SPECIES: Cophixalus concinnus — Elegant Frog

CLASSIFICATION: Critically endangered

The Elegant Frog is a tiny frog species that's not faring too well, in fact finding itself on the critically endangered list. They've been labeled as cryptic - perhaps this has been their survival mechanism? They're ever so small and don't call - so how would one know when they're about?

Now found only in tropical rainforest in north-east Qld, the Elegant Frog hides away in leaf litter or under logs in moist soil. Being small can often be a feature that saves you, and this could very well be the case for the Elegant Frog. Despite the decline of rainforest habitat, it's likely that being such a small species could be how they've managed to survive in a restricted area.

Remarkably, this species of frog breeds on land. What's more, the embryo develops directly in the egg and out pops a tiny froglet! The male frog paternally guards his clutch of eggs until they hatch. At this point in time, the restricted geographic range remains their largest threat; the entire population left being within a 7km2 area. Climate change also plays a part, as these frogs need a consistently wet environment to survive. Threats also include development of walking tracks and other tourism activities.

Photo: Steve Williams

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