Common Eastern Froglet Peter Robertson/Museums Victoria

Common Eastern Froglet

Crinia signifera

Ground-dwelling froglet with a slender body, slender limbs and slightly pointed head that is wider than long. The pupil is horizontal and the tympanum (eardrum) indistinct. Usually this frog is discernible by its distinctive ‘crick-crick’ call.

The Common Froglet has extremely variable markings, with great variety usually found within confined populations. The colour varies from dark brown, fawn, light and dark grey. The colour of the ventral surface is similar to the dorsal surface, but speckled with white spots. The dorsal surface may be smooth, warty or have longitudinal skin folds.

Eggs

On average about 200 eggs are laid in small clusters attached to submerged vegetation, the tadpoles and eggs survive in 14-15 °C water.

Tadpoles

Tadpoles are brown or light grey all over with scattered dark flecks. Tadpoles are about 36mm in length. Development is relatively short, however it is dependent on environmental conditions. At a temperature of 15 °C development can range from 6 weeks to more than 3 months.

Distinctive features

Adults have a granular belly which is white or muddy white, heavily mottled with black or dark brown. The patterning on the back is variable but three distinctive patterns are recognised: 1. ridged (longitudinal ridges along back), 2. lyrate (boomerang shaped ridges over the shoulder and on the back) and 3. smooth (back smooth, unpatterned, or with small warts).

Size

Average size of the Common Froglet is approximately 18-28mm.

Behaviour

Breeding can occur any time of year except mid-summer.

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What to Observe

  • Calling
  • Presence of eggs or tadpoles

Climate Adaptations

They may start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Since breeding is linked to rainfall, increases in rainfall in north-west Australia may lead to increased numbers.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Males can be heard calling and breeding any time of the year except in mid-summer
  • Eggs are usually present in July - November and February
  • Tadpoles will develop in anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months depending on environmental conditions

Where To Look

  • Widely distributed on the coast from south-east Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania
  • Found in damp areas, streams or ponds that have plenty of shelter
  • Adaptable to a wide variety of habitats from alpine to coastal regions, including areas of high disturbance
  • They shelter under logs and other debris, usually in moist, shallow areas or near water (it's not uncommon to find dozens of individuals under one log or rock)
  • Eggs and tadpoles are aquatic and can be found in ponds, dams, swamps, flooded grassland, ditches and hollows
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What Else?

Look for any changes in the timing of their calling or breeding as well as changes outside of their known range so remember to look beyond these regions.

Similar Species

It can most easily be distinguished from other Crinia species by its call.