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