Frog of the Week

Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea)

photo by LiquidGhoul

Common Name: Green and Golden Bell Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria aurea
Family: Hylidae – True Frog family
Locations: Australia
Introduced Locations: New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu
Male Size: 2.2 – 2.7 inches (57 – 69 mm)
Female Size: 2.5 – 4.2 inches (65 – 108 mm)

While the Green and Golden Bell Frog is a member of the tree frog family, they are a semi-aquatic species of frog. They like to perch on vegetation around water. The frogs breed during summer time from October through March. Reproduction is pretty standard for these fellas. The males will call from the water and the female will select a mate. Then the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position and she will lay her eggs. The female frog lays between 3 – 10 thousand eggs. The male will then fertilize the eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring.

The Green and Golden Bell Frog is naturally found along the southeastern coast of Australia but has expanded its range to other Pacific Islands including New Zealand. In New Zealand, they are found on the northern half of North Island. It’s hard to tell if these frogs are causing any problems in these new habitats.

The Green and Golden Bell Frog is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The frogs face a variety of threats. The wetlands that the frogs live in are being drained to make room for more houses. The Mosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki) has been introduced to the wetlands as well to control mosquito populations. Sadly, these fish also feed on tadpoles of frogs. Also Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) has been introduced to Australia and they can feed on adult frogs. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen that is devasting frog populations around the world, has been found in the frogs. This is likely causing some declines in the species.


Australian Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

Australian Green Tree Frog
photo by Frank Teigler

Common Name: Australian Green Tree Frog, White’s Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria caerulea
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea
Introduced Location: United States – Florida
Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

The Australian Green Tree Frog is a large, arboreal frog. They are known to eat mice and even bats in the wild! The Australian Green Tree Frog is not always green but can be brown or blueish in color. They change their colors to match their surroundings. Their scientific name – caerulea, comes from the blue color of the first specimens that were shipped to England in the 1700s. The tree frog is a common frog in the pet trade due to their hardiness and ease of care. They can be referred to as the White’s Tree Frog or Dumpy Tree Frog. The frog is named the Dumpy Frog after the fat deposits that can form on obese frogs’ head. If taken care of, the frogs can live over 15 years long. They have a huge appetite so if housing the Australian Green Frog with other frogs, make sure they are the same size. It is believed that the pet trade introduced the species to Florida but luckily, the frogs haven’t been spotted in Florida since 2010. Please never release your pets into the wild as it can have bad consequences.

Australian Green Tree Frog

Breeding for the Australian Green Tree Frog occurs during the rainy season for November to February. Males will call from water bodies to attract females. Once the females show up, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, she lays her eggs while the male fertilize them from behind. The female lays up to 2000 are laid. No parent provides any care. The eggs hatch shortly into tadpoles that take around 6 weeks to complete their metamorphosis before winter arrives.


Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii)

photo by fir0002

Common Name: Eastern Banjo Frog, Southern Banjo Frog, or Pobblebonk
Scientific Name: Limnodynastes dumerilii
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Locations: Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania
Size: 2 – 3.3 inches (50 – 85 mm)

The Eastern Banjo Frog is found in southeastern Australia and Tasmania. They received their name due to their call that sounds like a bonk from banjo being plucked. The frogs are also called Pobblebonk for that reason.

The frogs are fossorial and spend most of their time underground. They come up to the surface at night and during the rains. Breeding follows the rains from August to April. Females lay around 4000 eggs. Tadpoles take a long time to complete their metamorphism. In warm weather, it takes 4 – 5 months while in colder weather, it takes 12 – 15 months.

There are five different subspecies of the Eastern Banjo Frog. They vary in coloration, location, and the sound of their calls slightly. Below is a general map showing where the subspecies are.

map by Tnarg 12345

Limnodynastes dumerilii dumerilii in blue; Limnodynastes dumerilii grayi in red; Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis in green; Limnodynastes dumerilii fryi in pink and Limnodynastes dumerilii variegata in yellow. 

Limnodynastes dumerilii dumerilii has a orange stripe down its side and under its eye. It has a very distinguished BONK call.

Limnodynastes dumerilii grayi has more of a tok call instead of a bonk.

Snowy Mountains Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii fryi) is found only in the Snowy Mountains hence the name for the subspecies.

Southern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis) is the southern most subspecies of Eastern Banjo Frog. It has a blue coloration on their side.

Limnodynastes dumerilii variegata is distinguished by the area that they are found.


Frogs and Toads of Tasmania

Frogs and Toads of Tasmania

Tasmania is home to only 11 species of frogs and toads from two different families.

Hylidae – Tree Frog Family

Tasmanian Tree Frog (Litoria burrowsae)

The Tasmanian Tree Frog is a medium sized frog, averaging between 50 – 60 mm (2 – 2.3 inches). It is found in the western half of Tasmania and only there.

Southern Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingi)

The Southern Brown Tree Frog is the smallest of the tree frogs on the island, only reaching 45 mm (1.8 inches) long. It is found throughout Tasmania.

Growling Grass Frog / Southern Bell Frog / Warty Swamp Frog (Litoria raniformis)

The Growling Grass Frog is the largest tree frog on the island. The size ranges from 50 mm to 100 mm (2 – 4 inches). Found everywhere besides the southern coast.

Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog Family

Moss Froglet (Crinia nimbus)

The Moss Frog is found only in the southern coast. They average between 20 – 30 mm (.8 – 1.2 inches) long.

Eastern Common Froglet (Crinia signifera)

The Eastern Common Froglet is a small frog, ranging between 18 – 28 mm (.7 – 1.1 inches). They have a granular white marbled belly. It is found throughout the Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands.

Tasmanian Froglet (Crinia tasmaniensis)

The Tasmanian Froglet is a small froglet, ranging between 20 – 30 mm (.8 – 1.2 inches) long. The froglets have a rough red belly. They are found in the eastern half of Tasmania.

Southern Smooth Froglet (Geocrinia laevis)

The Southern Smooth Froglet is found in the northwestern part of Tasmania and Kings Island. They get their name from their smooth belly that helps identify them. They also have pink coloration in groin and armpits. They are a small frog only 20 – 35 mm (.8 – 1.4 inches) long.

Eastern Banjo Frog / Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerili)

The Eastern Banjo Frog is one of the largest frogs in Tasmania. It ranges between 50 – 85 mm (2 – 3.3 inches . It is found everywhere besides the southwest part of the island.

Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peroni)

Striped Frog is gold or brown in color with black or brown stripes down its back. It ranges in size from 45 – 75 mm (1.8 – 3 inches) long. It is found only in the northern coast of Tasmania and King Island.

Spotted Grass Frog / Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis)

The Spotted Grass Frog is named after its distinguishable spots covering its body. It ranges from 30 – 47 mm (1.2 – 1.9 inches). It is found only in the eastern part of the Tasmania and Flinders Island.

Southern Toadlet (Pseudophryne semimarmorata)

The Southern Toad is easy to identify if you look at their belly. It has bright red or yellow coloring on the throat, arms, legs, and low belly. On the upper belly, it is marbled. They range between 22 – 32 mm (.9 – 1.25 inches). They are found in the eastern half of Tasmania and Flinders Island.

Frog of the Week

Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iteratus)

Giant Barred Frog
image by Tnarg 12345

Common Name: Giant Barred Frog or Giant Barred River Frog
Scientific Name: Mixophyes iteratus
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Location: Australia
Size: 4.5 inches max (120 mm)

The Giant Barred Frog is one of the largest native frogs in Australia, though it is just an above average sized frog. It does not even make the list of the top 10 largest frogs in the world. It is found on the eastern coast of Australia from Sidney to Brisbane. The frog can be distinguished from other Barred Frog species because of its nicely colored golden iris.

They are a nocturnal species of frog, spending the day hidden amongst the leaf litter. At night, they come out to eat various invertebrates and the occasional frog.

Giant Barred Frog
photo by flickr user eyeweed

The Giant Barred Frog is a semi aquatic frog and usually live along stream edges in riparian forests. They breed in late spring and summer in Australia. After breeding in the stream, the female kicks the fertilized eggs up on the banks of the stream and out of the water. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles either fall or they wiggle their way into the water.

Giant Barred Frog Conservation

The Giant Barred Frog and a lot of Australian frogs are in danger of becoming extinct. It is listed as an endangered species both nationally and in Queensland. Also, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the frog as endangered. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly pathogen, is believed to be the primary cause of the decline of the frog. Some of the other threats to the frog are clearing of habitat for urban development and harvesting timber. Invasive or non native species, such as weeds and feral pigs, are also a problem. They can degrade the habitat, making it poor place to live. Better protections and conservation actions are needed to save the species.