Rheobatrachus silus Liem, 1973:467

Southern gastric brooding frog, Platypus frog, Southern platypus frog, Southern platypusfrog, Conondale gastric-brooding frog



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last Record: 1983

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


According to (Phillips, 2013) scientists have grown embryos of the currently extinct Southern Gastric Brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus) in a donor frog.



Queensland (coastal north-east), Australia


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: aquatic, nocturnal, (closed forest), tall forest, lotic freshwater, predator; seasonal breeder, oviparous, torrent dweller, gastric brooder."

(Cogger et al., 1983:31)



Holotype: QM J22489 (Cogger et al., 1983:31)

Paratype: R32876 [ex DSL 6322]



A photo of a living individual can be seen in (Low & Booth, 2023:21).



Original scientific description:

Liem, D. S. (1973). A new genus of frog of the family Leptodactylidae from SE. Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 16(3): 459-470.


Other references:

Ananjeva, N. B., L. J. Borkin, I. S. Darevsky, and N. L. Orlov. (1988). Dictionary of Amphibians and Reptiles in Five Languages. Amphibians and Reptiles. Moscow: Russky Yazyk Publishers.

Barker, J., G. C. Grigg, and M. J. Tyler. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Edition 2. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Chezura, G. V. (1991a). The Blackall-Conandale Ranges: frogs, repriles and fauna conservation, pp. 311-324. in The RninJwesl Leguy. Vol. 2 ed by G. L. Werren and A. P. Kerrhaw. AGPS: Canberra.

Chezura, G. V. (1991b). The Twilight Zone. Wildl. Aurl. 28(4): 20-22.

Chezura, G. V. and Ingram, C. J. (1990). Taudactylus diurnus and the case of the disappearing frogs. Mem. Qld Mu. 29: 361-365.

Chivian, E., & Bernstein, A. (2008). Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends Upon Biodiversity. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations.

Cogger, Harold G., Cameron, Elizabeth E. and Cogger, Heather M. (1983). Myobatrachidae, pp. 12-34. In: Zoological Catalogue of Australia. I. Amphibia and Reptilia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. vi + 313 pp. [p. 31]

Corben, C. J., Ingram, G. J. and Tyler, Michael J. (1974). Gastric Brooding: Unique Form of Parental Care in an Australian Frog. Science 186 (4167): 946-947.

Couper, P. 1992. Hope for our missing frogs. Wildlife Australia. Brisbane 1992: 10–11.

Cutajar, Timothy P., Portway, Christopher D., Gillard, Grace L. and Rowley, Jodi J. L. (2022). Australian Frog Atlas: Species’ Distribution Maps Informed by the FrogID Dataset. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum Online 36: 1-48.

Davies, M. and Burton, T. C. (1982). Osteology and Myology of the Gastric Brooding Frog Rheobatrachus silus Liem (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Australian Journal of Zoology 30(4): 503 - 521. [Abstract]

Fanning, J. C., Tyler, M. J. and Shearman, D. J. (1982). Converting a stomach to a uterus: the microscopic structure of the stomach of the gastric brooding frog Rheobatrachus silus. Gastroenterology 82(1): 62-70. [Abstract]

Farman, Roy M., Archer, Michael and Hand, Suzanne J. (2023). A geometric morphometric analysis of variation in Australianfrog ilia and taxonomic interpretations. Journal of Morphology 284(10): e21642.

Frank, N., and E. Ramus. 1995. Complete Guide to Scientific and Common Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of the World. Pottsville, Pennsylvania: N. G. Publishing Inc.

Geyle, H. M., Hoskin, C. J., Bower, D. S., Catullo, R., Clulow, S., Driessen, M., Daniels, K., Garnett, S. T., Gilbert, D., & Heard, G. W. (2021). Red hot frogs: Identifying the Australian frogs most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology 28: 211-223.

Gibbins, I. F. and Tyler, M. J. (1983). Changes in the organisation of smooth muscle cells in the stomach of the gastric brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus, during brooding. Cell and Tissue Research 231: 451-456.

Groves, M. (2021, November 14). The rare frog that swallows its babies is now extinct—But could cloning bring it back? ABC News.

Hines, H., M. Mahony & K. McDonald 1999. An assessment of frog declines in wet subtropical Australia. In: Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. A. Campbell (ed) pp. 44-63. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Hoser, Raymond T. (1991). Endangered Animals of Australia. Mosman, NSW: Pierson & Co. 240 pp. [pp. 69-70]

Hutchinson, Mark N. and Maxson, Linda R. (1987). Biochemical studies on the relationships of the Gastric-brooding Frogs, genus Rheobatrachus. Amphibia-Reptilia 8(1): 1-11. [Abstract]

Ingram, G. 1983. Natural History. In: The Gastric Brooding Frog. M.J. Tyler (ed) pp. 16-35. Croom Helm, London.

Ingram, G.J. 1990. The mystery of the disappearing frog. Wildlife Australia 27(3): 6-7.

Ingram, G. J. (1991). The earliest record of the ?extinct Platypus Frog. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 30(3): 454.

Ingram, G.J. and McDonald, K.R. 1993. An update on the decline of Queenslands frogs. In: Lunney, D. and Ayers, D. (eds), Herpetology in Australia: a diverse discipline, pp. 297-303. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.

Ingram, G. J., A. E. O. Nattrass, and G. V. Czechura. 1993. Common names for Queensland frogs. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 33: 221-224.

Low, Tim and Booth, Carol. (2023). GONE: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s. Invasive Species Council Inc.

Meyer, E., Hines, H. and Hero, J. M. (2001). Southern Gastric Brooding Frog, Rheobatrachus silus. Wet Forest Frogs of South-east Queensland, pp. 34-35. Griffith University, Gold Coast.

Ed Meyer, David Newell, Harry Hines, Sarah May, Jean-Marc Hero, John Clarke, Frank Lemckert. 2004. Rheobatrachus silus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T19475A8896430. Accessed on 02 July 2022.

Phillips, Nicky. (2013). Extinct frog hops back into the gene pool. The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March (Saturday).

Regalado, Pedro Galán. (2015). Los Anfibios y Reptiles Extinguidos: Herpetofauna Desaparecida Desde el Año 1500. Monografías de la Universidade da Coruña 155: 1-509.

Richards, S.J., McDonald, K.R. and Alford, R.A. 1993. Declines in populations of Australia’s endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology: 66-77.

Shea, Glenn M. and Sadlier, Ross A. (1999). A catalogue of the non-fossil amphibian and reptile type specimens in the collection of the Australian Museum: types currently, previously and purportedly present. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum 15: 1-91.

Stuart, S. N., M. Hoffmann, J. Chanson, N. Cox, R. Berridge, P. Ramani, and B. Young (eds.). (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Barcelona, Spain; International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Gland. Switzerland; Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.: Lynx Editions.

Tyler, Michael J. (editor). (1983a). The Gastric Brooding Frog. London and Canberra: Croom Helm. 176 pp.

Tyler, Michael J. (1983b). Natural History, pp. 16-35. In: Tyler, Michael J. (ed.). The Gastric Brooding Frog. London and Canberra: Croom Helm. 176 pp.

Tyler, Michael J. (1984a). There's a frog in my mouth. Australian Natural History 21(5): 209.

Tyler, Michael J. (1984b). There's a Frog in my Mouth Stomach. Sydney: William Collins, 52 pp.

Tyler, M.J. 1989. Australian Frogs. Penguin Books, Victoria.

Tyler, Michael J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. Canberra: Wildlife Australia.

Tyer, Michael J. and Carter, David B. (1982). Oral birth of the young of the gastric brooding frog Rheobatrachus silus. Animal Behaviour 29(1): 280-282.

Tyler, M.J. and Davies, M. 1983. Larval development. In: Tyler, M.J. (ed.), The Gastric Brooding Frog, pp. 44-57. Croom Helm, London.

Tyler, M.J. and Davies, M. 1983. Superficial features. In: Tyler, M.J. (ed.), The Gastric Brooding Frog, pp. 5-15. Croom Helm, London.

Tyler, M.J. and Davies, M. 1985. The gastric brooding frog. In: Grigg, G., Shine, R. and Ehmann, H. (eds), Biology of Australasian Frogs and Reptiles, pp. 469-470. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney.

Tyler, Michael J. and Knight, Frank. (2009). Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia. Collingwood, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

MJ Tyler, DJ Shearman, R Franco, P O'Brien, RF Seamark and R Kelly. (1983). Inhibition of gastric acid secretion in the gastric brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus. Science 220(4597): 609-610. [Abstract]

University of Newcastle. (2013, November 22). Gastric Brooding Frog. The University of Newcastle, Australia.

White, Arthur. (2013). The Lazarus project: Australian scientists lead the way in trying to restore extinct species. Science Education News 62(1): 13-16. [Abstract]

Woinarski, John C. Z., Braby, M. F., Burbidge, A. A., Coates, D., Garnett, S. T., Fensham, R. J., Legge, S. M., McKenzie, N. L., Silcock, J L. and Murphy, B. P. (2019). Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of listed extinctions in Australia. Biological Conservation 239: 108261.


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