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Pseudophryne corroboree

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA MYOBATRACHIDAE

Scientific Name: Pseudophryne corroboree
Species Authority: Moore, 1953
Common Name(s):
English Corroboree Frog

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ace+3ce; B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v); C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Jean-Marc Hero, Graeme Gillespie, Peter Robertson, Frank Lemckert
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered because of an observed drastic population decline estimated to be more than 80% over the last ten years, and a projected decline of more than 80% over the next ten years, perhaps due to chytridiomycosis; and because its Area Of Occupancy is less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in its Area of Occupancy, in the extent and quality of its habitat, in the number of subpopulations and in the number of mature individuals; and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals and there is an expected continuing decline of at least 25% within three years or one generation.
History:
2002 Critically Endangered
1996 Endangered
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Prior to the detailed survey undertaken by Osborne (1989), there were museum records of P. corroboree from only seven locations, all in the Snowy Mountains of southeastern New South Wales, Australia (Guthega, Smiggin Holes, Happy Jacks Plain, Round Mt., Alpine Hut, Pretty Plain and Tooma Swamp). Osborne (1989) subsequently recorded the species at most of these sites (although was unable to find the species near Guthega and Alpine Hut) in a survey that included 257 potential breeding sites, recording the species at 63 locations. The extent of occurrence of the species was reported to be about 400km² in a relatively narrow band between 1,240 and 1,710m asl (Osborne 1989). Osborne, Hunter and Hollis (1999) surveyed 170 potentially suitable breeding sites across the known historical range of the species and detected P. corroboree still inhabiting 63 sites during the period 1995-1998. However, in this survey only a single individual was found in the southernmost extent of the former range, few extant populations were found along the entire eastern edge of the former distribution and only a single individual was found at low-altitude sites near Tooma Dam in the northern Snowy Mountains. In the central region of the former distribution the species was only located at 21 sites with the numbers at each site being critically low. This represents an extensive collapse of the population in this region.
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size in the wild is now believed to number fewer than 250 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Corroboree Frog is a habitat specialist, restricted to montane and sub-alpine woodlands, heathland and grassland above about 1,000m asl. Breeding sites are associated with shallow pools, fens, seepages, wet grassland, and wet heaths. Non-breeding habitat occurs in forest, woodland and heath adjacent to breeding sites. It breeds in shallow pools or seepages. Osborne (1990b) summarised the main features of their reproductive ecology (after Pengilley 1966, 1971, 1973; W.S. Osborne unpubl.). Field measurements (Pengilley 1973) suggest that the species reaches sexual maturity at three years of age (i.e., one year as an embryo/tadpole and two years as a juvenile/sub-adult), which is consistent with observations of captive-reared individuals (Osborne 1990b). It is unlikely that many adults survive for more than one breeding season (Osborne 1990b). Breeding occurs from January to February (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W.S. Osborne unpubl.) and 16-40 eggs (Pengilley 1973) of ovum diameter 3.1-3.6mm (capsule diameter 6.0-10.0mm W.S. Osborne unpubl.) are deposited terrestrially (Pengilley 1966; W. Osborne unpubl.). Tadpoles develop within the egg capsule and hatching occurs when high ground-water levels after rain cause the nest to become flooded (Osborne 1990b). Hatching occurs at four to six months (W.S. Osborne unpubl.) and the tadpole development period is six to eight months (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W.S. Osborne unpubl.). Metamorphosis occurs between December and early February (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W.S. Osborne unpubl.).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Corroboree Frog is one of a number of Australian alpine amphibian species that have experienced pronounced population declines for unknown reasons (Osborne, Hunter and Hollis 1999). There is no single aspect of the field biology of these species that stands out as a feature in common, and that might help explain the declines (Osborne, Hunter and Hollis 1999). Pseudophryne pengilleyi is still widespread and abundant at lower altitudes (Osborne, Hunter and Hollis 1999). Osborne, Hunter and Hollis (1999) reviewed some of the possible factors contributing to population declines at high altitudes including long-term weather patterns and pathogens such as the chytrid fungus (Berger, Speare and Hyatt 1999). Chytrid fungus has recently been detected in museum specimens of the Corroboree Frog by R. Speare, although the level of virulence in wild populations is unknown (W.S. Osborne pers. comm.). Planting of exotic trees, such as Willows (Salix spp.), has been widespread in the Snowy Mountains (Osborne 1990b). Although no breeding sites are directly threatened by willow invasion, in the longer-term the spread of willows by vegetative growth along seepages and streams might present a problem for the management of some sites (Osborne 1990b). Excavation by feral pigs has also been identified as a potentially threatening process (Osborne 1990b; W.S. Osborne pers. comm.). The bushfires of 2002/2003 destroyed over 90% of the species' habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research is currently being undertaken to examine the potential role of captive husbandry in aiding the recovery of small populations through direct manipulation of recruitment to the terrestrial development stage (Hunter et al. 1999). The range of the species includes Kosciusko National Park. Since 2001, Melbourne Zoo has raised/maintained tadpoles and frogs as part of the national recovery program. After the devastating bushfires of 2002/2003, all eggs were removed from the wild to increase the intensity of the captive-breeding program.

Citation: Jean-Marc Hero, Graeme Gillespie, Peter Robertson, Frank Lemckert 2004. Pseudophryne corroboree. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 August 2014.
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