The southern toadlet (Pseudophryne semimarmorata
) is found throughout the eastern half of Tasmania, where it prefers open forests and grasslands. It reaches a body length of 32 mm and has a warty, dark brown and olive green upper surface.
The undersurface (see photograph below) however, is brilliantly patterned. Indeed, the southern toadlet is a close relative of the well-known and vividly patterned corroboree frog of the southern alps of mainland Australia.
Southern Toadlet - undersurface
The species breeds in temporary ponds during late summer and early autumn, during which time the males call can be heard.
The call is a grating
Surprisingly, members of this genus of frog lacks a functional hearing apparatus. It is not known how they are able to hear airborne sounds, although one theory suggests that airborne sounds may be conducted through the bones of the skull.
Strictly speaking, there are no true toads in Australia, with the exception of the introduced cane toad,
which is becoming increasingly widespread across north-eastern Australia. However, many Australian species, including the southern toadlet, are commonly known as toads or toadlets. This has arisen due to their superficial similarity to the warty toads that were familiar to the first European settlers. The use of such inappropriate, European-based common names is widespread across many groups of the unique Australian fauna and flora.