Whooping Frog

Heleioporus inornatus Lee & Main 1954

Species Info Card | Updated 7 years ago

A moderately large (7 cm) ground-dwelling frog with a stout rounded body, short limbs and large protruding eyes. The back is plain ('inornate') chocolate brown, sometimes with a ruddy hue, while the flanks may be lightly mottled with grey or yellow. Male whooping frogs possess 1-3 small black spines on the thumbs. These are used for gripping the flanks of the female during mating.

Breeding Biology

Males excavate deep burrows in low-lying areas which become inundated after autumn and winter rains. Males only call for a month or so after the first rains in autumn. Males call from within the burrow to attract females, after which eggs are deposited in a foamy nest at the bottom of the burrow in damp soil. The egg masses of this species are white and foamy. As many as 200 eggs may be laid in each mass. Rising water levels of swamps and creeks caused by winter rains eventually flood the burrows allowing the newly developed tadpoles to wiggle free of the egg mass and swim out of the burrow.

Tadpoles grow up to 6 cm in length. The body is entirely black with the tail almost three times the length of the body with narrow fins. Tadpoles may be found in flooded burrows during early stages of development. Eventually they are washed in to larger water bodies where they are usually located on the bottom close to aquatic vegetation which they use for cover when disturbed. Development time is from 2-3 months, occasionally longer.


Mainly on clay soils in forested areas in south-west Australia.


inornatus refers to the plain appearance of this species compared to other Heleioporus.


One of five species of Heleioporus in south-western Australia.

Distribution map for Whooping Frog

Found throughout the Darling Range and south to Nannup. An isolated population is found along the south coast between Walpole and Albany. Not found on the coastal plain.

A call of 'whoop' repeated 4-5 times in rapid succession.