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Who’s calling?

May 17, 2013

Bibron's Toadlet

Bibron’s Toadlet ?

Frogs have been calling around our wildlife wetland area (pictured in the previous post Dam right !) near Strath Creek recently, even before the welcome rain of the past few days. The dominant sound is the distinctive two-stage call of the Victorian Smooth Froglet (Geocrinia victoriana). There must be dozens, if not hundreds, scattered around the now high-and-dry rushes, sedges and matted dry grasses, so we thought we would try to locate one for a photo opportunity. But no such luck – they seem to have a highly sensitive awareness of the presence of an intruder and go silent for some time whenever we get too close. Somehow they can at times communicate a warning (by a subtle change in their call ?) far and wide, and the whole colony falls silent.
So we have yet to find the ubiquitous but cryptic Victorian Smooth Froglet. However, we did find the dark frog pictured above, which in the blown-up image doesn’t seem particularly small, until you see the comparison with a 5 cent piece in the photo below. We think (but are happy to be corrected) that it is a Bibron’s Toadlet (Pseudophryne bibronii) because of the coarse black and white marbling on its belly and the boomerang-shaped ridges on its shoulders, features typical of a Bibron’s Toadlet. It did tend to hop though, whereas Bibron’s Toadlets are reputed to prefer walking to hopping.Toadlet size comparison
Anyway, we had a call but no frog, and a frog but no call! Further investigation however revealed that in amongst the numerous Victorian Smooth Froglet calls, there was an occasional short ‘cre-e-ek’ that seemed to correspond roughly to the field guide description of Bibron’s Toadlet’s call.
The audio below gives the VSF’s call, both individually and collectively, followed by what we assume is the BT’s call recorded at the wetland.

For more information on these notoriously secretive frogs, and indeed on all Victorian frogs, go to
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, in partnership with Museum Victoria, has developed the iSpy Frogs app which covers 20 frogs found within the Goulburn Broken Catchment. It is currently only available for Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad devices and can be downloaded free from the App Store.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2013 11:43 am

    Hi Laurie/Dave, Bibron’s Toadlet would be a great record! – as you no doubt know it’s on the decline in Victoria. And that c-r-e-e-k call at the end of your recording sure sounds like a Pseudophryne to me.
    It’s so good to find populations across different parts of the landscape. I found a nice little colony of Bibron’s Toadlet at Merton not long go –
    I hope they’ve made it through this most recent dry spell. Bert.

  2. May 30, 2013 4:39 pm

    An update on the pictured frog via Jo Wood, Environmental Water Project Officer with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority:

    Jo informs us that her frog expert colleagues have identified the frog in the photos as definitely Crinia signifera, the Common Froglet, and unfortunately not the much rarer Bibron’s Toadlet. The last call on the audio also belongs to a (cold) Crinia signifera.


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