, Eungella Torrent Frog. Qld Dept Natural Resources.

Hero, J-M., H.B. Hines, E. Meyer, C. Morrison & C. Streatfeild (2002). New records of "declining" frogs in Queensland (April 1999). In: R. Nattrass, ed. Frogs in the Community - Proceedings of the Brisbane Conference 13 - 14 February 1999. Qld Museum.

Hero, J-M., H.B. Hines, E. Meyer, C. Morrison, C. Streatfeild & L. Roberts (1998). New records of "declining" frogs in Queensland, Australia. Froglog. 29-Jan:1-4.

Ingram, G. (1980). A new frog of the genus Taudactylus (Myobatrachidae) from mid-eastern Queenlsand with notes on the other species of the genus. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 20:111-119.

Liem, D.S. & W. Hosmer (1973). Frogs of the genus Taudactylus with description of two new species (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 16:435-457.

McDonald, K.R. (1990). Rheobatrachus Liem and Taudactylus Straughan & Lee (Anura: Leptodactylidae) in Eungella National Park, Queensland: distribution and decline. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. 114:187-194.

McNellie, M. & J-M. Hero (1994). Mission amphibian: the search for the missing rainforest frogs of Eungella. Wildlife Australia. 31:22-23.

Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT) (2001a). Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Eungella region of mid-eastern Queensland 2000-2004. [Online]. QPWS. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/eungella-frog/index.html.

Oke, C.S. (1996). Towards Conservation Priorities for the Threatened Stream Dwelling Frog Taudactylus eungellensis Using Mitochondrial DNA (MTDNA) Sequence Data. Hons. Thesis. LaTrobe Uni., Melbourne.

Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (Qld EPA) (2005). Comments on Survey Standards for Australian Frogs, an unpublished report prepared by the Applied Ecology Research Group, University of Canberra.

Retallick, R. (1998). Population Monitoring of Stream Dwelling Frogs at Eungella National Park. Report to EA/QPWS.

Retallick, R.W.R. & J-M. Hero (1998). The tadpoles of Taudactylus eungellensis and T. liemi and a key to the stream-dwelling tadpoles of the Eungella rainforest in east-central Queensland, Australia. Journal of Herpetology. 32:304-309.

Speare, R & L. Berger (2000). Chytridiomycosis in amphibians in Australia. [Online]. Townsville, Queensland: Rainforest CRC & School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University. Available from: http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/phtm/PHTM/frogs/chyspec.htm.

Tyler, M.J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. [Online]. Wildlife Australia. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/frogs/index.html.

University of Canberra (UC) - Applied Ecology Research Group (2003). Survey Standards for Australian Frogs. Canberra, Australia.

Winter, J. & K. McDonald (1986). Eungella, the land of cloud. Australian Natural History. 22:39-43.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Taudactylus eungellensis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:35:04 +1000.