Baw Baw Frog

Philoria frosti

Click to view a larger image. Click to view a larger image. amphibian amphibian

Baw Baw Frog
Image: Peter Robertson
Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd

Museum specimen featured in the Wild exhibition
Source: Museum Victoria

Type: amphibian

Baw Baw Frog Baw Baw Frog
Image: Peter Robertson
Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd

Victorian Conservation Status

Secure Vulnerable Endangered Extinct  ]

Baw Baw Frogs have suffered a dramatic decline in number and distribution over recent generations. Populations remain in protected areas of the Baw Baw Plateau, but these are fragmented and the habitat is used by humans for skiing and forestry. Increasing temperatures caused by climate change will also disrupt the fragile habitat and therefore this frog’s life cycle. The arrival of a deadly disease caused by the chytrid fungus has also affected this species.

WHAT THEY EAT

carnivore

Baw Baw Frogs are carnivores.

They eat insects, worms and other invertebrates.

HOW BIG THEY ARE

Baw Baw Frog relative size depiction as described below

Size relative to a sparrow.

Length:
42–55 mm

Amazing Baw Baw Frogs

Baw Baw Frogs are unusual among amphibians for their ability to live in an extremely cold, high-altitude habitat. The adults are dark brown with lighter patches around the head. Their skin has many bumps and ridges, including a large paratoid gland that runs from eye to shoulder.

These frogs are probably inactive during the coldest months when the plateau is covered in snow. Baw Baw Frogs breed between September and December. Males attract females by calling from concealed, moist areas on the ground. The harsh, rasping call sounds like ‘aaaaark kruk kruk kruk’ and is most often heard when the weather is warm and humid.

During mating, females lay 50–180 eggs in a sphagnum moss nest, using their feet to beat the eggs into a foamy mass. Males fertilise the eggs externally. After five to eight weeks, the eggs hatch and the tadpoles wriggle free into small pools of water. The pale, unpigmented tadpoles do not feed and are sustained by a large internal yolk mass. The tadpoles grow limbs and lose their tail as they develop, leaving the water once metamorphosis is complete.

Baw Baw Frogs are critically endangered. Fewer than 250 are left in a tiny area of about ten square kilometres. With continuing habitat loss and disease, this species is in serious danger of becoming extinct.

Did You Know?

Baw Baw Frogs

  • have the smallest distribution of any Victorian frog
  • lay eggs in waterlogged moss
  • do not feed when they are tadpoles

WHERE THEY LIVE

Baw Baw Frogs are found only on the Baw Baw Plateau in eastern Victoria. They inhabit alpine heath, grassland, and moist eucalypt forests.

OTHER ANIMALS

Other animals from the Victorian Alps

Bogong MothGang-gang CockatooMountain Pygmy-possum