NOTES ON A FIELD TRIP TO GENOA IN NORTH-EAST VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA) – WITH PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON THE GREEN AND GOLDEN BELL FROG (LITORIA AUREA) WITH REFERENCE TO OTHER TRIPS TO THE AREA.
Raymond T. Hoser,41 Village Avenue, Doncaster, Victoria, 3108, Australia.
Phone: +61 3 XXX Fax: +61 3 XXX E-mail:
Originally published in The Reptilian (UK) 6 (3-4) 2000.
During the period 4th November 1995 to 7th November 1995, I went from Melbourne in southern Australia to Genoa Lat. 37° 29’ Long. 149° 35’ in far north-east Victoria. The area is about six hours drive from Melbourne. I was with another Melbourne-based herpetologist, Rob Valentic. We had been notified prior to our arrival by local herpetologist Clinton Logan that many frogs were active on his property adjoining the Genoa River.
The volume and diversity of frog species encountered during the visit to the area was substantial by Victorian standards. The heavy rainfall that coincided with our visit was conducive to frogging as many species appear to rely upon these rains for breeding purposes. ‘Within Victoria, the area of greatest abundance of anurans is warm, moist east Gippsland with more than seventeen taxa’ (Rawlinson 1971).
The area was about 25 km inland from the coast of the south Pacific Ocean. The habitat around the property consisted of hilly eucalypt forest in a relatively pristine state.
Vegetation included areas of woodland with minimal understorey other than native grasses, ranging to temperate rainforest in shaded gullies. Some areas had granite outcrops, particularly along major watercourses and peaks of major hills. Elevated areas often had scrubby heath vegetation.
This article later deals with observations relating to the Green and Golden Bell Frog for several reasons. The species is on the New South Wales (NSW) National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Endangered Species List (Schedule 12)(White 1995a). It used to be regarded as common. The frog remains common in north-east Victoria (Hero, Littlejohn and Marantelli 1991, Gillespie, 1996), where it is usually found at low altitudes (Gillespie, Humphries, Horrocks, Lobert, and McLaughlin, 1992). The species is also feral in New Zealand and elsewhere and breeds readily in captivity.
A number of reasons have been put foreward for the alleged decline in L. aurea in NSW, including the so-called hole in the ozone layer, pollutants, and introduced viruses. Local declines caused by feral fish and other pests, while contributing factors are not regarded by this author as a recent cause of overall decline.
In relation to L. aurea numbers, observations by the three of us in the Genoa area, indicate that within a stable and healthy population, there can be vast swings in numbers of frogs observed. It is possible for a person to observe huge numbers at one time of year and none at another. This could lead to erroneous conclusions about the status of a population of these frogs.
The accounts of other species of reptile and frog in this article do not carry descriptive information. Instead I seek to rely upon the photos in order to do most of this for us and/or direct people to seek descriptions from some of the sources cited at the end of the paper. As inferred, further details about named species can be found in some of the cited references at the end of the article, including Hoser (1989) and Cogger (1992).
On all days it was essentially wet and rainy, with rare clear and/or sunny breaks. Maximum air temperatures were about 20° C, except for one day when it reached 23° C. These temperatures were taken at the time of observations so even if different to official temperatures, were accurate for this area. Thermometers were supplied by a fellow herpetologist Neil Davie. Even by local standards rainfall was substantial over the period and measured by locals on rain gauges at between 75 to 150 mm. with local and widespread flooding. Much rain was through thunderstorms as well as general rains. At all times weather conditions were humid. All ground in the area was saturated including at higher elevations and much water was draining over the surface. (That week Genoa had the highest rainfall in Australia, registering about 300 mm, (1 foot)).
We stopped at various sites to search for reptiles and frogs. All of the stops were relatively brief. A detailed listing of specimens seen follows:-
Date (day-month-year): 04/11/95
Time: 11:30-11:40 hrs. (Eastern Summer Time).
Location: 4 km. west of Dargo Road Turnoff on main Princes Highway in Gippsland, Victoria, Lat. 37° 55’ Long. 147° 15’.
Habitat: Swamp on the side of the road with burnt out environs, with numerous dead logs on the ground, which were blackened. There was little in the way of ground cover other than sedge grasses and scattered logs. There was no major undergrowth. Dominant plants included eucalypts and banksias on sandy, well-drained soil.
Weather conditions: Dry, overcast, with over 90% cloud cover, slight breeze.
Air temp: 21° C.
Other information: The swamp was full of tannin stained water.
4 Water Skinks Eulamprus tympanum, with yellow flushes and a pronounced black reticulated pattern ventrally. 2 adults, 2 juveniles, all found sheltered beneath logs.
4 Garden Skinks Lampropholis delicata adults, active and under cover.
4 Weasel Skinks Saproscincus mustelina adults, under cover.
1 Eastern Banjo Frog Limnodynastes dumerilii male found under a log on the edge of the swamp with freshly laid spawn. The eggs showed no signs of having developed tadpoles. No female was seen.
1 Spotted Grass Frog Limnodynastes tasmaniensis, sheltered beneath a log.
2 Common Eastern Froglets Ranidella signifera, found under cover.
Time: 14:00-14:25 hrs..
Location: About 65 km. before Cann River, near Mount Raymond National Park, adjacent to the Princes Highway, north-east Victoria Lat.37° 43’ Long 148° 42’.
Habitat: Gently sloping area, with a westerly aspect, adjacent to a large linear swamp. The area had been burnt out and had blackened trees, and numerous fallen logs. There was little in the way of grasses and regrowth. The slope was mainly vegetated with eucalypts and bracken, while the swamp had thick Tea tree Melaleuca sp. thickets.
Weather Conditions: Humid and sunny, even though there was a cloud cover of about 80%. It was sunny at the time of the search.
Air Temp.: 21° C.
Other Information: About 25-30 minutes after the termination of the search of this area, we encountered a major thunderstorm at Cann River. This storm was violent and torrential to the extreme and appeared to be associated with some form of frontal system. There was a torrential downpour and hailstones of a magnitude rarely observed anywhere. This storm did not hit Genoa, some distance up the road, (C. Logan pers. com. 1995) although the whole of eastern Victoria experienced widespread rain and flooding over the following four days.
1 - Water Skink Eulamprus tympanum adult and under cover.
1 - White’s Skink Egernia whitii.
5 - Garden Skinks Lampropholis delicata active and under cover.
5 - Grass Skinks Lampropholis guichenoti active and under cover.
ROAD KILLS - DEAD ON ROAD (D.O.R.) SEEN ON 04/11/95.
1 - Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porhyriacus adult male measuring approx. 1700 mm. total length, killed about 2 hours (estimate) before being found. It was found on the Melbourne side of Lakes Entrance on the main Princes Highway, Lat. 37° 51’ Long. 147° 56’, between 13.00 and 14.00 hrs.
1 - Eastern Tiger Snake Notechis scutatus. An adult male measuring approx. 1580 mm. total length. It was killed within 10 minutes of being found some 20 km. before Cann River on the main Princes Highway, Lat. 37° 35’ Long. 148° 58’ at about 15.00 hrs. The snake was dorsally dark brown in colour, with faint bands. It appeared to be in good condition.
1 - Pseudechis porphyriacus adult male approx. 1140 mm. total length. It was found at 16.00 hrs. and had been freshly killed (within ten minutes). It was seen on the main highway, 5 km. north of Cann River Lat. 37° 34’ Long. 149° 13’.
Time: 17:00-18:00 hrs..
Location: At property of Clinton Logan and family, which is 18 km off the Princes Highway up a dirt track called Jones Creek Track Lat. 37° 20’ Long 149° 28’. The property of 63.5 hectares (=152.5 acres) straddles the Genoa River and abuts Coopracambra National Park.
Habitat: Immediately around the house was semi-cleared and grassy and surrounded by forest on three sides (the river and Jones Creek, a tributary on the fourth) with the habitat around the house being grassy, cropped by a horse and with some loose tin and other cover on the ground. The feral blackberry clusters provided ideal habitat for a large population of Red-bellied Black Snakes that no doubt fed on the multitude of frogs cohabiting the area. Habitat to one side of this cleared area included a seepage that had filled with water to form a series of linked ponds running into the river. Habitat of the River (on 04/11/95 at time of search) was relatively barren with shallow clear flowing water and rock strewn stretches to one side of the river bank and on the same side as the property of Clinton Logan.
Weather Conditions: Cool, no wind and overcast. 100% cloud cover.
Air Temp.: 16° C.
40 Lesueur’s Tree Frogs Litoria lesueuri. All were small specimens, found resting under large pebble-like rocks, in or adjacent to the river bed.
1 adult male Blue Mountains Tree Frog Litoria citropa. It was under a stone along the exposed river bed.
1 Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea. The female was basking in the open on a log in the seepage area noted above.
1 Common Froglet Ranidella signifera found in the seepage area noted above. Found under a log.
6 Garden Skinks Lampropholis delicata found adjacent to house under tin and other ground debris.
2 Grass Skink Lampropholis guichenoti found under cover near house.
2 Weasel Skinks Saproscincus mustelina found under cover near house.
SPOTLIGHTING ON NIGHT OF 04/11/95
Weather conditions were either raining, drizzling or not raining but very humid and with near total cloud cover (100%) at most times. The moon in the sky could only rarely be seen through the cloud. Air temp. ranged from 16° C at the start of the night to 14° C later in the night. The search went from 22:00 hrs. to 02:00 hrs..
Location: A dam on the property (referred to as the upper dam).
Habitat: A large open dam of approx. 1 hectare, with discarded tyres built into a retaining wall and dense vegetation on other three sides, including tussock grasses, a few bullrushes and sapling Melaleuca.
Weather Conditions: Air temp. was 16° C.. There was light rain.
Approximately 500 Peron’s Tree Frogs Litoria peroni. Most were seen perched on rubber tyres on the dam wall which was devoid of vegetation. Some tyres had up to three frogs on them. There were about 100 tyres in the site and the chorus of frogs was deafening. Some frogs on tyres were in amplexus.
8 Green and Golden Bell Frogs Litoria aurea in the heavily vegetated parts of the dam edges. A single specimen was seen in an exposed open area.
1 male Haswell’s Froglet Crinia haswelli, seen while calling in a clump of Wallaby grass.
1 Whistling Tree Frog Litoria verreauxii
2 Common Froglets Ranidella signifera
Area traveled: From the Logan’s property to the Princes Highway, then on to the Gypsy Point Hotel, situated on a tidal estuary and then back again. Rain had ceased at the start of this drive and then the sky cleared to some extent with cloud cover going from 100% to 50% and then building up to 100% at the end of the drive. After arrival at Logan’s house at about 02:00 hrs., there was torrential rain for the remainder of the night. Air temperature dropped during the drive from 16° C to 14° C. All frogs were found moving across the road.
Approx. 40 Peron’s Tree Frogs Litoria peroni
3 Haswell’s Froglets Crinia haswelli
12 Green and Golden Bell Frogs Litoria aurea, most were found in an area where a swamp runs under the Princes Highway, near Genoa Falls, and more significantly adjacent to two dams and adjoining swamps at the Genoa end of the Gypsy Point road. One large female was found in high sandy forested habitat along the Jones Creek Road, while two were found near the Gypsy Point Hotel, which has a large swamp situated on the opposite side of the road.
1 Lesueur’s Tree Frog Litoria lesueuri, large adult.
2 Striped Marsh Frogs Limnodynastes peroni
2 Blue Mountains Tree Frogs Litoria citropa adults. Found in a single flat area of relatively distinctive Melaleuca and Swamp Stringybark Trees Eucalyptus sp.
2 Blue Mountains Tree Frogs Litoria citropa, juveniles. We found them in pools along the dirt road track in the same area as the adults above.
20 Pobblebonk/Banjo Frogs Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis.
1 Brown Tree Frog Litoria ewingii
Among the above, 10 Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis, 10 Litoria peroni and 1 Limnodynastes peroni were D.O.R., with most D.O.R.’s being found on the Gypsy Point Road, near the Genoa end. Traffic that night had been light to moderate in the area.
When photos of Litoria citropa were taken a pair were induced into amplexus, but none were seen in this state in the wild. The only frogs directly observed in the wild in amplexus at any stage were Litoria peroni. As a result of the amplexus an estimated 50 fertilized eggs were produced. (Amplexus in breeding frogs is usually easily induced by placing a pair in a small container with water, whereby the swimming frogs cross paths and subsequently couple).
SUNDAY - 05/11/95.
Searches during the day around the property of Clinton Logan and nearby sites. Air temps, were in the mid to high teens ° C for most of the day.
SITE 1 ON DAY
Location: Seepage and small permanent dam just beyond two large dams on the road out of Clinton’s property.
Habitat: A swampy area with lots of surface water, seepage’s and soaks with much tussock grass and ground cover with scattered trees. The trees were a type of Blue Gum. Most hard ground cover was in the form of logs.
Time: 15:00-15:30 hrs.
2 Martin’s Toadlets Toadlets Uperoleia martini. (smaller pair - see below) - both found under a sheet of tin which was partially submerged in water in a shallow roadside ditch.
1 She-oak Skink Cyclodomorphus casuarinae. Missing the end of it’s tail. It was a subadult.
10 Lampropholis delicata
2 Litoria peroni
1 Litoria aurea on a branch overhanging the water in a small dam and exposed to sunlight, etc., although the weather at the time was cloudy and drizzling. This species of frog is notable for it’s well documented habit of diurnally basking.
SITE 2 ON DAY
Location: Tasker’s block. 16 km along Jones Creek Road from Princes Highway.
Habitat: Includes a cleared paddock followed by a wooded area. A dam is located in a gully abutting the wooded area.
Weather at time: Overcast but very bright with the sun attempting to break through the clouds, while there was a persistent light drizzle. The time of the search was from 15.40-16.10 hrs.
10 Lampropholis delicata seen sheltering beneath water soaked timber.
1 DEAD Litoria peroni in the dam. It was revealed that the owner of the property had laid a large amount of poison on his property. This may have caused the death of the above frog through seepage of toxin into the dam. Idiot farming practices like this are still too common in Australia.
1 Limnodynastes dumerili under a log next to the dam.
1 Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porphyriacus - 1.5 metre adult female, found basking in drizzle in the open adjacent to a pile of logs along the dam edge.
SITE 3 ON DAY
Location: In a State Forest on Horse Hill track (off Jones Creek Road) on Horse Hill.
Habitat: Elevated and sloped dry sclerophyll forest area with scattered granite outcroppings.
1 Jacky Dragon Lizard Amphibolurus muricatus. An adult female was seen perched on a fallen log in cold drizzly weather. The lizard was of unusual pattern and appeared lethargic and sick.
SITE 4 ON DAY.
Location: An adjacent property owned by neighbors of Clinton Logan, (Lat. 37° 26 Long. 149° 29’). The people were locally known as the ‘God Squad’ due to their bible reading habits and biblical interpretations on life. The Logan’s and other herpetologists were known as ‘heathens!’ The ‘God Squad’ consisted of husband, wife and an army of kids with unusual ideas about life and religion.
Weather: At the time it was cool and drizzly, with 100% cloud cover.
Habitat: Cleared land surrounded on three sides by forest and on the fourth by the Genoa River. Around the property was strewn piles of sheets of tin (that habitat God created for herps), logs and other cover.
1 - She-oak Skink Cyclodomorphus casuarinae (subadult with regenerated tail).
10 - Lampropholis delicata
1 - Southern Toadlet Pseudophryne dendyi found beneath a burn’t log.
1 - Toadlet Uperoleia martini with the Southern Toadlet under the same burnt log.
1 - Litoria peroni
4 - Litoria lesueuri (small specimens).
All were found under cover.
The ‘God squad’ regarded She-oak Skinks with a sort of religious significance. They called them ‘false snakes’ and killed them on sight.
The Uperoleia and the P. dendyi found at the above site were found under a large burnt blackened log in a heavily burnt area adjacent to a rubbish dumping site and nowhere near any surface water and on a hill.
Several sites inspected along the road between Clinton Logan’s house and the main Princes Highway. Weather conditions ranged from overcast to drizzle with occasional sunny breaks. At one stage the air temp. hit 23° C, but for most of the day hovered in the upper teens ° C.
1 - Lace Monitor Varanus varius - in tree and sought refuge in upper tree hollow. On this trip, this was the only one seen. However this was due to the relatively cool and wet weather. In sunnier conditions these Monitors are extremely common and frequently seen. They usually are seen on the ground and then take to the nearest tree. Gippsland specimens tend to be among the bulkiest in Australia. They also tend to be very dark in colour.
1 - Pseudechis porphyriacus, an adult male seen in the open, basking on the edge of a track. It was nearly 2 metres in length.
1 - Litoria aurea basking on a fallen log over the dam (see below).
1 - Pseudophryne dendyi
1 - Amphibolurus muricatus.
3 - Black Rock Skinks Egernia saxatilis, two juveniles, one adult.
50 - Lampropholis delicata
20 - Lampropholis guichenoti
20 - Saproscincus mustelina
From Clinton Logan’s property to main princes Highway, then north to about 2 km past the turn off for Genoa Falls exit and then back again (one sweep only) with two stops along the way and searching with torches in the swamps at those two stops. Both sites were along the Jones Creek road between Clinton Logan’s house and the main Princes Highway.
Weather on the night was cool and clear with an exposed near-full moon. The ground was still saturated wet and there was pools of water everywhere. There had been a major thunderstorm in the area of Clinton Logan’s house that afternoon, but it did not hit the nearby areas that ran onto the main Princes Highway, with the main part of the storm passing across the western side of Logan’s property.
The storm had also had hailstones and this had contributed to a temperature drop at the time although all areas seemed to have the same fall by the time the night drive was done.
Drive comenced from 20.30 to 22.30 hrs. and the air temps. ranged from 16° C at the start of the drive to 12° C at the end.
10 - Limnodynastes dumerili, 8 on road, 2 in dam.
1 - Litoria citropa adult.
1 - Litoria citropa half grown.
1 - Litoria aurea - on the Princes Highway north of Genoa Falls exit (3 L. aurea were found in this immediate area on night drive two nights earlier and the area is characterised by roadside ditches and a large linear swamp that runs across the road).
2 - Verreaux’s Tree frog Litoria verrauxii ( male, one female, both in dam.
1 - Litoria verrauxii(female) on road.
30 - Litoria peroni (20 in swamps/dams, 10 on roads).
20 - Litoria lesueuri - all on roads and mainly smaller ones.
1 - Toadlet or Ranidella frog seen hopping on road by Raymond Hoser after he jumped out of car to grab a Litoria peroni. The frog was not identified as it hopped away and wasn’t caught.
10 - Haswell’s frogs - all in one dam.
TUESDAY 7/11/95 DRIVE BACK TO MELBOURNE
The only species seen were two live reptiles seen on or adjacent to the Jones Creek Track, from Clinton Logan’s place back to the main Princes Highway.
These were one adult Jacky Dragon Amphibolurus muricatus seen basking on a fallen log at the side of the road, 2 km from Logan’s house. A the time was overcast yet sunny with an air temp. of 18° C.
Later a 1.4 metre (total length) Pseudechis porphyriacus was seen crossing the dirt road. The snake turned on itself and fled into thick vegetation in a low lying area adjacent to a cleared forest. At this time the air temp. was still 18° C and it was still sunny although there was a light drizzle. This was seen shortly after the A. muricatus and closer to the main Princes Highway.
It rained for most of the trip back to Melbourne, particularly after Lakes Entrance. Both above reptiles were seen between 11.00 hrs. and 12 noon.
Both myself and Rob Valentic have made subseqent trips to the area (Myself 2 trips December 27th 1995/January 18th 1996, Rob Valentic Easter 1996, February 1997). Clinton Logan, the resident herpetologist, Valentic and myself have caught numbers of other reptiles and frogs, as well as those species mentioned above.
FURTHER ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea.
These frogs seem to be most common in areas such as disturbed grazing country and associated dams. Preferred dams have dense vegetation at the edges, even if this consists only of grasses. The area adjacent to Gypsy Point Road, where these frogs were most common was cleared grazing country (with few trees), and a large number of grazing dairy cows. The fact that the dams and adjacent swamps were full of cow droppings seemed of no consequence to the L. aurea and may in fact be a preferred habitat. This area was a heavily grazed, undulating river flood plain, of the Genoa River. Similar flood plains (with swamps and permenant dams) south-west of Genoa along the main Princes Highway towards Orbost also had huge numbers of L. aurea.
Similar, highly disturbed habitat has been noted as preferred habitat in areas south of Genoa, where a comparison of numbers of frogs between areas was made. On January 18th 1996, by day, I checked a number of swamps, creeks and other habitats for L. aurea between Genoa and Orbost (to the south-west) and noticed a consistent preference for heavily grazed river flat swamps, which were among the most disturbed of habitats. These areas while heavily grazed, retained a huge amount of riparian vegetation, rushes and other potential cover on the periphery of dams and swamps. As a rule, L. aurea did not occur around creeks and other fast flowing bodies of water or more pristine habitats. However specific pristine swamps inhabited by the species (because we have caught them there at night) were investigated and few were seen, but this was probably due in part to the difficulty in locating frogs due to the extremely dense vegetation. The are sometimes only detected by the sound of them splashing into the water while disturbed basking on emergent vegetation or logs.
The tolerance and/or preference of Litoria aurea for disturbed and sometimes degraded habitat has been noted by a number of authors including; Greer and Byrne 1995, White 1995, Wright 1996 and is not contradicted by our own observations.
Numbers and size classes of Litoria aurea seen in the Genoa area undergo a strong seasonal shift in terms of both numbers physically present and those physically observed.
In late Spring, (October/November) adult frogs breed and spawn. In wet weather they migrate between water bodies and are routinely seen crossing roads at this time. Both sexes appear to wander widely in wet weather as indicated by what we caught crossing roads.
Tadpoles in 1995/6 seemed to take about 8-10 weeks to mature, based on observations of spawning by Logan and the myself in October/November 1995 and metamorphosing tadpoles observed by me in late 1995 and early 1996. Over 90% of tadpoles seemed to mature within a three week period at the end of December and early January in 1996.
Young frogs were seen in December 1995 and January 1996 immediately adjacent to known spawning sites amongst vegetation. These frogs were diurnally active, appearing to be constantly moving. Even when the observer was standing still, the young frogs seemed to be constantly moving. The weather at the time was overcast with some rain and air temp. averaging about 20° C.
On 27th December 1995, I noted large numbers of pre-metamorphosing L. aurea tadpoles in the swamps and dams near the Gypsy Point Road as well as other known breeding sites. Most of these tadpoles were fully mature and many had hind legs. About 10-20% were metamorphosed in that they had front and back legs and/or were even further developed, with an estimated 1% of the total number visible seen as small frogs in or adjacent to water.
Three weeks later, there were virtually no tadpoles to be seen in any swamps (although a small number could be found with intensive searching, with a net). The species of tadpoles was mainly L. aurea although about one in ten were of L. peronii. No doubt the species composition would vary from locality to locality. (A tannin stained dam on heavily wooded elevated ground some 20 km south-west of Genoa yielded large numbers of large L. dumerilii tadpoles on 27th December 1995. They were the only species in that dam and most were in the early stages of metamorposis).
In late January 1996, the small frogs (L. aurea) seen adjacent to the swamps and dams were an estimated average of three times the weight they had been at time of metamorphosing. This was regarded by myself as a phenomenal growth rate, but not surprising when one considered the huge number of small insects in the area, which presumably formed the diet of these froglets.
During the December 27th 1996 visit, I estimated the number of tadpoles in the dams near Gypsy Point road to be somewhere between 1-4 million per hectare. This figure could be multiplied substantially if other swamps and dams in the Genoa River valley and similar floodplains nearby were included, noting that this estimate was based on just three dams, linked by a small stream on the floodplain (within a few hundred metres of one another). Other dams linked by the same stream were noted for some kilometers along the river valley. These numbers are even more significant when it is realized that L. aurea is widely regarded by NSW authorities and some scientists as ‘endangered’ in that State.
The 1-4 million tadpole number may seem huge at an initial glance, but is if anything a conservative estimate. Pergolotti (1995) gave an estimate of 2,486 mature eggs from a single mature female of this species from Homebush Bay (Sydney). This means that to get to a one million figure, less than 1,000 adult frogs (of both sexes) would be needed to breed in the swamp assuming a 50-50 sex ratio. Judging by numbers seen in the vicinity of the swamp at peak times, the 1,000 frog number is very realistic, noting that the species dominates other sympatric frog species in numbers and visibility in the area in the period November/January. Pergolotti (1995) and Daly (1995) talk about a huge potential mortality of this species on roads near breeding grounds, based on the killing of gravid females. Judging by the number seen or killed on the Gypsy Point Road and Princes Highway, the potential losses of tadpoles may be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, (in the Genoa area only, other areas are not included!). In spite of this mortality, there is no discernable effect on frog populations, which remain substantial. It is thought by creation of artificial (man-made) dams and similar structures along otherwise narrow streams and swamps, that the frog population around Genoa has risen sharply since European settlement. Introduced fish such as Gambusa affinis appear to be absent from dams in the area.
The aquatic habitats in the area were noted to have had a huge amount of biological productivity. This was no doubt due in part to the high fertility of the alluvial silt-based soil, combined with artificial fertilizers and cow dung. Insects and aquatic larvae of many forms were in huge number.
Immediately following metamorphosis, young L. aurea appeared to be by far most numerous in small vegetated drainage ditches running from the main dams in clear paddocks. Three weeks later (on 18th January 1996), young L. aurea seemed less numerous and to have shifted further from their spawning sites, but were still in moist areas. Most were seen in damp vegetated depressions which resulted from cattle trampling in damp situations adjacent to the dams. Other damside areas, such as dam borders and grassy slopes nearby had far fewer frogs, though small numbers were present.
Potential predators of young L. aurea are many. However perhaps the most significant are wading and aquatic birds such as Cormorants (Phalacrocorax spp.), Egrets (Egretta spp.) and Herons (Ardea spp.) (Lindsey, 1992). I observed large flocks of water birds feeding in and around swamps and dams near Gypsy Point Road. It is presumed that young L. aurea would be taken in large numbers. By counting young frogs and tadpoles individually and adding totals, the visible number present just three weeks later was an estimated 5% of the original number. While it is fair to assume that some of these missing frogs may have been hidden from view, I formed the view that opportunistic predators had caused most of the decline in number.
While talking predators, Logan observed a dragonfly nymph consuming a metamorphosing L. aurea tadpole in the large dam on his property. Rawlinson (1971) stated tadpoles ‘are subject to heavy predation, particularly by carnivorous aquatic insects (water beetle adults and larvae, water scorpions, damsel-fly larvae and dragon-fly larvae).’ I observed numbers of these and small eels in the dams near Gypsy Point Road. On several occasions, Logan has observed adult Red-bellied Black Snakes preying on frogs in murky water. The snakes would completely submerge into muddy potholes, emerging only when they had grasped a frog in their mouth, which tended to be at regular intervals. From observation, the snakes seemed to have little trouble locating the frogs in the coffee coloured water, at a depth of about 600 mm (2 feet). Some snakes also fed on the frogs underwater. The species of frog being eaten were Limnodynastes peronii. However I have fed captive Red-bellied Black Snakes L. aurea, and the species is well known as an opportunistic feeder.
Long-necked Tortoises (Chelodina longicollis) have been found in the area by Logan. Captives held by myself for many years were routinely fed frogs. Rawlinson (1971) noted that fish and turtles are probably important predators of frogs in larger more permanent bodies of water.
On December 27th 1995, 13 adult L. aurea of both sexes were seen diurnally active in overcast weather adjacent to swamps near the Gypsy Point Road in reasonable numbers. These frogs were seen within a few hours of searching. This activity incorporated perching on vegetation adjacent to swamp or dams in overcast weather. However these frogs also were noted to move around due to the fact that an area visited at one time of day would have different frogs present at the same spots an hour or two later in the day, while others had moved away.
It was also noted that the relative condition of most adult frogs found in late December was markedly poor in spite of an apparent overabundance of potential food. The frogs were emaciated in general appearance and gave the impression of slow starvation. Otherwise the frogs were healthy with no outward signs of disease. These frogs may have represented part of a natural seasonal mortality of adults. However captives of this and related species have been known to live for several years (Neil Simpson pers. com. for L. aurea, Grant Turner, pers. com. for L. raniformis), so any adult mortality of frogs would not affect the entire population. This assertion is further corroborated by the field work of Michael Murphy at Nowra, NSW (Murphy, 1995), who observed individual adult L. aurea over more than one year, while also noting the apparent ‘disappearance’ of others, either through mortality or evading capture.
On 18th January 1996, inspection of the same sites by myself failed to yield any adult frogs.
In Easter (April) 1996, Rob Valentic visited Logan’s property. No L. aurea were seen, although they were looked for.
Based on the above observations it is presumed that L. aurea born in one season may be able to reproduce in the next. Further investigation of this possibility is required.
In terms of finding sheltering adult L. aurea, this has posed problems for many people. Richard Wells (pers. com.) states he has found L. aurea hiding over winter under roots of vegetation bordering swamps, some distance below the ground surface. He has also found them in similar situations in times of drought. White (1995b) noted that in midwinter at a Roseberry (Sydney, NSW) site, L. aurea can be found ‘up to a metre below ground level, lying inactive in a tight-fitting, moist soil chamber.’ In the early 1970’s in winter I found an adult pair of L. aurea under a well-embedded rock next to a farm dam adjacent to McCarr’s creek at Terry Hills, NSW. They appeared to be hibernating. Rob Valentic and others have found numerous adult L. raniformis hibernating under large basalt boulders along creek margins near Melbourne, Victoria (usually on the western side).
In the 1970’s I found numbers of L. aurea around swamps in the Wyong/Wyee area about 100 km north of Sydney. In Easter 1987, I did a search of these same areas during a dry season and found no L. aurea. Based on observations detailed above for the Genoa area, this apparent absence of frogs in the Wyong/Wyee area may not have been true in that the frogs were still in the area...they just weren’t found!
Also notable is that the best site found for L. aurea near Wyee (in terms of numbers) was a disused piggery foundation that had filled with water. The concrete structure was bordered with grasses and still filled with pig droppings, which permeated through the water.
At Genoa at several sites, including on Logan’s property and near Gypsy Point Road, a number of L. aurea were found patterned with randomly distributed dorsal white spots (see photo). From our own observations, this appears to be a relatively unusual marking on the species. I noted the highest concentration of these specimens was adjacent to a permanent dam just north of the Gypsy Point Road, (3rd dam east of Genoa).
Richard Wells believes that wading birds may act as a dispersal mechanism for L. aurea. He speculates that feeding birds may have eggs adhere to their feet, which are then transported to other watercourses before hatching. He suggests this may be one reason why these frogs may appear to be absent from an area for some years and then suddenly seem to re-appear. This may include some inner Sydney swamps which have recently been found to have populations of the species.
Humans are perhaps the best dispersal mechanism for the species. Litoria aurea was released into New Zealand in 1867-68 and is now common there (Tyler, 1979). Tyler 1979 also notes more recent introductions to New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, with the species being common in suitable localities in these places.
Murphy (1995) and other authors have noted widely varying populations of this species from year to year. Our own observations and those of other authors indicate that this variation may in part be due to climactic conditions as well as other (as yet unknown) factors. The large number of frogs observed by us in 1995-6 (and Logan in 1995-7) may be partly due to the favourable weather conditions in the period. However Logan noted breeding frogs around dams in dry weather. This observation also corroborates with observations by myself in the 1970’s in this species and other tree frogs such as Litoria phyllocroa, L. fallax and L. verrauxii, which bred in dry weather by permanent water. Rob Valentic and myself have both seen L. lesueurii breeding in drought conditions along spring fed sub alpine streams. I have also seen this for L. raniformis and L. verrauxii alpina. Clearly female frogs develop eggs some time prior to anticipated breeding and in the absence of rain at the approximate breeding time, will breed regardless.
Clinton Logan has noted that L. aurea are most mobile in wet weather. Known specimens at dams on his property have been seen resting in a particular position/s during dry weather, but seem to ‘disappear’ in wet weather. In line with what was observed by us in November 1995, it is clear that any major overland movements by these frogs only occurs in wet weather.
Conservation of L. aurea.
Due to the relatively recent listing of the species as ‘Endangered’(Schedule 12), by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), areas known to support populations of this species that are likely to be developed, are usually required to be assessed by ‘Fauna Impact Statement’ (FIS), before any development takes place. Consequently a number of detailed studies of populations in and near Sydney have been done, including Cogger (1993) and Greer (1994). Arthur White did one in relation to a telecom site at Greenacre (NSW) (White 1993a) as well as a paper detailing recent (then 1993), sightings of L. aurea in the Sydney Metropolitan area (White 1993b). Pyke and Osborne (1996) were the editors of a special edition of Australian Zoologist entirely devoted to L. aurea, making it perhaps the most studied frog in Australia in recent times! With the possible exception of a paper by Ross Goldingay, no authors proposed any substantive long term conservation plan for the species. Goldingay’s paper also had a number of fundamental flaws, including the failure to state the need for a captive population of the species, to safeguard against any uncontrolled extinction in wild populations.
From a conservation insurance point of view it is effectively essential that L. aurea be maintained in captivity in large and self-sustainable numbers. As a large hardy and attractive frog it is ideally suited for the ‘pet’ market and tadpoles can be raised in captivity by potential breeders (Robinson 1993). Greer (1996) argues against translocation of L. aurea stating that it is an option of last resort. His views are probably correct and totally supported by many people. I suspect that Greer’s views are somewhat idealistic in the current real world where people have few physical impediments to trapping and moving frogs. If L. aurea are brought into captivity in larger numbers it is almost inevitable that more may be liberated into areas from where they did not originate. If the other long-term alternative is extinction in Australia, then I view this second best option and not being too bad.
Furthermore populations of L. aurea within the Sydney metropolitan area, including the celebrated Homebush population may consist in part or even fully of stock originally derived from elsewhere, noting the large numbers of these frogs that were sold in pet shops in former years. I have noted the presence of numbers of L. aurea in recent years in selected inner Sydney suburbs where they formerly appeared to be absent or less commonly seen. Some locations now hosting significant populations of L. aurea were formerly dominated by L. peronii in terms of numbers seen.
More worrying is attempts by NPWS/NSW to monopolise the species to such an extent that it cannot and will not be maintained in captivity in NSW (and perhaps elsewhere). At this stage the species remains available to private keepers in other states, including Victoria. If the planned national prohibition of captive animals takes place and the species expires in the wild like the Queensland frogs Rheobatrachus silus or R. vittelineous, then it would truly be a tragedy. Those two species were in huge numbers in the wild state and later disappeared as a result of causes yet unknown. Because Qld/NPWS had ensured that NONE were held in captivity, it is now thought that both species are now extinct. It would be a tragedy if the same were to happen to L. aurea.
The NPWS media unit has been pushing NPWS’s virtues in terms of its alleged conservation activities in relation to L. aurea in NSW. For example a report in the Daily Telegraph-Mirror of 11th December 1995 (English 1995) stated that NPWS were spending 400,000 to save the species at the Homebush Olympic Games Site. It was later revealed that much of this money was spent on self-promoting propaganda and staff salaries, with the conservation status of the frog failing to show any tangible signs of improving. There were only minor steps taken to help ensure the survival of the local population, such as by building low fences in a bid to stop the frogs hopping across roads.
Perhaps even more damning for NPWS is the hypocrisy surrounding their actions to save this single population of L. aurea, while at the same time allowing potentially adverse development over known habitat at several other sites for L. aurea in the Sydney area, including at Roseberry and Greenacre. However because these other sites were not needed to host the Olympic games, they probably had no media publicity value for NPWS and so the desire of NPWS to preserve these populations appeared to be somewhat lower. In one site at Roseberry development was allowed after an allegedly improper payment of about $40,000.
Another scandal involving NPWS was in the nature of approvals for development at L. aurea sites. I obtained a copy of the ‘Decision Report’ allowing a Warehouse development to proceed at Roberts Road, Greenacre. The document concluded with a typed signature of Dr. Neil Craig Shepherd, then Director-General of NPWS. However the penned in signature was that of David Papps, who occupies another position within the NPWS bureaucracy. Attempts to find out who actually authored the document failed and I was advised that neither man may have authored it or taken responsibility for it and that someone else in the NPWS bureaucracy had done so. The practice of bureaucrats rotating names and signatures on documents is a common ploy in bureaucracies in Australia (including Victorian Ombudsman’s Office and Vicroads) when there is a worry or risk of a ‘decision’ coming under scrutiny at a later stage. It makes it considerably harder for an outsider to correctly apportion blame for any consequences of the ‘decision’ and for the guilty person to avoid punishment if it is sought.
Although NPWS should not in theory be a part of this article, their conduct in relation to the preparation of this paper is worth noting. Several letters were posted and faxed to NPWS seeking copies of all FIS’s relating to Litoria aurea as well as other relevant material. These letters were sent by myself stating that I would pay any copying or other costs. These were ignored.
The first of these letters was sent in 1995. Following a further letter sent on May 1st 1996, I received on 11th May a photocopied ‘Frogfacts’ sheet (which I already had). I sent a letter on 11th May 1996, specifically seeking three FIS’s and a fourth survey document all of which were NPWS published documents and theoretically freely available to any member of the public. FIS’s are supposedly and specifically part of the process whereby members of the public can scrutinise development proposals.
I received a reply from the information section of NPWS (undated) that stated that NPWS did NOT have the sought documents. Such a statement was an obvious lie and I again sought the documents. Following another letter faxed and posted by myself on 18th May 1996, NPWS officer Fiona Mandelc sent me a letter dated 2nd July 1996 (note the routine delay time), stating AGAIN that they did NOT have the FIS’s.
Perhaps I should mention that I had also sought the same FIS’s from the authors and had received most by this stage, but continued to pursue the matter through NPWS, to see what other tricks they would play to withhold innocuous and supposedly publicly available documents and information.
A letter of complaint was faxed and posted to NSW Ombudsman Irene Moss. Incidentally, she was shown in the NSW Police Royal Commission to have actively aided and abetted systematic Police corruption. That was sent on 28th July 1996. The reply from Moss’s assistant Ms. Jodie Wauchope, dated 5th September, said ‘This office will take no further action with regard to your complaint’. In other words (as usual) the Ombudsman’s office had rubber-stamped the actions of a wayward bureaucracy.
I sent a letter to Moss dated 11th September 1996 seeking an immediate review of her offsider’s letter and further seeking affirmative investigation and action in relation to the complaint (non-provision of FIS’s and lying about not having them). A reply from Irene Moss herself dated dated 22nd October 1996 confirmed that NPWS maintains ‘copies of those documents in their library’ which proved the earlier letters from NPWS to be blatant lies. She went on to state that as far as she was concerned if NPWS chose not to provide any documents then it was their right. She ended her letter stating ‘No further action will be taken on this matter by this office’, even though I still had not received any FIS’s from NPWS.
In other words attempting to correct a wayward bureaucracy by going to a State Ombudsman in Australia was a waste of time. Refer to Hoser (1995) for further examples of such actions.
The relevance of this to conservation of L. aurea is significant. If NPWS don’t assist bona-fide researchers investigating this or other species of wildlife, then what hope do we have? The refusal of NPWS bureaucrats to assist researchers is effectively routine and results in further wastage of time and taxpayers funds. The effort spent by NPWS officials in with-holding FIS’s on L. aurea would have been better spent disseminating it!
In February 1997 I attended Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo as a guest of the reptile keepers. They showed me through their facility, including their holding pens where they held metamorposed Litoria aurea. This was ostensibly part of the NPWS/Government backed breeding program. The keepers themselves were very nice people and I couldn’t fault them in any way over the way they treated me, including their allowing me to see all parts of the zoo that I chose to, including ‘off-display’ areas. However the condition of the frogs was another matter. They appeared to be dead and dying. One of the keepers said that no one was feeding them, hence their condition.
I was told that zoo politics was preventing keepers who wanted to look after the frogs from doing so. Those designated the job of looking after them weren’t interested and hence the general starvation. It was noted that there were plenty more aurea where that lot came from. Without being too harsh on all the keepers at Taronga, many of whom are dedicated to their job, what I saw was a good example of a failure of a government-owned zoo to actively help in the conservation effort. Private hobbyists on the other hand who themselves choose to keep such animals would as a rule be far less likely to deliberately allow their charges to starve to death. Particularly if they have to pay for the privilege of keeping them.
As part of the above story, it was reported earlier that keepers at the zoo had successfully raised a number of aurea and then been told that nobody wanted them (also translated as that they weren’t allowed to give them to anyone outside the very narrow government sector). There was no habitat earmarked for the frogs and so they were simply let loose around the zoo instead. The survival rate of these frogs isn’t known.
Diamond Python Morelia spilota spilota
Clinton Logan found an adult under a rock ledge immediately adjacent to the Genoa falls near his property. This is one of relatively few rocky areas near Logan’s house, with most others also being near major watercourses. Other Diamond Pythons have been seen in the vicinity of the Genoa river. They are also known from the Mallacouta area. This area (Genoa/Mallacouta) is about as far south as this subspecies of the Carpet Snake occurs. A specimen from the Genoa area photographed by the authors had stronger yellow markings than usual for the species.
Calder (1987) and Gillespie, et. al (1992) stated that populations of this species in the area are ‘apparently diminished’ and also attribute some of this to illegal collecting by reptile hobbyists. Not only is there NO evidence of this, all available evidence points to the contrary. Studies of the species by Shine and Slip (not cited here)(and pers. coms.) point to numbers of the species being far greater in an area than is readily observed. Furthermore a quick survey of collections in Victoria, reveal few Diamond Pythons captive, with most of this stock being derived from legally held captive-bred stock from NSW (breeders in Sydney and nearby areas, which are also where the species occurs in the wild). We object to the myth perpetuated by those contracted to do work for wildlife departments to the effect that hobbyists are depleting Australian reptile stocks when there is no hard evidence. Such false assertions detract from papers and articles otherwise meant to be factual and scientific in nature.
White-lipped Snake Drysdalia coronoides.
On 18th January 1996, I was gathering rocks from a road cutting at the side of the road, a few hundred metres south of Genoa along the Princes Highway. Under a small piece of pink and blue (Devonian) granite, the size of a cigarette packet was found a sheltering White-lipped snake (Drysdalia coronoides). The snake was a gravid female. (It had ten young).
Logan reports seeing these snakes throughout the area, being most commonly found under tin. The species is usually diurnal in habit. It was dusk when I found the specimen under the rock.
Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porphyriacus.
This appears to be by far the most common snake in the area. Logan is of the view that these snakes prey on Blue-tongued Skinks Tiliqua scincoides, which perhaps as a consequence are rare in the area. I did at one time feed T. scincoides to adult Lace Monitors Varanus varius. These lizards are also very common in the area.
Logan noted that Red-bellied Black Snakes are commonly seen active in drizzle. I have observed the same in Copperheads (Austrelaps ramsayi) around Oberon and Lithgow, NSW. This activity pattern may reflect the desire to locate prey in the form of frogs.
She-Oak Skink Cyclodomorpus casuarine.
We have found these lizards in the Genoa area in cleared areas under cover such as tin and fallen logs. I’ve caught the species in similar situations in NSW in the upper Blue Mountains areas of Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba. In both Genoa and the Blue Mountains areas, the species appears to adapt well to disturbed habitat and readily shelters under man-made cover such as tin. Gillespie et. al (1992) allege that the species may be under threat by timber harvesting practices in the area. We believe that such activities probably present minimal threat to the species in the medium to long term and that if anything, populations of this species may actually increase as a result of habitat alteration through timber harvesting. That is not to say that I necessarily endorse timber harvesting per se as other (unidentified here) wildlife types may suffer.
None of this article would have been possible without the assistances of Clinton and Debbie Logan and their family who represent the best that there is in herpetology. Rob Valentic also drove me to and from the Genoa area the first time I went there looking for reptiles and frogs. He also provided valuable input and comments when I wrote this paper. Dr. Allen E. Greer provided relevant fauna impact statements. Likewise several Sydney based corporations also provided their NPWS FIS’s produced for NPWS in relation to various properties.
Cogger, H. G. (1992), Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW, Australia. 775 pp.
Cogger, H. G. (1994), Fauna Impact Statement - Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) occurring at Roseberry, State Authorities Superannuation Board of New South Wales.
Daly, G. (1995), ‘Observations on the Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea (Anura: Hylidae).’, Herpetofauna 25 (1):2-9.
English, B. (1995), ‘The $400,000 frogs’, Daily Telegraph-Mirror, December 11, p. 3.
Frood, D. and Calder, M. (1987), Nature Conservation in Victoria: Study Report. (Vol. 1). Victorian National Parks Association, Victoria, Australia.
Gillespie, G. R. (1996), ‘Distribution, habitat and conservation status of the Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea (Lesson 1829) (Anura: Hylidae) in Victoria.’ Australian Zoologist 30 (2):199-207.
Gillespie, G. R., Humphries, R., Horrocks, G. F. B., Lobert, B. O. and McLaughlin, J. (1992), Flora and fauna of the Stony Peak and Genoa Forest Blocks, East Gippsland, Victoria. Ecological Survey Report no. 33. Department of Conservation and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 138 pp. and map.
Greer, A. E. (1994), Faunal Impact Statement for the Proposed Development Works at the Homebush Bay Brick Pit, Property Services Group, East Sydney, 31 January, 45 pp.
Greer, A. E. and Byrne, M. (1995), ‘Sex ratio and frequency of osteological abnormalities in the Australian hylid frog Litoria aurea from two apparently unpolluted localities in Sydney, New South Wales.’, Australian Zoologist, 30(1):43-47.
Greer, A. E. (1996), ‘Why Green and Golden Bell Frogs Litoria aurea should not be translocated - a personal opinion’, Australian Zoologist 30(2):257-258.
Hero, J., Littlejohn, M. and Marantelli, G. (1991), Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs, Department of Conservation and Environment, Victoria, Australia, 112 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1989), Australian Reptiles and Frogs, Pierson and Co, Mosman, NSW, 2088, Australia, 238 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1995), The Hoser Files - The Fight Against Entrenched Official Corruption, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Australia. 322 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1996a), Letter to the Information Officer, NPWS/NSW, May 1, 1 p.
Hoser, R. T. (1996b), Letter to the Information Officer, NPWS/NSW, May 11, 2 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1996c), Letter to the Information Officer, NPWS/NSW, May 18, 2 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1996d), Letter to the Ombudsman’s Department/Irene Moss, July 28, 2 pp.
Hoser, R. T. (1996e), Letter to the Ombudsman’s Department/Irene Moss, September 11, 1 p.
Lindsey, T. R. (1992) Encyclopedia of Australian Animals - Birds, Australian Museum/Angus and Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 485 pp.
Mandelc, F. (NPWS/NSW) (1996), Letter to R. T. Hoser, July 2, 1 p.
Moss, I. (NSW Ombudsman’s Department) (1996), Letter to R. T. Hoser, October 22, 1 p.
Murphy, M. J. (1995), ‘A capture/recapture study of the endangered hylid frog Litoria aurea’, Herpetofauna 25(1):19-21.
Pergolotti, D. (1995), ‘Green and Golden Bell Frog Mortality at the Homebush Bay Olympic Site’, Herpetofauna 25(1):39-41.
Pyke, G. H. and Osborne, W. Eds. (1996), The Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea - Biology and Conservation, Australian Zoologist, Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 30(2):132-258.
Rawlinson, P. A. (1971), Amphibians and Reptiles of Victoria, (Reprinted from the Victorian Yearbook, no. 85, 1971), G. H. Rixon, Government Printer, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 40 pp.
Robinson, M. (1993), ‘Raising the Green and Golden, or Smooth Swamp Frog Litoria aurea to maturity in captivity, Herpetofauna, 23(2):15-16.
Shepherd, N. C. (?) (1994), ‘Decision Report, Warehouse Development, 77-91 Roberts Road Greenacre’, NPWS/NSW, Hurstville, NSW, Australia. June, 42 pp. (including appendix).
Tyler, M. J. (1979), ‘The Introduction and Current Distribution in the New Hebrides of the Australian hylid frog Litoria aurea’, Copeia, 1979 (2):355-356.
Wauchope, J./NSW Ombudsman’s Department (1996), Letter to R. T. Hoser, September 5, 2 pp.
White, A. (1993a), ‘Litoria aurea. Confirmed sightings in the Sydney Metropolitan area since September 1992.’, Handout prepared for the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW.
White, A. (1993b), Faunal impact statement. Proposed development of Telecom site at Roberts Road, Greenacre., National Parks and Wildlife Service of NSW, Hurstville, NSW.
White, A. (1995a), ‘Dissappearing Frogs’, Australian Zoologist 30(1):48-56.
White, A. (1995b), Frogfacts No. 5. Green and Golden Bell Frogs, Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW, Inc. 4 pp.
Wright, P. (1996), ‘Frog Haven’, Habitat 24(3):8-9.
SLIDES PRINTED WITH THE ARTICLE
The captions are below:
1 – Habitat, Genoa, Victoria, near the Genoa general store a short distance along the Mallacoota Road. This swamp in farmland is prime habitat for the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea).
2 – Habitat, Genoa, Victoria. This wooded habitat has large numbers of Red-bellied Black Snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus), Jacky Lizards (Amphibolorus muricatus), and Lace Monitors (Varanus varius).
3 – Habitat, Genoa, Victoria. This man-made swamp in wooded habitat is used by several species of frog to spawn in during the Australian Spring months.
4 – Two herpetologists at Genoa. Clinton Logan (white shirt) and Rob Valentic hold two Red-bellied Black Snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus) caught crossing the lawn outside Logan’s house. The pair are standing in front of his Diamond Python cage.
5 – Peron’s Tree Frog (Litoria peroni) is one of the more common species around Genoa. This specimen was caught during the spring mating season.
6 – A small toadlet (Pseudophryne dendeyi) found under cover near a roadside soak near Genoa, Victoria.
7 – Another toadlet (Uperoleia sp., either tyleri or martini), found spawning by a roadside ditch just outside Genoa.
8 – Ventral surface of a toadlet (Uperoleia sp., either tyleri or martini), found spawning by a roadside ditch just outside Genoa.
9 – An adult Black Rock Skink (Egernia saxatilis) found inhabiting the walls of Clinton Logan’s house at Genoa. The species is locally common and is often found away from rocks in spite of it’s common and scientific names.
10 – Tree Frog (Litoria ewingi) seen breeding in a man-made swamp near Genoa, Victoria. Although a numerous species elsewhere, around Genoa, this frog is seen less often than a number of other species.
11 – Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) from near Genoa, Victoria.
12 – The Blue Mountains Tree Frog (Litoria citropa) is one of the more beautiful species occasionally seen around Genoa, usually around rocky watercourses.
13 – A rare photo of a pair of Blue Mountains Tree Frogs (Litoria citropa) in amplexus. The pair were found in a small watercourse near a road just outside of Genoa.
14 – Diamond Python (Morelia spilota spilota) male from Kenthurst, NSW. The species occurs around Genoa in reasonable numbers, but due to it’s secretive habits isn’t often seen.
15 – Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus) from Lake George, NSW. The species occurs around Genoa where it presumably feeds on the many locally occurring frogs.
16 – Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) is a species sometimes seen in the hilly country not far from Genoa.
17 – White-lipped Snake (Drysdalia coronoides) from Lithgow, NSW. The species is common around Genoa where several different colour morphs occur.
18 – Jacky Dragon (Amphibolorus muricatus) from Genoa, Victoria. The species is commonly seen in forested areas.
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