Australian tree frog discovery

Litoria dentata

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

12 May, 2011 2:35PM AEST

Tree frog bleats its existence in Gippsland

By Celine Foenander

A frog which has never been seen before in Victoria has been discovered by an ecologist undertaking survey work in the Genoa River Valley near Mallacoota. The Bleating Tree Frog is usually found in New South Wales and Queensland.

Graeme Gillespie was commissioned by the Department of Sustainability and Environment to locate the Southern Barred Frog in waterways in far East Gippsland.

Little did he know he was to stumble across something very unusual.

“We were just driving along, stopping at various points on the road, listening to see what was calling from dams and from roadside pools and at one of the sites we stopped at, all of a sudden we heard that very distinctive call,” Graeme told ABC Gippsland’s Mornings program.

“My brain did a slight back-flip. I wasn’t quite sure what I was hearing at first.”

Graeme had heard the Bleating Tree Frog, Litoria dentata.

The species is known to call after heavy rainfall and on a warm night.

“The call of a frog is a very important part of identification. It’s also an important way of finding frogs. Some species you can only find when they’re calling, they’re very secretive,” Graeme said.

However, it wasn’t a lone call. There were two or three calls from a swampy area of a paddock and then a rousing chorus further along the road.

Graeme suspects the species may have in the area for a long time and never recorded.

“It’s really too far for a frog this size to migrate. Frogs are relative sedentary, they don’t really pack their bags and hop across the landscape, particularly in periods of drought,” he said.

“While there has been amphibian survey work, it hasn’t been a huge amount and it certainly hasn’t been comprehensive.”

The species is not endangered or threatened nationally.

May 2011: A new wildlife survey in an Australia Aboriginal reserve has identified not only a huge variety of wildlife, but has also discovered a new species of frog: here.

May 2011. In an historic inter-state operation led by scientists at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), 39 endangered Greater Stick-nest Rats have been airlifted from a remote island off the South Australian coast to their new home at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, about 350 kilometres north-east of Perth: here.

Tree-frog biodiversity warning for Amazon: here.

Two species of Epomis beetles deserve front-page headlines on the nature front news. The two beetles, E. dejeani and E. circumscriptus, readily dine on toads, frogs and salamanders: here.

3,000 amphibians, 160 land mammals remain undiscovered—that is if they don’t go extinct first [Mongabay]: here.

Amphibian disease risk higher in undisturbed habitats: here.

1 thought on “Australian tree frog discovery

  1. World`s rarest toads sighted at Udzungwa

    By Gerald Kitabu

    3rd June 2011

    Zoologists have found the rarest forest toad in the world living only in a small area of 300 sq metres at the Udzungwa Mountains, at the Eastern Arc Mountains in Morogoro Region.

    The discovery is a joint work between the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and a UK-based Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT), after carrying out a Rapid Ecological Assessment of key sites along the Udzungwa Scarp, a biodiversity hotspot threatened by deforestation in Kilombero and Kilolo districts.

    Project team leader Hamidu Seki from the TFCG, found several critically Endangered Wendy’s forest toads (Nectophrynoides wendyae), while carrying out research in the area where the species are believed to be restricted to an area of a forest that is half the size of a football pitch.

    Mike Bungard, who is a zoologist at Paignton Zoo Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates said: “This is not a newly-discovered population. It is fantastic to find evidence that they are still here. These species are thought to be hyper-endemic, which means they are found in one very small area and nowhere else in the world.”

    Seki said: “Sadly, there is no sign of the Poynton’s forest toad in the area where it was previously seen, though we are still searching. Small populations in small areas are very vulnerable to diseases or disasters”.

    Commenting, TFCG executive director Charles Meshack said the presence of such hyper-endemic species in Tanzania’s forests highlights how exceptional the country’s forests are.

    Unfortunately, he observed, there is evidence that the forest where the toad is found is being destroyed for timber and fuel wood while some species have disappeared from the forest due to hunting.

    “There is an urgent need for better forest management if we are to continue enjoying the services that our forests provide us,” he said.

    “Let us celebrate on Tanzania’s extraordinary forests, give them recognition and the protection they deserve,” he added.

    The Uzungwa Scarp Forest where Wendy’s forest toad is found, had previously been proposed to be included in the Eastern Arc Mountain World Heritage Site, a process that was stopped by President Jakaya Kikwete earlier this year.

    The Udzungwa Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, a series of 13 block mountains that stretch from southern Kenya to southern Tanzania.

    The arc’s forests form part of the region’s water catchment area for rivers such as the Ruvu, Rufiji, Pangani, Ruvuma, Wami and Malagarasi that supply water to much of Eastern Tanzania, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.



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