Saturday, March 03, 2007

Litoria cyclorhyncha, one big happy frog.

The Spotted-thighed Frog is friendly and always ready for a goodtime.


In an earlier post I featured the Moaning Frog "8. How did the Moaning Frog get its name?
http://natureitems.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-did-moaning-frog-get-its-name.html and illustrated the pitfalls of their stressful life. However with the Spotted-thighed Frog, the situation is fortunately reversed.

This frog is one of the Tree-frogs, but is probably just as active on the ground. There are over sixty Litoria species in Australia, with close to twenty in WA, but most live in the wetter northern regions. Around Esperance we have two, the Slender Tree-frog (from an earlier blog) "7. Do frogs adapt their colouration?"


A relaxed handsome Spotted-thighed Frog.


The only other tree-frog from the genus Litoria in this part of the world, is the closely related Motorbike Frog, Litoria moorei, which is found exclusively to the west of Albany and around the wetter near coastal regions to Kalbarri (500 km north of Perth). They look identical, except the Motorbike Frog does not have the spots on the thighs like the southeastern Spotted-thighed Frog.


When the frog is sitting normally the spots usually cannot be seen, but when swimming they are obvious and contrast brightly against the black inside leg color (another feature of this frog).



The spotted-thighed frog is not only friendly, but also quick to take advantage of anything that can make life more pleasant. I have had up to five frogs soaking up the water as if they were in a sauna.



Naturally intelligent and quick to take advantage of circumstances, they can do very well for themselves.



As the spotted-thighed frog requires open water to lay its eggs, it is generally found close to permanent, or at least seasonally flooded areas. However, it is very hardy and can tolerate prolonged dry periods by remaining hidden and inactive during periods of low humidity (frogs absorb water through their skin).



During the cooler wetter months, these tree-frogs remain active on most nights, with some seeking the limelight by being obnoxiously obvious. Nevertheless, nothing gets in the way of breeding and the following jolly call is common around swamps and waterholes during spring.


These frogs will eat most invertebrates and the best hunting grounds tend to be closer to the ground, so it is at these lower levels they are more commonly found.

Spotted-thighed Frog, Litoria cyclorhyncha

Nevertheless, when predators like snakes also share these lower elevations, finding a comfy spot on a Banksia speciosa flower high off the ground, is not a bad place to be, providing you keep a lookout for the dreaded Tawny Frogmouth.



It may astonish some people, but frogs can lead interesting and exciting lives, plus adapt surprisingly quickly to take advantage of any introductions to their local environment. Having several frog species means your local environment is varied and in good condition, as habitat diversity will attract numerous insects to eat and provide cool places to hide during the day. So why not brighten your day and make a friendly frog near you happy!

9 comments:

Evan said...

Good to see another frog post, was missing them there for a while. This is a beautiful frog, and Western Australia is very lucky to still have members of the Litoria aurea complex remain very common.

They are so rare in the east now, and it is very sad considering they were once the most common tree frog in eastern Australia.

How many species of frog do you have around your place, and what are they? Do you have Myobatrachus gouldi?

Thanks,

Evan

Esperance Blog said...

Hi Evan, we have a number of frogs here, with one or two not officially recorded. This is probably due to the extensive mixture of wet/dry habitat in the area. I have never seen the Turtle Frog, but think I have heard its call, but am not 100% sure. It has been recorded about 30 km away, so I would say it was very likely here. I've gotta leave something to find! :)

Jack

huntervalley said...

What a fabulous frog!

The dry, sandy environment of SE WA is not a place one would associate at first glance with frogs. Taking the time to observe all the 'little things' that exist within our home range provides a true insight into the diversity of life surrounding us.

And regardless of the extent of species of plants, animals and invertebrates that live around us, there are always surprises :)

Thanks for showing us that frogs are still thriving.

Regards
Gaye

Esperance Blog said...

Thanks Huntervalley. It is truly amazing that a most unlikely looking habitat can provide perfect homes for some. Guess it is biodiversity at work.

Regards
Jack

MissAnthropy said...

It may astonish some people, but frogs can lead interesting and exciting lives, plus adapt surprisingly quickly to take advantage of any introductions to their local environment....

They sound nearly human (no insult intended to them ;) )

You know, how it is said that "rats" leave a sinking ship (before it sinks) and budgies are used to warn miners down the mine if it gets dangerous? I heard of some similar function that frogs apparently play with regard to the Environment...something like "sick and/or disappearing frog species = sick environment". Does that ring a bell?

So why not brighten your day and make a friendly frog near you happy!

How can I do that, other than kissing a frog?

Esperance Blog said...

>>So why not brighten your day and make a friendly frog near you happy!

How can I do that, other than kissing a frog?<<


Hi MissAnthropy
Well you could try that! I recall a case of a young woman who wished to marry a handsome prince, so she tried spending the night with a large frog. In the morning she was observed in a very dishevelled state screaming hysterically, "He lied! He lied! He lied!

However, the best way is to plant lots of native shrubs and don't be too neat with your gardening. Add a few rocks and a log or two, plus a few scattered shallow water dishes (containing rocks so any insect/reptile/etc has a chance of climbing out should they fall in). Simple.

Have fun
Jack

MissAnthropy said...

I recall a case of a young woman who wished to marry a handsome prince, so she tried spending the night with a large frog. In the morning she was observed in a very dishevelled state screaming hysterically, "He lied! He lied! He lied!

Teeeheeehee :D Reading your passionate pladoyers in defense of the Froggies, I think I may well finish up, trying to kiss a prince to reverse his metamorphosis ;-)



However, the best way is to plant lots of native shrubs and don't be too neat with your gardening....

No problems there, my middlename is "messy".


Add a few rocks and a log or two, plus a few scattered shallow water dishes (containing rocks so any insect/reptile/etc has a chance of climbing out should they fall in). Simple.

How big should the dishes be? And although I have a couple of bird baths the water of which I change regularily , I feel, that if I leave still water around, it's a fertile breeding ground for mosquitos (of whom there are many here)...will the froggies eat them all?

thanks again for your lovely work.
Back later next week.

Esperance Blog said...

>>How big should the dishes be? And although I have a couple of bird baths the water of which I change regularly , I feel, that if I leave still water around, it's a fertile breeding ground for mosquitos (of whom there are many here)...will the froggies eat them all?<<

Initially to find out what frogs you have, just bury to the top small plastic dishes like a shallow dog bowl. You can flush out the small amount of water with a watering can.

If they want to breed then the plastic lid of a rubbish bin is quite suitable and also can be flushed. So the water is changed either each day or 2-3 times a week. However make sure small critters can get out easily otherwise you will have a number of drowning on your hands.

Jack

mandaA said...

Hi I stumbled upon your page and was hoping you could help me and my children. We found this frog in our back yard and was hoping you could identify it for us?

http://s883.photobucket.com/albums/ac32/acousins2204/?action=view&current=iphone009.jpg

Hopefully the image works.