Forest Toadlet

Metacrinia nichollsi (Harrison 1927)

Species Info Card | Updated 9 years ago

A small short-bodied frog with short, thin legs, a tendency to run rather than hop and a rather sedate disposition. The undersurface is strikingly marked with dark purple and often has contrasting yellow or orange patches. The upper surface often shows brilliant orange patches in the groin, thigh and upper arms with a purplish back. Maximum size is 2.5 cm.

Breeding Biology

Development is entirely terrestrial with no need for free standing water. Males may call from high in bushes which is quite unusual for a terrestrial frog. Males also call from under leaf litter after spring and summer rains. There are reports of females of this species also calling. From 25-30 eggs are laid under cover in the leaf litter or under logs or stones in late summer.

The tadpole stage is skipped in this species; instead the young (miniatures of the adults) hatch directly out of the eggs after several months.


Karri forest amongst leaf litter and under rotten logs and rocks.


Named after G.E. Nicholls of UWA, an early 20th century contributor to frog taxonomy.


The striking belly pattern may mimic fungus, common among the leaf litter where this species is found. This species is related to the Turtle Frog and Sandhill Frogs, all of which crawl forward for locomotion and have direct-developing eggs without a tadpole stage.

Distribution map for Forest Toadlet

Far south-western forests, from Dunsborough south and east to Albany with an isolated population in the Stirling Ranges.

The call is a short and grating croak with a slight 'twang' to it.