Taudactylus acutirostris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Myobatrachidae

Scientific Name: Taudactylus acutirostris (Andersson, 1916)
Common Name(s):
English Sharp Snouted Day Frog, Sharpsnout Torrent Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ace; B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Jean-Marc Hero, Keith McDonald, Michael Cunningham, Ross Alford, Richard Retallick
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)
Listed as Critically Endangered because of an observed drastic population decline estimated to be more than 80% over the last 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 Extent of Occurrence, 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; and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 50 mature individuals.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species, an Australian endemic, was widely distributed from Mount Graham to the Big Tableland, north Queensland, at altitudes of 300-1,300m asl (McDonald 1992). The former extent of occurrence of the species was less than 9,000km² (Hero et al. 2002.).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Formerly a conspicuous inhabitant of upland rainforest streams because of its diurnal habits and historical abundance, the species started disappearing in the southern part of its range in 1988 and had disappeared from south of the Daintree River by 1992 (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). In the past the species was considered locally abundant and in 1989, 48 calling males were recorded along a 100-m stream transect (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). When surveys of the same site were undertaken in 1990, only one adult and several tadpoles were located (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). The decline of this species is well documented and, in approximately five years from 1988 to 1993, it disappeared from an area spanning about 2.5 degrees latitude (Ingram 1993). Possible sightings of a single individual in a small tributary of the South Johnstone River in 1996 (Marshall 1998), and in 1997, a gravid female seen near Mount Hartley (Hero et al. 1998), are the only records of the species since 1994 (Hero et al. 2002; Schloegel et al. 2006). It is possible that this species is now extinct.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species was known to be a habitat specialist, endemic to the Wet Tropics Bioregion (Williams and Hero 1998, 2001) occurring along small creeks in rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest (Liem and Hosmer 1973). The species was seen on the rocks during the day near swift-flowing streams or in the rainforest leaf-litter during wet weather (McDonald 1992). Males call during the day, from first light to early evening, near rainforest streams from beneath rocks or leaves (McDonald 1992). Males appear to establish territories, possibly as a response to seemingly low numbers of females (Dennis 1982). Breeding has been observed from late November through to January (Liem and Hosmer 1973). Eggs are laid as a gelatinous clump of about 25-40 eggs (2.2-2.7mm diameter) amongst rocks in the water usually in heavily shaded locations (Liem and Hosmer 1973). Liem and Hosmer (1973) described the tadpole of the species as lotic benthic. Tadpoles generally inhabit debris in pools or slow flowing sections of streams (Liem and Hosmer 1973).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Richards, McDonald and Alford (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 seen in this species. Big Tableland, the area where the species was at its highest density in 1991-1992, has been mined since 1887 and logging ceased in that area in 1963 (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). Rather, research suggests the rapid, catastrophic decline of this species was due to infection with chytridiomycosis (Berger, Speare and Hyatt 1999; Schloegel et al. 2006). The effects that having very small isolated populations might have on the recovery of the species remain largely unknown, but might include low genetic variability, increased susceptibility to disease and general demographic instability (Hero et al. 1998). Feral pigs are a potential cause of riparian habitat damage and adult frog mortality (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). The activity of feral pigs has been recorded to have increased over the period 1989-1992 in an area previously inhabited by this species (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). There is very little research, however, into the impact of feral pigs on native frog populations (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Much of the species' habitat is protected within National Parks. Research and monitoring is in place for the species. There was a captive-rearing programme run by the Melbourne Zoo and the Queensland Department of the Environment, starting in 1996. Tadpoles were raised to metamorphosis and a single frog to adult stage, but all subsequently succumbed to chytridiomycosis. There are no longer any animals in captivity.

Citation: Jean-Marc Hero, Keith McDonald, Michael Cunningham, Ross Alford, Richard Retallick. 2004. Taudactylus acutirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T21529A9298297. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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