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Litoria platycephala (formerly Cyclorana platycephala), the water-holding frog, is a frog common to most Australian states. It differs from most other members of the Hylidae family as a ground dweller and the ability to aestivate.
The species has populations spread across all the Australian states except Victoria and Tasmania. It occupies a wide range of habitat from forests of tropical swamp to intermittent pools and lowland grass country; all habitat is assumed to be of a low elevation. Populations are assumed to be large from frequent reports and a broad range. This range is assumed to overlap with National parks, but research has not been undertaken into the ecology and biology of the species. The water holding frog is known to lay its eggs and once hatched go back into aestivation for a period of 3 to 6 months. After this period it will lay more eggs and repeat the process. The Water-holding Frog has an aestivation cycle. It buries itself in sandy ground in a secreted, water-tight, mucus cocoon with its external skin during periods of hot, dry weather. For additional nutrition and to save energy, the frog eats the external skin. Australian Aborigines discovered a means to take advantage of this by digging up one of these frogs and gently squeezing it, causing the frog to release some of the fresh water it stores for itself in its bladder and skin pockets. This water can be drunk by the Aborigine, who then releases the frog.
No threats have been identified, research into the extent of habitat loss through land clearing and the associated salinity is yet to be undertaken. The species is given Least Concern status at the IUCN Red List due to a wide range and large population.
- Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Sixth Edition. Reed New Holland, New South Wales.
- Jean-Marc Hero, John Clarke, Ed Meyer, Richard Retallick, Paul Horner, Dale Roberts (2004). "Litoria platycephala". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/41076. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
- Hero, J M; et al. (2002-04-05). "Cyclorana platycephala Water-holding Frog". AmphibiaWeb. Berkeley (The Regents of the University of California). http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?query_src=aw_search_index&max=200&where-genus=Cyclorana&where-species=platycephala. Retrieved 2007-04-07. "There are three separate populations. One in the central arid zone of Western Australia from Winning Pool east to Lake Disappointment and south to Morawa and Laverton. There is a small area in the north-western corner of the Northern Territory. Another large area extends from northern South Australia into New South Wales and south-western Queensland. The extent of occurrence of the species is approximately 1645500 km². Widely dispersed in habitat."