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Ornate burrowing frog facts for kids

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Ornate burrowing frog
Ornate Burrowing Frog (Platyplectrum ornatus) (22681123617).jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Limnodynastes ornatus distibution.png
Range of the ornate burrowing frog (Platyplectrum ornatus).
  • Limnodynastes ornatus
  • Opisthodon ornastus Günther, 1859

The ornate burrowing frog (Platyplectrum ornatum) is a species of ground frog native to Australia. It was moved to the genus Opisthodon in 2006, following a major revision of amphibians, and is now classified in the genus Platyplectrum.


A male ornate burrowing frog calling

This frog is a relatively small and stubby species, growing no larger than 50 mm. It ranges in colour from grey to brown to yellow, and the dorsal surface patterns vary greatly between specimens. There is usually a butterfly-shaped patch behind the eyes. The dorsum is generally covered with red-tipped warts, and skin folds are present towards the head. The legs and arms are barred or spotted with darker markings. Toes have a slight webbing, while fingers have none.

Ecology and behaviour

This species distribution ranges from western Sydney to Cape York in Queensland, running along either side of the Great Dividing Range across to Western Australia. It occurs in both wet sclerophyll forest in coastal areas and in woodland in more arid regions. As its name suggest, this species of frog burrows. It burrows feet first, enlarged tubercles on the frogs feet help them in scraping out soil. This species is usually only seen after heavy rain during spring or summer. Males call while floating in still water bodies such as dams, puddles and flooded grassland. The call is a short, nasal "unk" repeated slowly.


Breeding occurs only after heavy rain. Up to 1600 eggs are deposited in a small, dome shaped foam mass that soon collapses into a single floating film layer of eggs and jelly. Tadpoles reach 50mm but commonly only reach 36 mm in length. The dorsum is a dusky grey or brown. The side of the body has silver and/or gold flecking and the tail has grey-silver flecks.

Similar species

This species looks very similar to Spencer's burrowing frog, Opisthodon spenceri and some Neobatrachus species. It is distinguished from all of these species by the reduced webbing and mating call.

  • Anstis, M. 2002. Tadpoles of South-eastern Australia. Reed New Holland: Sydney.
  • Barker, J.; Grigg, G.C.; Tyler, M.J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons.
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