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The Southern Day Frog: Biodiversity Lost
Year of extinction2002
The Southern Day Frog was a dark, mottled frog with fairly smooth skin and few warts. His belly was lighter colored, ranging from cream to blue-grey. Unlike some frogs, this species' toes were not webbed, but rather had broad fringes around each digit. The Southern Day Frog also lacked vocal sacks. His call was like a soft chuckling that was repeated every four or five minutes in rapid succession.
The Southern Day Frog populated the South-Eastern Queensland region from Coonoon Gibber Creek in the north to Mount Glorious in the south near Brisbane. His main range consisted of the Blackall, Connondale, and D'Aguilar Ranges, preferring altitudes above 350 meters. The Southern Day Frog lived mostly in montane rainforest, usually by a rocky stream. They preferred clean running streams to those with mud. The Southern Day Frog was not partial to dry climates and needed to rehydrate often, thus he was always found within twenty meters of a stream.
Lifestyle and Diet
The Southern Day Frog was a diurnal frog, beginning his activity with the sunrise and settling in for the night with the sunset. He was a generally active frog, frequently hopping into the water and swimming. Frogs would also sit for periods of times on rocks, basking in the sun's warmth. When threatened, the Southern Day Frog would leap into the water and hide underneath rocks or debris. This is where he would stay at night as well, in order to avoid predators.
The Southern Day Frog was a prolific hunter of insects, preferring to hunt on the forest floor instead of the streams. Tadpoles were bottom scrapers, foraging for food at the bottom of ponds.
Southern Day Frogs reproduced from October to May, though warmer weather heightened breeding activity. The female frog would lay her eggs in clumps underneath rocks or foliage and the male would lay on top of her, fertilizing the eggs while she laid. Tadpoles could be found year round, and were of a moderate size.
Reason they are extinct
Recent studies have revealed three main reasons as to why the Southern Day Frog went extinct. The first factor has been identified as global warming. The Southern Day Frog has a limited tolerance for temperature variation, and a sustained change could be seriously detrimental. Decline of the frog has also been attributed to a micro-organism or fungus that the frog could not deal with.
Thirdly, and most importantly, is the interference of human beings. Deforestation, habitat destruction, and feral pigs have all played their parts in driving the Southern Day Frog to extinction. Feral pigs not only destroy frog eggs, they also muddy streams, making them uninhabitable for the Southern Day Frog.
The Southern Day Frog disappeared first from the D'Aguilar range (1975), then the Blackall range (1978), and then finally the Connondale range (1979). The frog has not been seen since then despite efforts to find it, and was thus declared extinct by IUCN in 2002.
The Southern Day Frog is only one of many amphibian species to become extinct recently, the phenomena is occurring all over the world. Frogs are an important indicator of environmental health and biodiversity, and their disappearance does not bode well for our future.