Mixophyes iteratus
Giant Barred-Frog, Giant Barred River-Frog
family: Myobatrachidae
subfamily: Limnodynastinae

© 2013 Nathan Litjens (1 of 8)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Australia


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Population and Distribution
Mixophyes iteratus is distributed form Belli Ck near Eumundi, s.e. Qld, s. to Warrimoo mid-e. NSW (Hines et al. 1999). The area of occurrence of the species is approximately 110 000 km2 (map in Hines et al. 1999). Mixophyes iteratus is currently known from mid to low altitudes below 520 m (Goldingay et al. 1999; White 2000; H. Hines & L. Shoo unpubl. data). In s.e. Qld, M. iteratus is currently known from scattered locations in the Mary R. catchment downstream to about Kenilworth, Upper Stanley R., Caboolture R. and Coomera R. (Hines et al. 1999). During the early 1980’s M. iteratus declined and disappeared from at least two streams in the Conondale Range (Corben in McDonald 1991). The Bunya Mt (Straughan 1966) and Cunningham’s Gap (Straughan 1966) previously supported M. iteratus but these and nearby sites have recently been the subject of targeted surveys and intensive monitoring without locating the species (Hines et al. 1999). Assessing the extent of the decline is difficult because of the lack of baseline data on its distribution and abundance (Hines et al. 1999). Mixophyes iteratus has suffered major declines in the southern portion of its range in the Sydney Basin Region (Hines et al. 1999; White 2000) where extant populations were recorded at only 2 of the 14 historical sites surveyed (White 2000). There are no recent records from the Blue Mt and the species is currently only known from a five populations in the Watagan Mt area (White 2000). A population was recently located in the southern Nambucca River catchment (NSW NPWS 1994). North of this there is currently a large population in the Dorrigo-Coffs Harbour area, North Washpool and Bungawalbin SF (Hines et al. 1999). In far n.e. NSW, M. iteratus is known from only three broad areas (Mebbin, Whian Whian and Richmond Range), despite intensive surveys (Goldingay et al. 1999). Goldingay et al. (1999) reported that the density of these populations was relatively low with an average abundance of 4.2 individuals per 100 m of stream transect between 1997 and 1998 and an average of 3.4 individuals over the same transects in 1999 (Goldingay et al. 1999).
Mixophyes iteratus is known from Qld: Conondale, Lamington, Main Range NP, Ingelbar, Kenilworth, Spicer’s Gap SF (Tyler 1997), Blackall (M. Hero pers. comm.); and from NSW: Gibraltar Range, Guy Fawkes R., Nightcap, Washpool NP, Wild Cattle Ck, Kangaroo R., Orara West and Orara East SF (Tyler 1997), Clouds Ck., Doubleduke, Ewingbar SF (K. McCray pers. comm.), Bril Bril, Ingelba, Maria R., McPherson, Mt Boss, Watagan, Wyong NP (F. Lemckert pers. comm.), Mebbin, Mt Warning, Richmond Range NP, Whian Whian SF (Goldingay et al. 1999), Upper Allyn R, Middle Brother SF, Numbucca R. catchment, Bungawalbin, Washpool SF (Hines et al. 1999), Olney SF (White 2000).

Mixophyes iteratus occurs in uplands and lowlands in rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest, including farmland (Ingram & McDonald 1993). Populations have been found in disturbed areas with vegetated riparian strips in cattlefarms and regenerating logged areas (Hero & Shoo pers. obs.). Tadpoles do occur with many species of native fish, however no introduced fish species have been observed in sympatry with M. iteratus (Mahony et al. 1997).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Mixophyes iteratus is a stream breeding species. Eggs are deposited out of water, under overhanging banks or on steep banks of large pools (Knowles et al. 1998). The stream microhabitats used by the species for oviposition are limited (Knowles et al. 1998). Hero and Fickling (1996) and Morrison and Hero (in press) reported clutch sizes for the species as 4184 (n=1) and 1343-3471 (n=13) respectively and egg diameter ranges between 1.7-1.8mm (n=5) (Morrison and Hero in press). The tadpole of M. iteratus has not been formally described. A written description of the tadpole is presented in Meyer et al. (2001).

Mixophyes iteratus appears to be a generalist feeder with crickets, spiders, beetles, snails, earwigs and frogs being recorded from gut contents (F. Lemckert pers. comm.).

Invasive species
Feral animals, domestic stock and weed invasion have been identified as potential threats to current populations of the species (Hines et al. 1999). This is particularly important as many populations of M. iteratus in s.e. Qld and some populations in n.e. NSW, such as the Tweed valley, occur along narrow remnant riparian vegetation on private lands (H. Hines pers. comm.) which are readily exposed to such disturbances. Damage from feral pigs has increased greatly in the Conondale Range in recent years and possibly other areas occupied by the species (H. Hines pers. comm.). While there is potential for direct predation by pigs, the greatest impact is likely to be from increased silt on embryos and tadpoles (H. Hines pers. comm.). Similarly, trampling by domestic stock is also likely to have deleterious impacts on oviposition sites of the species (Knowles et al. 1998).

Streatfeild (1999) monitored the spatial movements of M. iteratus at Coomera R., s.e. Qld. Over six weeks, the average area of utilisation of females and males was 622 m2 (n=4) and 403 m2 (n=4) respectively. Individuals moved a maximum distance of 268 m along the stream and 50 m away from the stream. Displacement distances between diurnal refuges, after a night of activity, were minimal which suggests a high degree of fidelity to previous days diurnal shelter for the species. Similar patterns of movement were observed by Lemckert and Brassil (2000) although less perpendicular movement away from the stream was observed. Individuals tracked for 2 to 5 day periods made nightly movements from 0 to over 100 m, all were within a 20 m wide band either side of the stream (Lemckert & Brassil 2000). Adults are often found half-buried under leaf litter (Meyer et al. 2001).

Trends and Threats
Many sites where M. iteratus occurs are the lower reaches of streams which have had major disturbances such as clearing, timber harvesting and urban development in their headwaters (Hines et al. 1999). In the Dorrigo area, Lemckert (1999) found that M. iteratus was less abundant in recently logged areas and sites where there was little undisturbed forest. The impacts of feral animals, domestic stock, weed invasion and disturbance to riparian vegetation, all potential threats to current populations, are unknown (Hines et al. 1999). Populations of M. iteratus now generally exist in small, isolated patches of forest. The effect this may have on genetic variation within populations and the general health of individuals is unknown.

J-M. Hero; L. Shoo; M. Stoneham; H. Hines; R. Goldingay; E. Meyer; F. Lemckert; K. McCray


Goldingay, R., Newell, D., and Graham, M. (1999). ''The status of rainforest stream frogs in north-eastern New South Wales: decline or recovery?'' Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs A. Campbell, eds., Environment Australia, Canberra, 64-71.

Hero, J.-M. and Fickling, S. (1996). ''Reproductive characteristics of female frogs from mesic habitats in Queensland.'' Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 39, 306.

Hines, H., Mahony, M. and McDonald, K. (1999). ''An assessment of frog declines in wet subtropical Australia.'' Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. A. Campbell, eds., Environment Australia, Canberra, 44-63.

Ingram, G. J., and McDonald, K. R. (1993). ''An update on the decline of Queensland's frogs.'' Herpetology in Australia: A diverse discipline. D. Lunney and D. Ayers, eds., Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, 297-303.

Knowles, R., Hines, H.B., Thum, K., Mahony, M., and Cunningham, M. (1998). Oviposition of the Barred-frogs (Mixophyes Species) in Southeastern Australia with Implications for Management. Unpublished abstract of a talk presented to the Australian Society of Herpetologists meeting, February 1998.

Lemckert, F. (1999). ''Impacts of selective logging on frogs in a forested area of northern New South Wales.'' Biological Conservation, 89, 321-328.

Lemckert, F. and Brassil, T. (2000). ''Movements and habitat use of the endangered Giant Barred River Frog (Mixophyes iteratus) and the implications for its conservation in timber production forests.'' Biological Conservation, 96, 177-184.

Mahony, M., Knowles, R., and Pattinson, L. (1997). ''6. Gold-eyed Barred Frog, Mixophyes iteratus.'' Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation. H. Ehmann, eds., Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW, Sydney, 78-83.

McDonald, K.R. (1991). Report of a Workshop on Declining Frog Populations in Queensland. Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, unpublished report.

Meyer, E., Hines, H., and Hero, J.-M. (2001). ''Giant Barred-Frog, Mixophyes iteratus.'' Wet Forest Frogs of South-east Queensland. Griffith University, Gold Coast, 30-31.

Morrison, C. and Hero, J.-M. (in press). ''Geographic variation in life history characteristics of amphibians in mid-eastern Australia: reproductive traits.'' Frogs in the Community – Proceedings of the Brisbane Conference 13-14 Feb 1999. R. Natrass, eds., Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

NSW NPWS (1994). Results of Vertebrate Fauna Surveys of North-east NSW Forests. North East Forests Biodiversity Study Report No. 3a, Vol. 1, Site and Transect Based Methods. N.S.W. National Parks and Wildlife Service, unpublished report

Straughan, I.R. (1966). An Analysis of Species Recognition and Species Isolation in Certain Queensland Frogs. Ph.D. thesis, University of Queensland.

Streatfeild, C. (1999). Spatial Movements of Mixophyes iteratus and M. fasciolatus in Southeast Queensland. Honours thesis, Griffith University, Queensland.

Tyler, M.J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. Wildlife Australia, Canberra, ACT.

White, A. (2000). The Status of the Barred River Frogs Mixophyes balbus and Mixophyes iteratus in the Sydney Basin Region of New South Wales 1999-2000. Report for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Written by J.-M. Hero; H. Hines; R. Goldingay; E. Meyer; F. Lemckert; K (m.hero AT, Griffith University
First submitted 2002-03-22
Edited by Ambika Sopory, Jean-Marc Hero (2008-09-24)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Mixophyes iteratus: Giant Barred-Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 23, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Oct 2017.

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