Northern Gastric-brooding Frog
Also known as the Eungella Gastric-brooding Frog
Believed to be Extinct
The Northern Gastric-brooding Frog was a moderately large, squat frog, pale brown in colour with dark brown blotches on the body and limbs. The species was similar to the Southern Gastric-brooding Frog, Rheobatrachus silus, but was larger (55 mm for males, 80 mm for females). The ventral surface was smooth, white or brown in colour, with bright yellow-orange colouration on the lower abdomen and undersides of the limbs. The skin was granular above. Males developed spinulated, unpigmented, nuptial pads on the first finger. The tympanum (ear cavity) was not visible externally. The species had a blunt snout, free fingers and fully webbed toes (Cogger 2000; Mahony et al. 1984).
The Northern Gastric-brooding Frog was discovered in January 1984 (Mahony et al. 1984), and a monitoring program was immediately instituted by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to determine if this species was as susceptible to a population decline such as the one that had led to the disappearance of its relative, the Southern Gastric-brooding Frog (NQTFRT 2001a).
A four-day survey for threatened frogs in Eungella National Park, including the Northern Gastric-brooding Frog, was conducted in 1993. Other frog species were found during the search, but not the Northern Gastric-brooding Frog (McNellie & Hero 1994; Tyler 1997). A poster on the stream-dwelling frogs of the Eungella region was prepared by researchers at James Cook University to assist biologists and the general public with identification of the species (Tyler 1997).
Despite continued efforts to locate the species, the Northern Gastric-brooding Frog has not been recorded within Eungella National Park or any other locations since March 1985 (Hero et al. 2002, 2004; Ingram & McDonald 1993; McDonald & Alford 1999; Richards et al. 1993).
The Northern Gastric-brooding Frog was recorded in pristine rainforest where the only form of human disturbance was a poorly defined walking trail. The species occurred in shallow, rocky, broken-water areas where water flowed quickly in cascades, riffles and trickles. The water in these streams was cool and clear, and individuals hid away beneath or between boulders in the current or in backwaters (Tyler 1989). The species was absent from the pools of water found between riffles (McDonald 1990; McNellie & Hero 1994).
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