Pseudophryne pengilleyi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Myobatrachidae

Scientific Name: Pseudophryne pengilleyi Wells & Wellington, 1985
Common Name(s):
English Northern Corroboree 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: Endangered B1ab(ii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Jean-Marc Hero, Graeme Gillespie, Peter Robertson, Frank Lemckert, Murray Littlejohn
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)
Listed as Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is much less than 5,000km2, and its Area of Occupancy is less than 50 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented and there is a continuing decline in its Area of Occupancy, in the number of subpopulations and in the number of mature individuals.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Examination of museum records indicate that this species, an Australian endemic (recorded at the time as the northern form of the Corroboree Frog Pseudophryne corroboree; see Pengilley 1966; Osborne, Zentelis and Lau 1996) was most frequently collected in the Brindabella and Bimberi Ranges near Canberra. Specimens were examined from Snowy Flats, Ginini Flats, Bulls Head, Lees Spring, Coree Flats, California Flats and Hume Sawmill. Osborne (1989) found that the species was still present at most of these sites, but was unable to find frogs in the vicinity of Hume Sawmill at the northern extremity of its range. Osborne (1989) also found the species to be widely distributed and common throughout the Fiery Range and Mount Bogong. This species occurs in two allopatric populations (Osborne 1989): the Fiery Range population occurs from Yarrangobilly to Buccleuch State Forest at 960-1,520m asl (Osborne 1989), while the Brindabella Range population occupies only 60km² from California Flats to Mount Bimberi at 1,090-1,840m asl (Osborne 1989).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Between 1994 and 1998, restricted surveys were undertaken (mainly along vehicle tracks) throughout the known range in the Fiery Range and Mount Bogong. More extensive surveys were conducted in the Brindabella Range and Bimberi Range (Osborne and Hunter unpubl.). The species was still relatively abundant and widespread in the Fiery Range; however, it was not found in the Yarrangobilly-Peppercorn Hill area where it was previously recorded by Pengilley (1966) and Osborne (1989). It was found at breeding sites (often remote from each other) throughout suitable parts of the Brindabella and Bimberi Range, both in the Australian Capital Territory and contiguous areas of New South Wales (Osborne, Hunter and Hollis 1999). The numbers present at breeding sites in the region were considerably lower than was recorded by Osborne (1989 and unpubl.). Long-term monitoring was only undertaken in the Brindabella Range. Only one population, Ginini Flats-a sub-alpine site (1,600m asl) in the Australian Capital Territory was subject to annual monitoring. Numbers present at Ginini Flats declined substantially during the first few years of monitoring and have remained low ever since. Less-regular monitoring was undertaken at Coree Flats (980m asl) in New South Wales. By contrast, the Coree Flats population has supported a larger number of calling males (at least during the years the survey was carried out). However, monitoring at Coree Flats commenced after a major drop in numbers had occurred at other sites. Earlier collecting and observations by Pengilley (1966 and pers. comm.) at this site indicated that the population was very large (perhaps over 500 individuals). The low numbers detected in 1998 are likely to be a direct response to the extreme drought conditions prevailing during the breeding season. The Northern Corroboree Frog has declined at higher altitudes (above 1,400m asl) but remains common at montane altitudes in the Fiery Range (Osborne, Hunter and Hollis 1999). The species is known from Namadgi National Park (Australian Capital Territory), Kosciuszko National Park (New South Wales) and Buccleuch State Forest.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Northern Corroboree Frog is restricted to montane and sub-alpine woodlands, heathland and grassland above about 1,000m asl (Osborne 1990a). It prefers to breed in sphagnum bogs and wet heath in sub-alpine areas and dense patches of herbaceous vegetation in openings or seepages amongst fallen tussocks at lower elevations (W. Osborne pers. comm.). Non-breeding habitat occurs in forest, woodland and heath adjacent to breeding sites (Osborne 1990a). It breeds in bog pools at high altitudes (above 1,400m asl) and in shallow seepage pools in gullies at lower altitudes (1,000-1,400m asl) (Osborne 1990a). Osborne (1990a) summarized the main features of the reproductive ecology of this species (after Pengilley 1966, 1971, 1973; W. 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/larva and two years as a juvenile/sub-adult), which is consistent with observations of captive-reared individuals (Osborne 1990a). It is unlikely that many adults survive for more than one breeding season (Osborne 1990a). Breeding occurs from January to March (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W. Osborne unpubl..) and 16-40 eggs (Pengilley 1973) of ovum diameter 3.1-3.6mm (capsule diameter 6.0-10.0mm, W. Osborne unpubl.) are deposited terrestrially (Pengilley 1966; W. Osborne unpubl.). Larvae develop within the egg capsule and hatching occurs when high ground-water levels after rain cause the nest to become flooded (Osborne 1990a). Hatching occurs at 4-6 months (W. Osborne unpubl.) and the larval development period is 6-8 months (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W. Osborne unpubl.). Metamorphosis occurs between December and early February (Pengilley 1966, 1973; W. Osborne unpubl.).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Northern 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 that may help explain the declines (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 some museum specimens by R. Speare (W. Osborne pers. comm.). Management of Buccleuch State Forest in the northern Fiery Range and exotic conifer plantations, which cover a considerable extent of the northern part of the region, is also a concern (Osborne 1990a). Osborne (1990b) noted that invasive exotic plant species occurred at a number of breeding sites in the Fiery Range and northern Brindabella Range. The two most prominent species in terms of their potential to cover large areas of breeding habitat were Blackberry Rubus fruticosus and Monkey Musk Mimulus moschatus. Blackberry has the potential to completely smother and shade breeding habitat rendering it unsuitable for frogs. In contrast, Monkey Musk, a short, broad-leafed herb, forms dense patches in seepages where it often occurs with a similar-sized native species, Gratiola latifolia. Breeding was observed in areas with Monkey Musk and it is not known if it has any detrimental affect. Excavation by feral pigs and trampling by horses have also been identified as potentially threatening processes for the species (Osborne 1990a; W. Osborne pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed as endangered in Australian legislation. Much of the species' habitat is protected within reserves and state forests. Research and monitoring protocols are in place for this species.

Citation: Jean-Marc Hero, Graeme Gillespie, Peter Robertson, Frank Lemckert, Murray Littlejohn. 2004. Pseudophryne pengilleyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T41050A10394348. . Downloaded on 22 January 2018.
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