Dainty Green Tree Frog

Litoria gracilenta (Peters, 1869)

Family: Hylidae - Tree Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Adult length: 45 mm
Litoria gracilenta. Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Other common names: Graceful tree frog




Coastal eastern Australia, from the tip of Cape York Peninsula south to Gosford, New South Wales. A population also occurs on the Louisiade Islands off the southern coast of New Guinea. Mainland New Guinean populations previously assigned to L. gracilenta represent separate species (Menzies & Tyler, 2004).



Adult: This fairly small species has a bright to dark green upperside and a contrasting, cream to bright yellow underside. The undersides of the digits and all webbing share this yellow colouration, and a diagnostic feature is the bright yellow upper arm, contrasting with a long green oval patch  on the upper surface of the lower arm. The backs of the thighs are maroon or purple-brown, rather than purple or orange. The most distinctive feature is the pale stripe across the top of the eye and over the tympanum (the canthal stripe).


Thigh colouration of Litoria gracilenta.

The dainty green tree frog has fully-webbed toes; fingers are three-quarters webbed. Toe discs are large. The skin is finely granular and covers the tympanum, which has a distinct rim. The eyes are orange. The second finger is longer than the first. Maxillary and vomerine teeth are both present, the latter between the choanae.

Eggs: Laid as a brown jelly clump on the water surface.

Call: A series of long, frequently repeated "waaah"s sounding somewhat like a baby's cry. Males call from low waterside vegetation in large breeding choruses during the summer.

Call recording Jean-Marc Hero. Used with permission.

Calling dainty green tree frog. This individual exhibits dark upper and cream underside colouration



Similar species: The dainty green tree frog is unique among Australian frogs in possessing a pale canthal stripe; additionally, its smaller size and the purple-brown (rather than purple or orange) backs to its thighs distinguish it from the red-eyed tree frogs Litoria chloris and L. xanthomera. L. gracilenta can be distinguished from New Guinean members of the L. gracilenta complex by its distribution, its typically larger size and its much broader head, and also from L. robinsonae in lacking either dark spots on the dorsum or an off-white inner iris.



Coastal or near-coastal regions where low vegetation is present. Associated with woodlands and moist forest, but commonly encountered on roadside vegetation after rain, in marshland and around ditches.



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

Menzies, J. I. & Tyler, M. J. (2004) Litoria gracilenta (Anura: Hylidae) and related species in New Guinea. Australian Journal of Zoology 52: 191-214

Oliver, P. M., Stuart-Fox, D. & Richards, S. J. (2008) A new species of treefrog (Hylidae, Litoria) from the southern lowlands of New Guinea. Current Herpetology 27(1): 35-42

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

Range            Description            Habitat            References

Dainty green tree frog. Townsville, Queensland, Australia.