A small species of frog reaching up to 2.5 cm in body length. It has a dark brown or sand-coloured back, with dark brown mottling. There is sometimes a small, pale brown-yellow or pale pink stripe from the edge of the mouth to the arm. The belly is grey with white specks, and the male has a dark brown throat. The pupil is round, and the iris is gold or copper-coloured. Fingers and toes are unwebbed, both without discs. The parotoid glands are large and sometimes pale brown-yellow.
Eggs are unknown, but are likely to be similar to other species of Uperoleia and laid in shallow pools and drainage lines in floodplain areas. Tadpoles can reach a total length of up to 4 cm, and are brown in colour. They often remain at the bottom of water bodies. It is unknown how long they take to develop into frogs. Breeds during summer in the wet season.
Looks very similar to Uperoleia inundata and Uperoleia lithomoda in its distribution, but has a different call and also lacks a pale brown longitudinal stripe along the middle of the head as present in Uperoleia lithomoda. Uperoleia inundata is also generally larger than Uperoleia arenicola.
Photo: Marion Anstis
Found only on the western edge of Arnhem Land in the NT.