Nature conservation

Threatened species

Sphagnum Frog - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Philoria sphagnicolus
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 04 Jun 2018


Sphagnum frogs are small, ground-dwelling frogs, with males growing only to 35 mm and females to 37mm. Their colour varies from cream through various shades of yellow, orange and russet to black above, usually with a number of irregular flecks and patches. A dark-brown or black band bordered above by a thin white or cream line runs from the snout through the eye to the shoulder. There is another similar line along the flank, and a third band runs from the groin to the back. The belly is white to orange, often with darker brown to black mottling on the abdomen, throat and undersurface of the limbs. The skin is smooth or has a few low warts. Fingers and toes are free from webbing. The call is a low growl ‘creeerk’ or ‘gur..r..r..r..r’ like a golf ball rattling in a cup.


The Sphagnum Frog occurs as a series of fragmented populations along the  eastern escarpment of the Great Dividing Range in north-east NSW from Chaelundi State Forest south to Killabakh Nature Reserve near Comboyne.

Habitat and ecology

  • The habitat of the Sphagnum Frog is characterised by high moisture levels. They are typically found in high rainfall areas at high elevation in Sphagnum Moss beds or seepages on steep slopes. Habitat often occurs in rainforest (including Antarctic Beech forest) and wet sclerophyll forest. They can also occur at lower elevation (to about 250 m) in wet coastal foothills.
  • Sphagnum Frogs burrow in loose, moist soil or moss, under leaf litter often in soaks or seepages, or may use cracks and cavities behind and beside large or small waterfalls where the environment remains saturated with moisture.
  • They eat ants and other insects.
  • The Sphagnum Frog breeds in spring - summer and calls diurnally. Eggs are laid in moist locations such as rock crevices, under logs or in burrows in Shpagnum Moss. Larvae emerge from the nest after about one month.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None