Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog
Litoria fallax (Peters, 1880)

Family: Hylidae - Tree Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Adult length: 25 mm
Eastern dwarf tree frog, calling male. Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Note the granular belly skin.
RANGE

Along coastal and near-coastal areas of eastern Australia, from Cairns in north Queensland to southern New South Wales and Fraser Island. The species occurs over a range of around 300,000 km2.

Other common names: Eastern sedge frog, green reed frog

 

DESCRIPTION

Adult: A small, elongated, robust tree frog that is typically green but may be brown or olive; the legs may be fawn, regardless of ground colour. Occasionally darker spots may be scattered on the dorsum. The ventral surface is white, and the groin and backs of the thighs are orange. A bronze stripe is present running from the nostril to the eye, and there is typically a wider brown stripe from the prominent, brown tympanum to the base of the forearm. A thick white band runs from the forearm along the upper lip. The fingers are nearly unwebbed; toes are half to three-quarters webbed, with distinct discs. Webbing on the feet reaches the base of the first toe. The belly skin is granular; that above is smooth. Vomerine teeth are present, maxillary teeth absent.

 

Lateral view of Litoria fallax. Note the patterning.

Eggs: Light brown in colour, laid in small clumps attached to vegetation at the water surface.

Call: A rather mechanical 'wreek", sounding something like clockwork being wound, followed by a series of one or two ratchet-like "pip"s. The call is often continuous, and may be heard both day and night.

Similar species: Very similar to the northern dwarf treefrog (L. bicolor), which possesses a bronze mid-dorsal stripe, absent in L. fallax. L. bicolor is slightly larger, with a narrower head, often darker or brown green above, and the webbing on the feet does not reach the base of the first toe. The call of L. bicolor sounds somewhat insect-like, is faster and less mechanical than that of L. fallax. Most similarly-sized green frogs in the eastern dwarf treefrog's range lack a white labial stripe. The Cooloola tree frog (L. cooloolensis) has a densely-spotted dorsum and the back of the thigh is not orange. The Olongburra tree frog (L. olongurensis) has brown speckling on its

                                         throat; the throat of L. fallax is unspeckled.

Note the absence of a stripe or spots on the dorsum.

 

 

 

HABITAT

 

This is an opportunistic species of standing water, often associated with dams, suburban garden ponds and introduced waterside vegetation. It occurs in habitats from agricultural land to swamps, lagoons, small creeks and open woodland.

 

 

BEHAVIOUR

 

Arboreal in short waterside vegetation, often rushes (Typha sp.). Animals often select shelter sites some distance from water, in the leaf axils of pandanus, banana and other plants.

 

Breeding season: This species may be heard calling almost throughout the year in the tropical portion of its range; elsewhere it is mostly active from October to April.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Wildlife of Tropical Queensland, The Queensland Museum 2000

Cogger, H. G. (2000) Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, 6th Edition. Ralph Curtis Publishing: 808 pp

Hero, J-M., Meyer, M. and Clarke, J. (2004). Litoria fallax. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Robinson, M. (1993) A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia, Reed New Holland

Call recording Jean-Marc Hero. Used with permission.
            Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            References