Red Crowned Toadlet

Red Crowned Toadlet                                               Pseudophryne australis

Description: Up to 30mm long. Dark brown to black above, often with a red 'wash' or scattered red flecks. There is an orange-red triange on the head and a similar stripe on the lower back. The base of each arm is white and the belly is marbled in black and white. The skin varies from smooth to 'warty' above, but is always smooth on the belly. The toes are unwebbed and there are no vomerine or maxillary teeth.

Habitat:The species is restricted to Hawkesbury sandstone [eg Manly Dam Catchment] and may be found beside creeks, gutters and soaks within this area, and under logs and rocks. It breeds in damp leaf litter where the male stays near; the eggs hatch when the tadpoles are well developed and the area is flooded with heavy rain. The tadpoles take about 30 to 40 days to develop.

Photo by E Ehmann

Status: The Red Crowned Toadlet is listed in the Threatened Species Conservation Act in schedule 2 as "vulnerable". The toadlet lives in areas of sandstone located in and around Sydney and is "declining through multiple minor impacts" .

Ardel Site: The Red Crowned Toadlet has been recorded on several occasions on the Ardel site at the headwaters of Manly Dam and there is thought to be a diminishing population in Manly Dam Reserve.

In a 1995 Land and Environment Court case, Justice Pearlman accepted that "There is no issue that the red-crowned toadlet exists upon the [Ardel] site, nor that it is listed as an endangered species." She concluded that "there is likely to be a serious impact upon the red-crowned toadlet" and she refused the development consent.

In a 1997 Land and Environment Court case, Justice Sheahan was "of the view that the potential loss of toadlet habitat from the [Ardel] site is not significant". He approved the development consent. Most of the red-crowned  toadlet habitat on the Ardel site was bulldozed in 1999 and the housing development has proceeded.


  • Robinson, M. (1996) A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia. Australian  Museum - Reed New Holland Publication., Sydney.
  • Dr Cogger, Hassell Pty Ltd v Warringah Council [1998] NSWLEC 41

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