Publication Details

Penman, T. D., Lemckert, F. & Mahony, M. (2008). Spatial ecology of the giant burrowing frog (Heleioporus australiacus): implications for conservation prescriptions. Australian Journal of Zoology, 56 179-186.


Management of threatened anurans requires an understanding of a species’ behaviour and habitat requirements in both the breeding and non-breeding environments. The giant burrowing frog (Heleioporus australiacus) is a threatened species in south-eastern Australia. Little is known about its habitat requirements, creating difficulties in developing management strategies for the species.Weradio-tracked 33 individual H. australiacus in order to determine their habitat use and behaviour. Data from 33 frogs followed for between 5 and 599 days show that individuals spend little time near (<15 m) their breeding sites (mean 4.7 days for males and 6.3 days for females annually). Most time is spent in distinct non-breeding activity areas 20–250m from the breeding sites. Activity areas of females were further from the breeding site (mean 143 m) than those of males (mean 99 m), but were not significantly different in size (overall mean 500m2; males 553m2; females 307m2). Within activity areas, each frog used 1–14 burrows repeatedly, which weterm home burrows. Existing prescriptions are inappropriate for this species and we propose protection of key populations in the landscape as a more appropriate means of protecting this species.



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