Australian Acid Frogs

Howdy Readers and Bloggers out there in Blogger Land

Today, as you can probably tell from the title, we will be discussing Australian ‘Acid’ Frogs. Firstly, I want you to picture a certain scenario in your mind. Picture four frog species that, when you blend them in a device known as a ‘Blender’, you get an ‘acid’ thickshake that, once consumed, takes you to a place of magical lepricons and flying cows.

Frog in a Blender

Frog in a Blender -

Have you pictured this? If you have, then you are indeed a sick puppy. ‘Acid’ frogs are not called ‘acid’ frogs because of their hallucinogenic properties. They are termed ‘acid’ frogs because they are associated with ‘acidic’ water where the pH ranges (at least along the east coast of Australia) between 3.5 – 5.0. To put this into perspective, drinking water is about pH 7; which is neutral.

Australian ‘acid’ frogs occur along the eastern coast of Australia between Fraser Island, Queensland, and Jervis Bay, New South Wales. These species will occur in ‘wallum’ heath and the waterbodies in which they occur will be low in nutrients.

The primary threat to all ‘acid’ frogs species in Australia is loss of habitat due to development of land for residential, agricultural or infrastructure purposes. These threats are increased due to these species being located in an area with some of the highest human growth rate in Australia. Additional threats include disease, chemicals, alteration to the hydrology (as a vast majority of ‘acid’ frog species populations occur within ephemeral waterbodies) and introduced species (especially translocation of fish ; i.e. Gambusia holbrooki (Mosquito fish)).

The primary threat (habitat destruction) is focused outside of national parks and reserves. Therefore, the populations that occur within national parks or reserves are protected and, based on past research, population numbers are stable. Regardless of this, it is still important to conserve every single ‘acid’ frog species population that you can based on the ‘Deaths by a Thousand Cuts’ principle (I will post a ‘Rambling’ about this at a later date for those that do not know of this principle).

This is probably enough information about ‘acid’ frogs for now as I need to get back to completing my Masters Thesis. I will finish by telling you the four acid frog species and providing links to additional information websites if you wish to find out more.

1) Litoria olongburensis –



Litoria olongburensis

Litoria olongburensis


2) Litoria cooloolensis

Litoria cooloolensis
Litoria cooloolensis
All photos here, unless otherwise specified, are copyright of me, Clay Alan Simpkins.
This entry was posted in Amphibians, Conservation Issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Australian Acid Frogs

  1. Although I find frogs interesting, I have to confess I have a bit of a frog phobia! 🙂

    Have heard that amphibians are really sensitive to environmental change. I certainly noticed a huge decline in our local (i.e. in our garden) frog population when we had a severe drought during 2009/2010. At the end of 2010 when it started to rain again regularly, the frogs were back.

    • The frog were prob. still around but, due to lack of rain, weren’t as active. Also, the drought may have had a slight impact in their population. This also depends on where you live. For example, frogs in the deserts of Australia may have to wait years before rain falls. Some may burrow into the ground and go into a ‘coma’ like state until enough water arrives to break this state and they will go forth and breed and feed. When it rains in drier parts of Australia (for a person like me) it is frog heaven.

  2. How do you think climate change will affect these acid frogs?

    • Oh Stew. You very well know that Kat is doing her PhD in that area. Let me think on the issue and get back to you.

    • CC might effect these frogs in numerous ways. It depends on the rainfall patterns and how they will be effected in relation to CC. More rainfall may make the ponds in which they breed more permanent which will allow for a longer colonization of tadpole predators. On the other hand, not enough rain will result in the ponds not retaining water for an ample enough time to allpy for metamorphosis to occur. Those are my short thoughts on the matter.

      • I wonder if climate change is going to cause greater unpredictability in our weather. We might get periods with more rain (such as this year), but the drought periods in between the wetter periods may be prolonged. Burrowing frogs probably won’t have too many issues with this, but I wonder if the frogs that depend on ephemeral waterbodies (such as these acid frogs) will be in trouble?

  3. I hadn’t heard of acid frogs before, so thank you for that.
    I actually went to sleep to the sound of frogs last night which is something I never hear living in a flat in the city. There was a LOT of rain though last night so they must have out and enjoying it.

  4. Guy Next Door says:

    I’m intrigued by this frog thickshake. Can you put acid frogs through a juicer or will their high acidity ruin its moving parts? Just like oranges, I think you would have to juice a whole tree of olongs to get a glass of liquid goodness.

    Considering that residential development is a problem, is there any chance that acid frogs would live and breed in people’s frog ponds? We could dump old car batteries, urine and Coca Cola into man-made ponds to maintain low acidity!

    • I find your remarks ROFL. Funny indeed. They are assoicatied with acid waters and their blood is not low in pH. I don’t think the caffeine from the Coca Cola would go down well. Imagine acid frogs on caffeine. We would be dominated.

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