Heleioporus australiacus Click to enlarge image
Giant Burrowing Frog 13.2 Image: R & A Williams
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australiacus
    Genus
    Heleioporus
    Family
    Myobatrachidae
    Order
    Anura
    Subclass
    Lissamphibia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    9 cm - 10 cm

Description

A large species of frog reaching up to 10 cm in body length. It has a dark brown, grey or black back, and the sides are spotted with bright yellow. The belly is white or bluish-white, and the throat is grey with pale pink. The pupil is vertical and the iris is silver-grey. Fingers are unwebbed and toes are slightly webbed, both without discs. Adult males have large black spines on their fingers during the breeding season.

Similar Species

Sometimes mistakenly thought to be the introduced Cane Toad (Rhinella marina), but lacks the toad’s rougher skin and large parotoid glands on the shoulders, and has vertical pupils instead of the toad's horizontal pupils. Also looks similar to Limnodynastes dumerilii and Limnodynastes terraereginae in its distribution, but these species generally have different colours on the side and thighs, and also lack a vertical pupil.

Distribution

The Giant Burrowing Frog is found throughout Australia



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Breeding Biology

Eggs are laid as a foamy mass out of the water inside burrows or empty crayfish holes, and occasionally underneath long tussock grass on moist sandy soil near creeks, dams, or temporary pools. Tadpoles can reach a total length of up to 8 cm, and are dark black in colour. They escape into water from their burrows after flooding, often remaining at the bottom of water bodies. They take three to eleven months to develop into frogs. Breeds during spring to autumn.