Habitat: Areas with mild temperatures and moderate to high rainfall like mesic (moist) forests, often amongst leaf litter

Distribution:  From the Conondale and Blackall Ranges in South-East Queensland, south to the Dorrigo Plateau in north-eastern New South Wales

Conservation status: Listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwth) (EPBC Act)

Main threats: Loss of habitat caused by bushfires and climate change


A small species of frog no larger than 2cm, the pouched frog (Assa darlingtoni) or hip pocket frog, sports a brown to dark brown dorsal side adorned with darker spots.

Commonly, a V-shaped mark is present between its eyes. A distinct black line runs from the eye to the groin area. Its underside is a creamy hue, speckled with brown. The frog's eyes feature a horizontal pupil and a golden iris. Interestingly, both its fingers and toes lack webbing.

It gets its name from the male, which carries a side pouch where tadpoles enter, mature, and eventually exit as miniature, fully-developed frogs. 

Photo by bensamuel86

Photo by bensamuel86


The pouched frog hides under logs, rocks, and fallen leaves in rainforests and nearby moist sclerophyll forests. While it can vocalize throughout the day, its chorus peaks at dawn and dusk. Emitting a soft "eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh" sound, it typically produces a sequence of six to ten notes.

Fun fact: Unlike its leaping counterparts, the pouched frog prefers to crawl.

Diet and breeding

The diet and movement patterns of this frog are currently unknown. Little is known about the non-breeding behaviour of the pouched frog, but we do know that the mating season occurs in the warmer months of spring and summer. 

Photo by Ben Hicks Photography

Photo by Ben Hicks Photography

The female pouched frog is estimated to start breeding between 2 and 3-years-old, laying anywhere from 1 to 50 eggs annually. 

The eggs are deposited on dry land, such as under rotting logs, rocks or layers of leaves, since their tadpoles undergo metamorphosis without the need for aquatic environments. Both parents protect the egg nest, and the male frog carries the tadpoles in his pouch. The young remain there until they complete their metamorphosis.

A connected rainforest habitat is important to the protection of species like the pouched frog. Find out how we're working to achieve that. 




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