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Distribution and Habitat
Population and Distribution
The distribution of Taudactylus pleione is extremely restricted and is confined to twelve small (up to 25 ha) unconnected patches of rainforest (totalling about 200 ha) above 500 m at Kroombit Tops, s.w. of Gladstone (Clarke et al. 1999; J. Clarke pers. comm.). It is believed that T. pleione is a relict species, restricted to Kroombit Tops through habitat fragmentation that disrupted rainforest connections between s. and n.e. Qld (Czechura 1986a). Within the rainforest patches, populations of T. pleione are clumped around drainage lines and seepage areas (J. Clarke pers. comm.). The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 700 ha and the area of occupancy is estimated to be 120 ha (J. Clarke pers. comm). Surveys in February 1997 and regular surveys since 1998 have greatly expanded the known distribution of the species bringing the total number of known populations to 12; 9 in Kroombit Tops NP and 3 in Kroombit Tops SF (Clarke et al. 1999; J. Clarke pers. comm.). All potential sites on the Kroombit Tableland and escarpment have been searched at least once during the calling season although additional potential habitat for the species exists on the Dawes Range and Mt Roberts (M. Cunningham pers. comm.). The only regularly monitored population, in the head of Kroombit Ck, appears to have declined (Hines et al. 1999). The species was regularly encountered at this site prior to 1997 but T. pleione was not heard or seen at this site during the 1997/98 season despite systematic monitoring (Clarke et al. 1999). Data from recent annual searches also indicate a decline in numbers of T. pleione on Kroombit Plateau (E. Meyer pers. comm.). During 1997/98 little other monitoring work was undertaken in the area but the species was heard calling at three recently discovered sites (Hines et al. 1999). Estimates of population size are highly conjectural with no more than 13 individuals being recorded from one site at any one time, and only three females have ever been recorded (J. Clarke pers. comm.). No information is available on population structure or genetic variation (Hines et al. 1999)
Known from Kroombit Tops NP and Kroombit Tops SF Scientific Area No. 48 (Clarke et al. 1999).
Taudactylus pleione is highly cryptic and is mainly associated with Piccabeen Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) rainforest and boulder scree gullies (Czechura 1986a; Clarke et al. 1999; Meyer et al. 2001). Taudactylus pleione is found around rocky shelves and boulders, under rocks or in deep rock piles near temporary stream lines, seepage zones and in sheltered rocky scree (Clarke et al. 1999). Most sites have little or no surface water (J. Clarke pers. comm.). Unlike other species of Taudactylus it has never been observed basking (Czechura 1986b).