Brood frog

Swirly pat­terns on the bel­lies of brood frogs are as unique as hu­man fin­ger­prints.

Australian Geographic - - Contents -

AUS­TRALIAN BROOD frogs in the genus Pseu­dophryne – seen here from be­neath – are tiny ground­dwelling am­phib­ians that have bold, black-and-white belly pat­terns. This pat­tern­ing serves as a warn­ing to po­ten­tial preda­tors that they are toxic, and the frogs may flip onto their backs when threat­ened, to re­veal their un­der­sides.

“The pat­tern is unique to each in­di­vid­ual, and changes lit­tle over time, so can be used to iden­tify them – a lit­tle like fin­ger­prints,” says Dr Jodi Row­ley, an am­phib­ian bi­ol­o­gist at the Aus­tralian Mu­seum in Syd­ney, who took th­ese pho­tos. “I am study­ing vari­a­tion in the mor­phol­ogy of frogs through­out NSW, so I’m in­ter­ested in the colours and pat­terns.”

Two species are shown here – the red-backed toadlet ( Pseu­dophryne co­ri­acea) and Bi­bron’s toadlet ( Pseu­dophryne bibronii), and the pho­tos were taken in spots across NSW.

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