Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Neobatrachus albipes is a moderate size burrowing frog. The total male body length is approximatly 33.2 to 45.4 mm and females are approximately 35.3 mm snout-vent length. These frogs have sloped heads that are shorter than wide. From the dorsal view the snout is rounded and from the profile the snout is almost flat, appearing almost square. The slightly laterally nostrils are pointed upward and the large eyes are distinct. The tympanum is taller than it is wide and, although, covered with skin is obvious. Prominent paratoid glands can be found extending medially from behind the tympanum to the middle of the back. This species has moderate limbs. Relative finger lengths are 3 > 1 > 2 > 4 and fingers are unwebbed, slender, and short. Each finger has an obvious subarticular tubercle at the first joint. Tubercles can also be found between the first and second fingers and second and third fingers. In males, nuptial pads can be found starting at the base of the first two fingers and extending to the distal joints. Relatively toe lengths are 4 > 3 > 5 > 2 > 1 and toes are Slender and webbed. Toe webbing covers first, second, and third toes fully, but only extends to the second joint on toes four and five (Roberts et al. 1991)

With the exception of N. pelobatoides, N. albipes can be diagnosed by its unpigmented metatarsal tubercle. Neobatrachus albipes can be differentiated from N. pelobatoides by the white coloration on the top of the foot of N. albipes and N. albipes’ male call having fewer pulse numbers and higher pulse rates and dominant frequencies than N. pelobatoides (Roberts et al. 1991).

In life, the N. albipes appears to be able to change color to blend in with its background. In dark backgrounds, the dorsum is brown with markings that are dark with undefined edges. A broad lighter "V" shape can be found on the skin above and between the eyes. In light backgrounds, the dorsum of N. albipes is pale gray to light yellow-green; this is especially true around the flanks and back half of the body. In both backgrounds, the upper surface of the feet and toes are white, giving the species its common name. When preserved, the dorsal surface of the frog appears as when the live frog is on a dark background. The ventral surface, legs, upper arms and anterior of the forearms, and inner margin of the feet of the frog are creamy-white. Neobatrachus albipes has dark brown plantar and palmer areas. The skin on the anterior and lateral margins of the submandibular area is dark grey-brown. The upper surface of the foot and toes are white and the skin at the ankle is translucent showing dark brown muscle underneath (Roberts et al. 1991).

Some frogs also have a mid-dorsal strip that extends from a point level with the tympanum to the cloaca. The paratoid glands can vary in their distinctiveness and some specimens are a lighter brown-yellow when preserved. Individuals also have variation in the distinctiveness of the light bar between their eyes and some males have nuptial pads that extend to their third finger (Roberts et al. 1991).

  • Hero J.M., Roberts, D. 2004. Neobatrachus albipes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 14 December 2012.
  • Roberts, J.D., Mahony, M., Kendrick, P., Majors, C.M. (1991). ''A new species of burrowing frog, Neobatrachus (Anura: Myobatrachidae), from the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.'' Records of Western Australian Museum, 15, 23-32.
  • Thackway, R. and I.D.Cresswell (1995). An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, Canberra, Australia.
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Distribution

Distribution and Habitat

This frog is found in the southern arid and semi-arid zone of southwest Western Australia, from Narembeen and the Stirling Range eastward to Cape Arid. The estimated elevation range of N. albipes is from near sea level to approximately 800 meters above mean sea level (Hero and Roberts 2004).

  • Hero J.M., Roberts, D. 2004. Neobatrachus albipes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 14 December 2012.
  • Roberts, J.D., Mahony, M., Kendrick, P., Majors, C.M. (1991). ''A new species of burrowing frog, Neobatrachus (Anura: Myobatrachidae), from the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.'' Records of Western Australian Museum, 15, 23-32.
  • Thackway, R. and I.D.Cresswell (1995). An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, Canberra, Australia.
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Range Description

This Australian endemic occurs in the southern arid (central) zone and eastern areas of southwest Western Australia, from Narembeen and the Stirling Range east to Cape Arid. The estimated altitudinal range of the species is from 0-800m asl.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species is known from temporarily flooded areas in the wheat belt of southwestern Australia. Breeding occurs in spring and summer and after heavy autumn rains. Males call from concealed positions, such as beneath bushes, and near deep (30-50cm) water. Egg deposition and tadpoles have not been observed.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Associations

Associates in the Esperance Mallee, Australia

Neobatrachus albipes is endemic to the Esperance Mallee ecoregion of Australia. The Esperance Plains boast over 3500 native vascular plant species, and around 300 established naturalized alien species. On the Esperance Plains there have been 72 distinct taxa of endangered plants, with another 433 species having been designated Priority Flora under the Australian Department of Environment and Conservation's Declared Rare and Priority Flora List. The predominant soil is sand over clay, overlying Archean and Proterozoic granite of the Yilgarn Craton. At the eastern limits there is some calcareous soil overlying Eocene limestone. The region manifests a low-lying, gently undulating topography, with rather occluded drainage, such that a series of playa lakes is produced.

This ecoregion covers 44,600 square miles of critical/endangered mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrub in western Australia. About one half of the land area of this ecoregion is currently being used for agriculture, with most of the prior ecological damage arising from agricultural clearance having been carried out in government sponsored public works programs. There are a total of 382 recorded vertebrate fauna in the Esperance Mallee, including numerous special status birds and reptiles. The semi-arid ecoregion boasts a plethora of snakes, including two endemic squamata; there is also one endemic amphibian species, Neobetrachus albipes, in the Esperance Mallee.

The Mallee biogeographic region vegetation is predominantly Eucalyptus mallee over an understory of myrtaceous and proteaceous heath. Over half of the land area is vegetated solely by mallee, with a further one fourth chiefly mallee with woodland patches; the latter vegetation occurs mainly on the calcareous soils to the east. The mallee region consists of a number of Eucalyptus species, the most consistent being tall sand mallee (E. eremophila). Seasonally wet and alluvial zones are vegetated by Melaleuca shrublands where freshwater, and Tecticornia‎ low shrublands for saline soils. There are also sporadic thickets of Allocasuarina, particularly on greenstone hills.

Tne faunal assemblage of thes ecoregion the coast includes the reptiles: the endemic McKenzie's dragon (Ctenophorus mckenziei), near threatened Bardick snake (Echiospsis curta), the vulnerable endemic E. atriceps, the endemic lerista viduata, and the highly venomous Common Death Adder (Acanthopis antarcticus), An endemic amphibian of the ecoregion is the Neobetrachus albipes; the near threatened Main's ground froglet (Geocrina lutea) is a special status amphibian of the ecoregion. Mammals within the ecoregion include the near threatened brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapotafa), near threatened red-tailed phascogale (P. calura), near threatened western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii), and  the minute honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus) which feeds on nectar of the Australian kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos manglesii).

Birds include the endangered western whipbird, endangered Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), endangered slender-billed black cockatoo (Calyptorlynchus latirostris), endangered white-tailed black cockatoo (C. baudinii), vulnerable fairy tern (Sterna nereis), vulnerable great knot (Sterna tenuirostris), vulnerable far eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), vulnerable malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), near threatened black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), near threatened blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis), near threatened buff-breasted sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis), near threatened letter-winged kite (Elanus scriptus), western ground parrot, red-winged fairywren (Malurus elegans), Australian white ibis (Threskiornis moluccus) and the rare Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) in the coastal zone..

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Neobatrachus albipes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Jean-Marc Hero, Dale Roberts

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2002
    Least Concern
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Neobatrachus albipes are explosive breeders characterized by sudden breeding activity for one or two nights after heavy rains in temporary pools formed during the seasonal rains. These most intense precipitation periods are typically in autumn (beginning in May) and winter, and ponding may persist through October. This rainy season marks the peak of species activity for N. albipes (Roberts et al. 1991).

Breeding age males produce mating vocalizations in the spring and summer season from hidden positions in crevices or beneath woody scrub vegetation near breeding waters, which are typically 20 to 50 centimeters in depth. Vocalizations most often consist of a series of 36 to 40 brief pulses of sound. The sexes mate via inguinal amplexus (Roberts et al.1991).

  • Hero J.M., Roberts, D. 2004. Neobatrachus albipes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 14 December 2012.
  • Roberts, J.D., Mahony, M., Kendrick, P., Majors, C.M. (1991). ''A new species of burrowing frog, Neobatrachus (Anura: Myobatrachidae), from the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.'' Records of Western Australian Museum, 15, 23-32.
  • Thackway, R. and I.D.Cresswell (1995). An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, Canberra, Australia.
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Population

Population
It is a common species.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no known threats to the species.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

The IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species currently lists N. albipes as "Least Concern" with a stable population trend and no major threats (Hero and Roberts 2004). However, the species may be affected by habitat conversion to agriculture, agricultural run-off, changes to topographic that may affects where ponds form, increased salinisation of surface waters, habitat degradation through grazing, introduced vegetation, and climate change.

While little taxon specific conservation measures are in place, approximately 8,000 square kilometers of habitat is under national or regional protection, with the largest elements of land being: Cape Arid National Park, Stirling Range National Park, Fitzgerald River National Park, and Lake Magenta National Reserve (Thackeray & Cresswell 1995).

  • Hero J.M., Roberts, D. 2004. Neobatrachus albipes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 14 December 2012.
  • Roberts, J.D., Mahony, M., Kendrick, P., Majors, C.M. (1991). ''A new species of burrowing frog, Neobatrachus (Anura: Myobatrachidae), from the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.'' Records of Western Australian Museum, 15, 23-32.
  • Thackway, R. and I.D.Cresswell (1995). An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, Canberra, Australia.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Its range includes multiple protected areas in Western Australia.
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Wikipedia

White-footed frog

The White-footed Frog or White-footed Trilling Frog (Neobatrachus albipes) is a species of frog in the Myobatrachidae family. It is endemic to the Esperance mallee ecoregion of Australia. (C.Michael Hogan. 2012) Its natural habitats are temperate shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, intermittent freshwater marshes, and seasonally flooded agricultural land.

References[edit]

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