There is increasing concern about the global decline of amphibians and reptiles. One problem with documenting declines and identifying underlying causes is the absence of historical data to compare to current data. Here we provide historic data for Kioloa on the south-eastern coast of New South Wales. In this region considerable clearing of natural forest and woodland and creation of farmland ponds took place during the second half of the 20th century. The Australian National University has a field station at Kioloa and R. E. Barwick introduced us to the field station and what was known of the herpetofauna in the mid-1980s. We undertook detailed observational surveys of the herpetofauna at this time and we revisited the area at other times, focusing on the coastal habitats. We found 13 species of frogs and 11 species of reptiles. Three further frog species and one reptile species known to occur in the area in the 1980s were not detected by us. More recently, one further frog species and six reptile species were added to the list, raising the total to 17 frog and 18 reptile species. The number and composition was similar to other locations of coastal New South Wales, except for some of the rarely encountered species. No strictly forest-dependent species were observed in the partially cleared survey area and such species presumably had already disappeared from these areas already before we commenced our observations. The frog Pseudophryne bibronii was still common in tall open-forest but was uncommon in partially cleared areas. Six species of frogs and one species of reptile presumably benefited from the anthropogenic habitat modifications. No declines of common species of reptiles occurred between the mid-1980s and 1993 but all species of frogs were very rare in 1993 due to very dry conditions. Litoria aurea, a threatened species of frog that was widespread in the mid-1980s, survives (2012) only at one site in the area.
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Vol. 62 • No. 1