Bird

Become a citizen scientist to help Plains Brown Tree Frog

Thursday 1 September, 2022
The Frog of the Month for September is the Plains Brown Tree Frog (Litoria paraewingi) as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA) 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign.

The Frog of the Month for September is the Plains Brown Tree Frog (Litoria paraewingi) as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA) 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign.

The Plains Brown Tree Frog is found in the Goulburn Broken Catchment’s grey box grassy woodlands which are a focus of the GB CMA Linking Landscapes and Communities Project that works with landowners, communities, and Traditional Owners to improve this critical habitat.

This project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through funding from the Australian Government.

The Plains Brown Tree Frog, also known as the Victorian Frog, is a close relative of the Southern Brown Tree Frog, but despite looking similar, they are two distinct species. The Plains Brown Tree Frog was only “discovered” in 1971 by its call, which is slower than the call of its Southern Brown Tree Frog cousin.

Goulburn Broken CMA project officer, Janice Mentiplay-Smith, said the Plains Brown Tree Frog only occupied a small part of northern Victoria and across the border into New South Wales.

“As the Plains Brown Tree Frog range is so small, we are very lucky to have it call our grey box woodland environment home,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“This little frog breeds all year round if conditions are right. The female lays her eggs in small clusters, anchoring them to emerging water reeds and rushes, so healthy waterways, including dams or ponds, are important. In a wetter year, such as the one we are experiencing, she may even lay her eggs in flooded ditches or in depressions in paddocks.

“As the Plains Brown Tree Frog occupies such a small part of our country, it is important we know its population status and extent, as there is no “back up” population should disease or similar disaster cause their numbers to crash.”

Australia has more than 240 frog species, with 20 per cent classified as threatened, however it’s expected the true figure is higher, which is where the help of the public comes in.

“All of us have the capacity to be a citizen scientist and the Australian Museum FrogID app is a wonderful way to contribute to our country’s frog knowledge,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“The app is crucial to understanding the real story of the state of our frog populations and works by recording and submitting frog calls, which are then analysed by the Australian Museum FrogID validators.

“More than 380,000 frog records submitted by more than 22,800 citizen scientists have been verified since 2017. But there needs to be more, there can never be enough data.”

So, get your ‘frog on’ and become a citizen scientist and contribute towards building the database of knowledge of frog species, including the Plains Brown Tree Frog, their habitat, persistence in the environment and threats. Visit www.frogid.net.au  and follow the prompts to download your app.

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Plains Brown Tree Frog. Photo: Chris Tzaros.