Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Unique frogs in NSW rainforests feared locally extinct after black summer bushfires

Unique frogs in NSW rainforests feared locally extinct after black summer bushfires


Unique frogs in NSW rainforests feared locally extinct after black summer bushfires

Several frog species are feared to be locally extinct in parts of New South Wales after the black summer bushfires, a survey of amphibian populations has found.

Scientists conducted a survey of 411 sites in north-east and south-east NSW, monitoring 35 frog species for 18 months after the 2019-2020 bushfire season.

Focusing on nine threatened species, the researchers found that those in rainforest habitats were most significantly affected by the fires - specifically the pouched frog, the giant burrowing frog and Pugh's mountain frog.

The study's first author, Dr Chad Beranek of the University of Newcastle, said the Pugh's mountain frog, a unique species with a call that "sounds like a bit of a fart", was the worst affected.

"This is a frog species that not many people would have encountered because they occur in rainforest bog habitat in the northern areas of the Great Dividing Range," Beranek said.

Some rainforest frog species had "been evolving in Australia as long as the platypus", Beranek said. "In some senses, they are as unique as the platypus in the frog world, because some of them have these unique life history strategies which aren't seen anywhere else in the world."

The researchers noted the local extinctions of severely affected species, meaning their populations had completely disappeared from specific sites such as certain creeks.

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