The common name of the southern gastric-brooding frog refers to the extraordinary method of parental care. Mating occurred in the spring and the female then swallowed the eggs (4). Thus the larvae developed in her stomach; safe from digestion as the digestive system shut down completely (5). For the entire six to seven weeks of egg development the female did not eat, and when the young had metamorphosed into tiny frogs, they were expelled into the mouth and then crawled out and hopped away (4).
Feeding occurred both on land and in the water; small insects (2) were caught with the tongue, and the forelimbs were then used to manoeuvre the item into the mouth (2). The gastric-brooding frog was a strong swimmer, but it was not very active and often stayed still for hours, drifting or floating in the water (2).