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 wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Predation, Habitat Degradation, Competition and Disease Transmission by Feral Pigs (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005p) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
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 Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): July 2012)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2011.2)
Scientific name Taudactylus rheophilus [1890]
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
http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/tbiol/zoology/herp/mwt/rheo.html

Scientific name: Taudactylus rheophilus

Common name: Tinkling Frog

Other names: Northern Tinker Frog, Mountain Day Frog and Blunt-nosed Torrent Frog.

The Tinkling Frog is a small frog growing to 30 mm. The dorsal surface is smooth or finely granular, and may be grey to brown, reddish or dark brown in colour, with irregular darker markings. A narrow pale greyish streak runs from the eye to the groin, bordered below by a broad black band whose lower edge breaks up into a marbled or reticulate pattern on the flanks. There is a faint, pale transverse bar between the eyes, and a pale glandular patch runs from the angle of the jaws to the base of the forearm. The loreal region is black with some irregular grey markings. The ventral surface is smooth, brown in colour, with conspicuous, irregular, creamy-white markings. The limbs have irregular blackish cross bands, and the digits are barred with dark brown and creamy grey. The tips of the digits have small but conspicuous discs, the toes are fringed but lack webbing (Cogger 1994; Liem and Hosmer 1973).

The call of the Tinkling Frog has been variously described as a soft metallic tapping sound, 'tink tink tink' repeated four to five times in quick succession (Liem and Hosmer 1973, Ingram 1980), or a gentle rattling sound (McDonald 1992).

The tadpole has not been described.

The Tinkling Frog was restricted to four mountaintops from Thornton Peak to Mt Bellenden Ker, northern Queensland, at altitudes of 940 to 1400 m (Hero et al. 1998; McDonald 1992).

The Tinkling Frog has undergone a sudden range contraction and had apparently disappeared by October 1991 (Richards et al. 1993). After a period of apparent absence, five individuals were heard calling in a small, high altitude tributary of the Mulgrave River, and a further seven individuals were heard calling and one captured in a small, high altitude tributary of the Mitchell River, Mt Carbine (Marshall 1998). Further records of the species from the south-eastern slope of Mt. Bellenden Ker include a single juvenile in February 1998 (Hero et al.1998) and three to five individuals in December 2000 (Freeman 2000) at approximately 1400 m. In 2013, intensive surveys under ideal weather conditions failed to located the species, although the survey report acknowledges that the species is particularly hard to survey and may persist in tiny populations (Hoskins & Puschendorf 2013).

The extent of occurrence for the species was approximately 5000 km² (McDonald 1992).

The entire distribution of this species is protected within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, with 18.2% of known collection sites located within national parks, 72.7% within forestry reserves, and 9.1% on private lands. However, presence within a reserve has not prevented the catastrophic range contraction of this species (NQTFRT 2000).

The Tinkling Frog was formerly known from Daintree, and Wooroonooran National Parks and Lamb Range State Forest (Tyler 1997). The species is currently known at Mt. Lewis State Forest and Bellenden Ker National Park (Freeman 2000; Hero et al. 2002).

The entire distribution of this species is protected within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, with 18.2% of known collection sites located within national parks, 72.7% within forestry reserves, and 9.1% on private lands. However, presence within a reserve has not prevented the catastrophic range contraction of this species (NQTFRT 2000).

The Tinkling Frog was formerly known from Daintree, and Wooroonooran National Parks and Lamb Range State Forest (Tyler 1997). The species is currently known at Mt. Lewis State Forest and Bellenden Ker National Park (Freeman 2000; Hero et al. 2002).

The Tinkling Frog is a montane specialist, endemic to the Wet Tropics Bioregion (Williams & Hero 1998, 2001) occuring along rocky streams in upland rainforest (Liem & Hosmer 1973). It is usually found under rocks and logs beside fast-flowing streams and prefers seepage and trickle areas near streams (McDonald 1992). Individuals recorded in 1996 were found hidden from view in small gaps beneath or between boulders that were at least 1 m in diameter (Marshall 1998). One juvenile on Bellenden Kerr was captured from under a small rock approximately 30 cm in diameter, in the streambed (Hero pers. obs., pers. comm. 2001).

The Tinkling Frog breeds from December to May (judged from the male calling period) (Ingram 1980).

Egg masses and tadpoles of the species have not been identified (Liem & Hosmer 1973; McDonald & Alford 1999), but large eggs (1.8 to 2.4 mm diameter), numbering 35 to 50 have been found in gravid females. Juveniles have been collected in December and May (Liem & Hosmer 1973).

The Tinkling Frog displays a strong association with streams and is found within the stream banks throughout the year (McDonald & Alford 1999).

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

Call surveys should be conducted during the known calling period of the Tinkling Frog, between December and May (Ingram 1980). The Tinkling Frog is active all year round (Richards et al. 1993) and calls day and night but mainly during the day (Ingram 1980). The adults are very cryptic, and mainly nocturnal, though they may be active on overcast days. Males form a chorus, calling from under rocks or roots, and may be partly in water (Ingram 1980, K.R. McDonald pers. obs.).

The cause(s) of the decline of the Tinkling Frog population remains unknown. Richards et al. (1993) found no obvious evidence that drought, floods, habitat destruction or pollution by pesticides, inorganic ions or heavy metals were responsible for the population declines. There has been repeated speculation that UV-B light has caused declines, but there is no evidence to support this and it is now considered unlikely as a hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001).

Current research is examining the possibility that disease, such as a viral infection or Chytrid fungus, may have contributed to the decline of this species (Berger et al. 1999), and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to support this hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001). The effects that having very small isolated populations may have on the recovery of the species remain largely unknown, but may include low genetic variability, increased susceptibility to disease and general demographic instability (Hero et al. 2002).

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).

Feral pigs are a potential cause of riparian habitat damage and adult frog mortality. The activity of feral pigs has been recorded to have increased over the period 1989 to 1992 in an area previously inhabited by the Tinkling Frog. There is very little research, however, into the impact of feral pigs on native frog populations (Richards et al. 1993).

The Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Wet Tropics Biogeographic Region of North-east Queensland Recovery Plan 2000-2004 identifies the following recovery objectives and actions for several frog species, including the Tinkling Frog:

Overall objective

To improve significantly the conservation status and long term survival of each species through protection of existing populations, location of additional populations, or expansion of existing populations into areas previously inhabited.

Specific objectives (2000-2004)

  1. Establish the continued existence of populations of T. acutirostris, T. rheophilus, L. lorica and L. nyakalensis.
  2. Secure the existing populations of all extant species.
  3. Identify and reduce or eliminate the major threatening process(es).
  4. Increase the number of stable populations of all extant species by expansion into their former ranges.
  5. Ensure that frog conservation is incorporated into all appropriate land management decisions by raising the awareness of the declining frog problem within all levels of government and the general community.

Recovery actions

The following actions are aimed at recovery of threatened frogs in the Wet Tropics biogeographic region.

  1. Assess and monitor populations.
  2. Investigate disease as a threatening factor.
  3. Translocate and reintroduce species on an adaptive management basis.
  4. Clarify the needs of the species.
  5. Inform and involve the public in the recovery of species.
  6. Ensure frog needs are considered in relevant land management decisions.

Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Wet Tropics Biogeographic Region of North-east Queensland Recovery Plan 2000-2004 has been developed to guide recovery actions and objectives (NQTFRT 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
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77. (Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford, 1993) [Journal].
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 wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals 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. (Hero, J-M., H.B. Hines, E. Meyer, C. Morrison & C. Streatfeild, 2002) [Proceedings].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].

Berger, L., R. Speare & A. Hyatt (1999). Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 23-33. [Online]. Canberra: Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/frogs.html.

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

Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2006o). Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid.html.

Freeman, A. (2000). Records of Taudactylus rheophilus on Mount Bellenden Ker. Frog Res., Monitoring & Mgt Group, QPWS.

Hero, J-M. (2001). Personal Communication.

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.

Hoskin C & R Puschendorf (2013). Project 3.3 - Targeted surveys for missing and critically endangered rainforest frogs in ecotonal areas, and assessment of whether populations are recovering from disease. June 2013 Milestone Report. National Environmnetal Research Program (NERP) Tropical Ecosystems Hub.

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.

Marshall, C.J. (1998). The reappearance of Taudactylus (Anura: Myobatrachidae) in north Queensland streams. Pacific Conservation Biology. 4:39-41.

McDonald, K. & R. Alford (1999). A review of declining frogs in northern Queensland. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 14-22. Canberra: Environment Australia.

McDonald, K.R. (1992). Distribution patterns and conservation status of north Queensland rainforest frogs. Conservation Technical Report 1. Brisbane: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.

Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT) (2001). Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004. [Online]. QPWS. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/rainforest-frogs/index.html.

Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford (1993). Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77.

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.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (1998). Rainforest frogs of the Australian Wet Tropics: guild classification and the ecological similarity of declining species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 265:597-602.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (2001). Multiple Determinants of Australian Tropical Frog Biodiversity. Biological Conservation. 98:1-10.

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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 rheophilus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:58:13 +1000.