Cyclorana platycephala (Water-holding Frog)
Size range: Their length from nose to rear end is up to 72 mm females) and 64 mm (males).
Regions: North East, North West
Description: Water-holding Frogs are a moderate-sized stout frog with a flat head and small eyes that point obliquely upwards. Their skin is dull-grey to olive-grey or grey with light green patches, especially on the head. Their upper body has scattered fine dark flecks and their belly and lower surfaces are white. Their body's upper skin is smooth, with a few low warts. Their toes are fully webbed.
Habitat: They are found in grasslands, temporary swamps or pools, claypans, creeks and billabongs. Their distribution in South Australia is limited to the north of the State.
Call description: Their call is a long, drawn out ‘maw-w-w-w…maw-w-w-w’.
Breeding behaviour: Large amounts of spawn are laid in still water after floods. Tadpoles reach a maximum of 60 mm.
Interesting facts: This is one of Australia’s best known water-holding frogs. In dry periods, as surface waters disappear, it burrows into the ground into a waterproof cocoon-like chamber, lined with shed skin. Water is stored in the bladder or in pockets under the skin, and the frog can reduce its metabolic rate and stay in this chamber for dry periods up to years in length. This process is called aestivation. The water may constitute up to sixty per cent of the weight of the frog. Slight pressure can make the frog release this water without harming it, and there are documented accounts of Aboriginal people in that area finding these frogs by spotting identifying marks on the ground, or tapping the surface, and using them as a source of drinking water.