Bilingual Frog

Wesley Read/AWC

Quick Facts

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Crinia bilingua
  • FAMILY: Myobatrachidae
  • NATIONAL CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern
  • STATE CONSERVATION STATUS Least Concern
  • SURVIVING POPULATION: Unknown
Known for its distinctive two-type mating call, the Bilingual Frog is a small frog species found across north-western and north-central Australia.  Wesley Read/AWC

What is AWC doing?

While AWC isn’t undertaking any targeted conservation action for the Bilingual Frog populations, several of our sanctuaries protect vital habitat for the species in northern Australia including Bullo River Station, Wilinggin, and Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary.

A drying creek bed at Bullo River Station Brad Leue/AWC

Threats to Species

There are no known threats to the Bilingual Frog and there have been no recorded population declines, locally or nationally, which is why the species conservation status is listed as of ‘least concern’. It is worth noting that due to their reliance on ephemeral swamps and creeks for breeding, the species may become more vulnerable with changing rainfall patterns under a warming climate.

Least Concern

Description

This small frog species grows to just 2.5cm in length and fully grown tadpoles are not much smaller. Tadpole colour varies from red, brown, or gold, while after the metamorphosis process have similar shades with more grey, brown, and green tones. Their underbelly is cream- or grey-coloured while their eyes have golden irises.

Adult frogs tend to have a triangular patch between their eyes and either dark patches or longitudinal stripes down their back. Their slender limbs are of moderate length relative to the rest of their body, and while the fingers and toes are unwebbed, their toes have a lateral fringe.

They are easily mistaken for other similar looking frogs with similar distributions including Crinia deserticola, Crinia fimbriata, and Crinia remota however the Bilingual Frog has a distinctly different call.

Ecology

Due to their reliance on temporary swamps, pools, and lagoons for breeding, this frog species reproduces during the wet season (spring and summer). Males croak their mating calls between December and March, which as the name suggests, are two distinct calls – a high-pitched rattle or a musical clicking.

Eggs are laid individually or in small clusters underneath the water surface and attach themselves to available vegetation which typically includes grass stalks. The embryos hatch after approximately 80 hours and measure just 4mm long.

Tadpoles remain with these water bodies for about one month before the metamorphosis process occurs and they move out of the water. Tadpoles in warmer regions have been shown to develop faster, with metamorphosis occurring within 14 days.

Adults are typically shy and have an affinity for hiding in thick grass tussocks, making a sighting of this species quite rare.

Range and Abundance

This species is found across the Top End (Northern Territory) and the Kimberley Region (Western Australia), particularly in moist savannas, along intermittent rivers, and areas where water persists even through the dry season.

Sanctuaries Where You Can Find the Bilingual Frog

© Brad Leue/AWC
Northern Territory

Bullo River Station

Covering over 164,000 hectares in the north-west corner of the Northern Territory, Bullo River Station is both a working pastoral...

© Brad Leue/AWC
Western Australia

Wilinggin

Spanning the central and northern Kimberley, Wilinggin is an extensive Indigenous Protected Area and the traditional lands of the Ngarinyin...

© Michael Hains/AWC
Northern Territory

Pungalina-Seven Emu

Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary protects an area of extraordinary conservation value, including 100km of the nationally significant Calvert River, and...

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