Brown-striped frog and friends

A little while ago I did a post on the pressures and threats that frog species are facing worldwide: Global Frog Decline.

Hardly the most enjoyable post I've ever written. Happily, and in direct contrast to that, we're going to celebrate a small selection of N.QLD frogs that we found both here at home and a little further afield.

Australia has around 208 species of frog 61 of which call the tropics home (27 of these are endemic*). let's have alook at a few of them eh?

The Brown-striped frog isn't the most remarkable frog that I have ever encountered. Its 'nest' of spawn though is well worth a look if you can find any, hidden away under reeds and grasses at the waters edge as they usually are. But for me - it's the call of this frog that got my attention ...

Jo and I were sitting outside chatting about this and that when every so often there was a sound a little like a rock being dropped onto another rock ... "TOK". A short pause and then an answering "TOK". I was convinced it was frogs - Jo less so. And in Jo's defence, it really did sound man-made. She was sure someone was knocking something around and we were hearing an echo.

As the sun set the, errr ... Tokking continued. Eventually, we'd had enough and decided to investigate. After a little bit of gentle searching at the waters edge, Jo discovered our mysterious caller who I photographed.


Limnodynastes peronii


AKA Striped marsh frog


The beautiful bubble 'nest' of its spawn


I wish I had recorded the sound to share with you. Still as it already has two common names, I thought I'd add a third - I called it the 'Ping-pong' frog as the answered calls of the males reminded me of the sounds heard during a table-tennis match ... 'tok' ... 'tok' ... (you may have had to be there ...).

With one frog under our belt - we thought we'd head out looking for some more. So armed with head torch and cameras off we went. The very next frog was/is one of my favourites. A juv barred frog:


Mixophyes schevilli juv


I was thrilled to see this little guy - all fresh and with such superb markings. I did though really want to find an adult ... turns out the frog gods were with us as just a minute or two later a little away from the water ... awesomeness.


Adult


Flushed with success we pushed on and after following a small 'Beep' like sound we found this earnest little fellow:


Ornate Nursery Frog (Cophixalus ornatus) calling


About 30mm T.L


By now I was positively beaming. Jo and I were chattering away in hushed tones when just out of the corner of my eye I spied this next frog as it landed, somewhat precariously, on a pandan.

At first I thought it was a brown whistling frog - then maybe a juv little red frog Litoria rubella. But you know what I now think this is?. I think it could very well be a Whirring treefrog.


Litoria revelata?


Now identifying small frogs is fraught with difficulty and I could be wrong. But here is what the *Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland. 2000 3rd ed has in its I.D section for this frog:


Length 35mm. Blunt snout and moderately long legs. Cream-brown to red-brown on back sometimes with broad, brown stripe; groin and back of thigh orange with black spots. Dark stripe along head to forearm with pale stripe along upper jaw.

Fingers have only trace of webbing, toes half webbed.


Okay, so obviously this photo is only somewhat helpful, but generally when I photograph wildlife I do my best not to intrude physically on them. I don't pose them or otherwise bugger about ... still, I really wish I'd gotten a look at the coloration of the thighs on this one. And why? What makes this frog so 'special'?. Especially when I don't normally get maniacal about such things ...

Well, apparently its quite rare. And if it is indeed the species that I suspect it is, it may be important that we know its current range. This is all speculation of course. I'm not a taxonomist so I intend to send the photo off to someone who knows considerably more than myself. But the range is right and from the pic - the description seems to fit.

I guess we'll see eh?. On with the post ...

This next frog is the first frog Jo and I found when we moved to Oz. And I personally think it is one of Australia's prettiest. The graceful tree frog. It often appears in my posts, no more so than when I photographed some brave individuals seeking mates as a cyclone approached (Cyclone Frogs).

This one though is a regular. In fact, I know where he lives. Right next to the table I am currently writing this on. Hidden in a favorite leaf of a decorative, yet anonymous plant ...


Litoria gracilenta


This last frog is often misidentified. It mildly resembles another - as the calls are very much alike ... I did a post about that too: Raining Frogs.

This diminutive little frog is sometimes called a 'Banana frog', 'Sedge frog' and/or the 'Eastern dwarf frog' ... I like the last name best. It's a small frog - often overlooked. However, like all frogs - it's an indicator of our environments health. So it's always good to see them.


Litoria fallax


Well, that's about it for this post. Cheers for joining me on our froggy outing and thanks to all those who sent best wishes as I recover - much appreciated. Until next time - and as always, take care - Paul :)


During the 1980s, population declines were reported in Australian frog species and are severe in some areas. Many of the frogs that were reported as declining were high altitude, creek dwelling species that were remote from a changing ecology. This indicated that habitat loss and degradation were not responsible for all the declines; the cause is unknown but a diseases known as chytrid fungus may be a factor.

In some cases entire genera were found declining. Both species of gastric brooding frog are now classified as extinct and all but two species of Taudactylus are critically endangered (Taudactylus diurnus is classified as extinct and Taudactylus liemi is classified as near threatened).

Every species in the Philoria genus are currently declining and some species in the "Torrent Frog" complex (Litoria nannotis, Litoria lorica, Litoria nyakalensis and Litoria rheocola) have not been located for a number of years. As of 2006 three Australian species of frog are classified as extinct, 14 listed as critically endangered and 18 as endangered. Of the 14 critically endangered species 4 have not been recorded for over 15 years and may now be extinct. ^

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