A small species of frog reaching up to nearly 2 cm in body length. It has a grey-brown, brown or yellow-brown back, with black mottling or patches. There is sometimes a pale longitudinal stripe along the middle of the back and indistinct eye-spots on the lower back. There is a small black stripe behind the eye. The belly is clear yellow or brown, with white and yellow specks on the throat. The pupil is horizontal and the iris is gold, with silver in the upper half. Fingers and toes are unwebbed, both with large discs.
Eggs are laid on land as a small cluster connected by a thin jelly string, under vegetation. The nest is guarded by the male, as it is with other Cophixalus species. Tadpoles never swim in water; instead they develop entirely inside the egg and hatch as little frogs. It is unknown how long they take to develop into frogs, but Cophixalus ornatus eggs have been recorded taking 28 days to hatch. Breeds during spring to summer after rain.
Looks most similar to Cophixalus aenigma in its distribution, but is smaller and has a slightly different call.
Photo: Anders Zimny
Found only in the northern mountains of the Wet Tropics region in QLD.