Native Frogs

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There is an estimated 27 species of frogs that live in the Dry Tropic region and a number of these native frogs may easily be confused with cane toads. There are, however, a number of factors that will determine whether you may come across all of these species or only a few. Where you live is perhaps the most influential. If you live in a built up area the number of native frog species that you may confuse with a cane toad is minimal but as you move further away from the city into rural areas the number of native frog species that can be confused with cane toads increases. Many of these native frogs are only seen during the wet season or during their breeding season and perhaps the only time you may come across them is when you are driving on roads on a rainy night.

Native Frog Tadpoles

Some differences between tadpoles of native frogs and tadpoles of cane toads:

    • Eyes of many native tadpoles are at the sides of head or just inside edge of head, whilst those of cane toad tadpoles are a bit more towards the middle of the head.
    • Belly of native tadpoles is most often opaque silver or copper, while that of cane toad is dark bluish-black.
Native frog tadpoles © NQ Dry Tropics

Ornate Burrowing Frog Tadpole

Ornate Burrowing Frog tadpole - an exception
Eyes well in from side of head similar to cane toad but this tadpole has a silvery-copper belly, brown back often with broad patches and can grow larger than cane toad tadpoles (sometimes up to about 4.8cm). Unlike the cane toad tadpole, it is never black above or on the tail.

Ornate Burrowing Frog tadpoles © NQ Dry Tropics Ornate Burrowing Frog tadpoles © NQ Dry Tropics


Marbled Frog Tadpole

Marbled Frog - a very dark native tadpole, but...

    • Grows much larger (to 8cm)
    • Tail much longer than body
    • Eyes almost on side of head
    • Body usually dark brown to black, occasionally lighter brown if in muddy water, or as they begin to change into a frog
    • Fins dark, tail tip narrowly rounded
    • Belly dull silvery-copper.

Marbled Frog tadpoles © NQ Dry Tropics Marbled Frog tadpoles © NQ Dry Tropics

Native Frog Eggs

The most commonly seen eggs of native frogs in ponds and creek pools are white foamy clumps that float on the surface among plants in the water. The white foam floats at the surface of the water and is a mixture of air bubbles and clear jelly, rather like beaten egg-whites.

Native frog eggs © NQ Dry Tropics

These eggs are laid by the Northern Banjo/Northern Bullfrog Frog, Striped and Spotted Marsh Frogs and Marbled Frog.

Other egg masses sometimes seen are non-foamy, oval-shaped clumps in which all the jelly capsules around each egg stick together and float at the surface. The diameter of a clump is usually only from three to five centimetres across.

Native frog eggs © NQ Dry Tropics

These eggs are laid by the Bumpy Rocket Frog, Brown Orb Frog/Northern Spadefoot and Holy Cross Toad/Crucifix Frog.

Eggs of other native frogs are rarely seen because they are very small eggs, laid singly on the bottom or attached to vegetation. Some are in small clusters attached to water plants beneath the surface.

Related Information

Eastern Snapping Frog (Cyclorana novaehollandiae) © NQ Dry Tropics 2015

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