Burrows of desert-adapted frogs, Neobatrachus aquilonius and Notaden nichollsi

Document Type

Journal Article


Royal Society of Western Australia Inc.


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Thompson, G. G., Withers, P. C., McMasterº, K. A., & Cartledge, V. A. (2005). Burrows of desert-adapted frogs, Neobatrachus aquilonius. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 88, 17-23. Available here


The non-cocooning frogs, Notaden nichollsi and Uperoleia micromeles, and the cocoon-forming frog, Neobatrachus aquilonius , burrow underground to survive in the hot, dehydrating arid interior of Australia. By four to six months after these frogs had burrowed, the only surface evidence that a frog had dug a vertical burrow was either a small raised-side crater ranging from 50 – 60 mm in diameter or a shallow depression the same size with a less compacted centre. Notaden nichollsi and U. micromeles were dug from poorly-defined, sand-filled burrows in sandy soil (1.4 – 4.1% clay and silt, 95.9 – 98.4% sand) at 600 to 2400 mm below the surface. Multiple N. nichollsi and U. micromeles were located in single burrows. In contrast, N. aquilonius were found in clay soil (12.5 – 17.9% clay and silt, 82.1 – 87.5% sand) in burrows 280 to 1200 mm deep. At a clay pan site only a single N. aquilonius was found in each well-defined, loosely filled burrow that we excavated. From a swale site, on one occasion we found two N. aquilonius in one burrow, and on another occasion we found a N. aquilonius and a N. nichollsi in the same burrow.

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