NERP TE Project 3.3 - Targeted surveys for missing and endangered rainforest frogs in ecotonal areas, and assessment of whether populations are recovering from disease (JCU)

Project summary

This project will survey dry forest sites that border rainforest in the Wet Tropics and Eungella regions for missing and endangered frogs and other vertebrates.

This project will also:

  • Determine if and how threatened frogs are recolonising upland rainforest sites where they once occurred
  • Determine if the few minute populations of Northern Tinker-Frog (Taudactylus rheophilus) recorded after disease outbreaks have persisted
  • Provide management recommendations and a list of critical dry forest refuges for critically endangered rainforest frogs, and areas of importance for other vertebrate species.
The armoured mist frog, rediscovered in North Queensland
Adeline falls

Why this research is needed

Outbreaks of amphibian chytrid fungus in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in the disappearance of ten frog species from the upland rainforests of the Wet Tropics and Eungella in central Queensland. This is a significant loss, representing 25% of the frogs endemic to the Wet Tropics and all of the Eungella endemics. The recent discovery of the presumed extinct Armoured Mist frog (Litoria lorica) in high elevation dry forest close to rainforest sites, and the discovery that this population is co-existing with the chytrid fungus suggests that there is a high probability that other missing frog species may well exist in dry forests bordering rainforests.

Research user focus

This project will facilitate conservation and management by local, state and Australian Government bodies, EPBC, Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA), Terrain NRM, Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and others.


This project will assist in determining:

  • Whether the 'extinct' frogs of the Wet Tropics and Eungella are indeed extinct
  • Whether the dry forest/rainforest border areas of the western Wet Tropics and Eungella harbour overlooked populations of these and other critically endangered species
  • How widespread chytrid fungus is across the study regions and environments, and how frogs are currently coping with this threat
  • The value of peripheral areas for other Wet Tropics endangered vertebrates

This project will contribute to the continuing conservation and management of Queensland's World Heritage listed rainforests.

Reports, Publications and News


For more information see Project 3.3 'Targeted surveys for missing and critically endangered rainforest frogs in ecotonal areas, and assessment of whether populations are recovering from disease' on the NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub site.



2 August 2016

This dataset consists of 546 records of vertebrate species across various sites in the rainforests and adjacent habitats of the Wet Tropics and the Eungella region. Surveys particularly targeted threatened frogs and focussed on ecotonal and peripheral rainforest areas. Each record consists of the date, species, locality name, latitude and longitude, habitat, and observer.

3 September 2014

This project is conducting surveys of frogs and other vertebrates in ecotonal areas of the Wet Tropics and Eungella.