Frogs In Our Backyard - Spring Lake

02 October 2018 02 Oct 2018 3 min 55 sec
by: Ryan Key
The Springfield Lakes Nature Care Group has conducted several Cane Toad catching nights at Spring Lake parklands. Whilst conducting the Cane Toad searches, the group have found two native frog species: the Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronii) and the Eastern Sedge Frog (Litoria fallax).

This article written on behalf of the Springfield Lakes Nature Care Group by Judith Vink & Luise Manning

What frogs exist in Spring Lake?

Striped Marsh Frog (Lymnodynastes peronii)

This frog is between 45-75mm. Size range. They can be light or dark shade of brown with distinct darker stripes running down the frogs back. The Striped Marsh Frog is found throughout eastern Australia and is predominantly a pond-dweller but can survive in nearly any kind of water including, fish ponds and polluted ditches. It is an adaptable frog and often encountered in urban environments. During spawning, the female Striped Marsh Frog makes a floating foam or bubble raft in which the fertilised eggs are suspended. The tadpoles hatch after a few days and drop into the water as the nest-raft disintegrates. The male Striped Marsh Frog’s call is a loud ‘tok’ or ‘whuck’, which sounds very much like a tennis ball being struck. It can be heard all year round, calling while floating in water or from close to the water’s edge.

Eastern Sedge Frog (Litoria fallax)

This frog is a small species and is no bigger than 30mm. It is green to pale brown and has a white jaw stripe and a dark band between the nostril and eye. The back of the thigh is bright orange. It’s found along the coast from north Queensland to southern New South Wales. Prefers a wide range of habitats but not rainforest and is generally found on vegetation around water bodies. Commonly found in suburban gardens and often observed 'hunched' on foliage or vertical plant stems during the day. Eggs are laid in small clumps on the surface of the water and attached to aquatic vegetation. You may hear it calling in the rain gardens beside Spring Lake it’s a long 'wreeek' followed by two pips.

The impact of Cane Toads on local frogs

The introduced Cane toad (Rhinella marina) is a large ground dwelling amphibian with a dry warty skin. Ingesting their poison can cause rapid heartbeat, excessive salivation, convulsions, paralysis and has resulted in death for local pets. They are also poisonous to our native frogs and wildlife.

In 2005, the biological effects, including lethal toxic ingestion, caused by Cane Toads was listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) was nominated as a threatened species thought to be adversely affected by the Cane Toad. Their historical distribution has been contracting to the South in NSW, almost exactly aligning with the southern most extent of the Cane Toad. However, other threats such as the predation of the tadpoles by introduced fish, loss of habitat through clearing and drainage, and diseases such as chytridiomycosis made it complicated to conclude whether the Cane Toad was the sole cause of their decline.

Despite this, there is no doubt Cane Toads are a superior competitor and threat to frogs at every stage of their lifecycle.

  • One female toad will lay between 8-35 000 eggs at a time, well above that of any native frog.
  • Per night, one toad is thought to consume approximately 200 food items, by far outdoing the efforts of native frogs. They are known to eat anything that they can fit in their mouth. A smaller native frog would easily fit, if not more.
  • Cane toads are known to compete with native frogs for shelter, a vital resource for on hot days.
  • Cane Toads are toxic to just about every predator at every stage of their lifecycle. This makes them a highly superior competitive advantage particularly if you are not on the menu. It is also not good news for native frogs who may eat these toxic toads.

It is highly likely that the Cane Toad is adversely affecting native frogs at every stage of their lifecycle given their superior capabilities to dominate and out-compete our native frogs.

What can be done?

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About the author

Ryan Key

Managing Director

Our fearless leader, Ryan Key is the driving force behind the Ecoplant Australia name and reputation.

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