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Frogs

Frog biology and ecology

Litoria Chloris

Frogs are amphibians. The first stage of life is spent in water as eggs and tadpoles. The tadpoles transform into frogs and move onto land but the adults remain dependant on freshwater for breeding.

Adult frogs breathe through their skin, mouth cavity and lungs. Tadpoles have gills.

The soft permeable skin of a frog is important for gas and water exchange. Glands help keep the skin moist and some excrete toxins to deter predators.

Frogs are “cold-blooded”. They cannot conserve or generate their own body temperature. Therefore the body temperature of a frog changes with the surrounding environment.

Frogs will often shelter during the day under logs, stones, loose bark, in vegetation or by burrowing in the ground. Then come out at night to hunt their prey.

A frog’s diet consists mostly of insects and other arthropods but can include lizards, small mammals and other frogs.

We do not often notice frogs until it rains and when we hear a chorus of calling frogs. Rain and warmer temperatures are cues for most frogs to breed, although there are several winter breeders that occur in the Shire also. The chorus we hear are male frogs calling to females and warning off other males from their breeding territory.

Frogs in Byron Shire

Byron Shire is home to 28 species of native frogs including four listed as threatened in NSW.

This means Byron Shire has one of the highest diversity of frogs in any one place in Australia.

Unfortunately, the Cane Toad, an introduced species which threatens native biodiversity, has also established in the area.

 

FamilyScientific NameCommon NameTSC ActEPBC ActOccurrence
Myobatrachidae Adelotus brevis Tusked Frog      
Myobatrachidae Assa darlingtoni Pouched Frog   Threatened  
Myobatrachidae Crinia signifera Common Eastern Froglet      
Myobatrachidae Crinia tinnula Wallum Froglet   Threatened  
Myobatrachidae Lechriodus fletcheri Fletcher’s Frog      
Myobatrachidae Limnodynastes ornatus Ornate Burrowing Frog      
Myobatrachidae Limnodynastes peronii Brown-striped Frog      
Myobatrachidae Limnodynastes terraereginae Northern Banjo Frog      
Myobatrachidae Limnodynastes tasmaniensis Spotted Grass Frog      
Myobatrachidae Mixophyes fasciolatus Great Barred Frog      
Myobatrachidae Philoria loveridgei Loveridge’s Frog   Threatened  
Myobatrachidae Pseudophryne coriacea Red-backed Toadlet      
Myobatrachidae Uperoleia fusca Dusky Toadlet      
Hylidae Litoria caerulea Green Tree Frog      
Hylidae Litoria chloris Red-eyed Tree Frog      
Hylidae Litoria dentata    Bleating Tree Frog       
Hylidae Litoria fallax Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog       
Hylidae Litoria freycineti Freycinet's Frog      
Hylidae Litoria gracilenta Dainty Green Tree Frog       
Hylidae Litoria latopalmata Broad-palmed Frog       
Hylidae Litoria lesueuri Lesueur’s Frog       
Hylidae Litoria nasuta Rocket Frog       
Hylidae Litoria olongburensis Wallum Sedge Frog   Threatened  
Hylidae Litoria pearsoniana Pearson's Tree Frog      
Hylidae Litoria peronii Peron’s Tree Frog       
Hylidae Litoria revelata Whirring Tree Frog      
Hylidae Litoria tyleri Tyler’s Tree Frog      
Hylidae Litoria verreauxii verreauxii Verreaux’s Frog       
Bufonidae Bufo marinus Cane Toad *      

* introduced species

Threats to frog survival include:

Litoria olongburensis

  • Anthropogenic climate change, drought and increased temperatures
  • Infection by amphibian chytrid fungus.
  • Destruction and degradation of coastal wetlands as a result of roadworks, coastal developments and sandmining.
  • Degradation of habitat due to changes in hydrological regimes and water quality e.g. modification to acidity and filling of wetlands and trampling by domestic stock.
  • Risk of local extinction due to small, scattered populations.
  • Isolation of populations through clearing and forest fragmentation.
  • Reduction of moisture levels resulting from road-works, logging, and too frequent burning associated with grazing.
  • Competition and predation by invasive species such as the cane toad
  • Pollution

Look after our local frogs

Lymnodynastes terrareginae

Protect and enhance frog habitat where you live. Some tips on how are available from the NPWS, How to create your own frog habitat, and from the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW Inc.

A major factor in the decline of frog populations is the spread of an infectious disease - Chytrid fungus. Frogs may contract the disease by direct contact with infected frogs or tadpoles or infected water. For this reason it is very important to observe a strict hygiene protocol around frog habitats. 

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service recommend:

  • Only touch frogs when absolutely necessary and if doing so use disposable gloves, plastic bags and sterile equipment.
  • Clean and dry all equipment and wet or muddy footwear before and between visiting frog sites. This may include cleaning the tyres of your vehicle before visiting known high-risk sites where threatened frog species may live.
  • Never move a frog from one area to another.

See the NPWS website for more information http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Frog+Chytrid+fungus

References

  • Byron Flora and Fauna Study 1999: A Report Prepared for Byron Shire Council
  • Anstis, M. 2002. Tadpoles of South-eastern Australia. Reed New Holland: Sydney.
  • Barker, J., G.C. Grigg and M.J. Tyler. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton.
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and amphibians of Australia. Reed Books: Sydney.
  • Robinson, M. 2004. A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia: From Port Augusta to Fraser Island including Tasmania. Australian Museum/Reed New Holland: Sydney.

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