Frog of the Week

Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis)

Growling Grass Frog
photo by Tereza T

Common Name: Growling Grass Frog, Southern Bell Frog, Green and Gold Frog, and Warty Swamp Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria raniformis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Australia and Tasmania
Introduced Locations: New Zealand
Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

The Growling Grass Frog lives along marshes, ponds, and dams in southeastern Australia and northern Tasmania. They have been introduced to New Zealand, where they have spread across the island. Due to the frog’s size, they are problematic to the native fauna of New Zealand. The frog gets its name from the growling sounds it makes. The name changes depending on their location, most often being called the Southern Bell Frog.

The males call from spring into summer (August to February) with the peaks from September to December. They hope to attract the females to the ponds. Once a female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female frog lay up to 400 eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring. The tadpoles take 3 – 16 months to hatch, depending on location.

photo by Tnarg 12345

Growling Grass Frog Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Growling Grass Frog as Endangered. There are numerous reasons for the decline of the frog. Some blame the introduction of non-native fish such as Mosquitofish and carp, that feast upon the frog’s eggs. Another threat to looms over the frogs is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease. The disease has been found in populations of the Growling Grass Frog. Lastly, the destruction of the frog’s habitat is another key to their decline. With all these threats and the lack of support from Australia’s government, its hard to see a future for these frogs.

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