Corroboree Frog

The Corroboree frog is a small, ground dwelling frog, native to Southern Tablelands of Australia. 'Corroboree' is an Indigenous Australian word for a gathering or meeting where traditionally the attendees paint themselves with yellow markings similar to those of this frog. Corroboree frogs have different patterns. The Corroboree frog is found only in a 400 km² patch in the sub alpine regions of Southern New South Wales and Victoria.

The typical diet of a mature Corroboree frog includes; beetles, mites, ants and insect larvae. However, as tadpoles they also tend to eat algae and other small pieces of organic material found in their pools. They are the first vertebrates discovered that are able to produce their own poisonous alkaloids, as opposed to obtaining it via diet as many other frogs do. The alkaloid is secreted from the skin as a defence against predation, and potentially against skin infections by microbes. The unique alkaloid produced has been named pseudo-phrynamine.

Corroborree frogs are quite unusual in their nature. Not only do they not start breeding until four years of age, they also hibernate during winter under whatever shelter they can find. This may be snow gum trees, or bits of bark or fallen leaves. Males stay with the egg nests and may breed with many females over the course of one season.

The Corroberee frog is an endangered species and as with many other Australian frogs, the predominant reason for the Corroboree Frogs' decline is thought to be infection with the chytrid fungus. This fungus is believed to have been accidentally introduced to Australia in the 1970s and destroys the frogs' skin, usually fatally. Corroboree frogs' eggs appear to be immune. Frog populations may eventually be able to acquire immunity, as wild relatively healthy adults have been found with the fungus on their skin.