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Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Nursery Frog

Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
 BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

Nursery Frog: Sphenophryne robusta

  • Like all known Australian Microhylid frogs, this species has quite an unusual way of breeding.
  • Eggs are  laid outside the water medium, on the moist rainforest floor vegetation.
  • Hence this frog has no free-swimming tadpole stage in its growth cycle, but the eggs actually hatch into tiny froglets.


  • Inhabits rainforest environments.
  • Only to be found over the small area between Tinaroo Dam on the Atherton Tableland and Paluma on the Seaview Range north of Townsville.


  • Twenty-five millimetres in length.

Additional Information:

  • This is the most widespread and common of the Microhylid frogs, a group of small, ground dwelling frogs restricted to the rainforests of northern Australia.
  • The Pealing Chirper was first described in 1912 by D.B. Fry, a renowned Australian zoologist of the time.
  • After a series of changes it gained its current name in 1965, following a major review of the Microhylid frogs by Richard Zweifel.
  • The back can be various shades of dull or reddish brown, with darker flecks.
  • Some individuals also have pale spots and a pale, narrow stripe running along the spine.
  • An irregular black stripe runs from the nostrils, through the eye to the shoulder.
  • The belly, groin and hidden parts of the thighs are white, yellow or orange, mottled with darker markings.
  • All the members of this group look similar, and this species looks identical to another frog occurring on the Tablelands, the Cricket Chirper, Sphenophryne fryi.
  • The best way to tell Microhylid frogs apart is by their call.
  • Male Pealing chirper call while concealed under rocks, logs or leaf litter.
  • The call is a series of short, high pitched chirps arranged in couplets.
  • Try listening to Marc Hero's frog calls of the Wet Tropics tape so you can find out what it sounds like.

    Script courtesy of the Tablelands Frog Club Inc.

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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